Here’s a similar quote, this time from K, a 27-year-old queer and gay woman who was a current smoker and in an intensive outpatient mental health program. Like Ana, K emphasized the important role smoking played as a way to reduce harm in order to prevent suicide and self-harm. She talked about how the way she perceived anti-tobacco messages was related to her experiences, saying:

We have so many issues, at least in the queer community, mental health issues, and those aren’t being addressed, but we’re going to try to address self-care, or stuff that’s considered self-care, without addressing the underlying issues. Like, for me, I can see all the little anti-tobacco messages that I want. That, stacked against my own kind of internal pain, it’s not going to mean anything.

So, until the internal pain gets kind of helped, and some… issues get kind of resolved, that’s not going to be effective, for me at least. You know? … So if the point is to scare kids straight, I don’t think that necessarily works. If the point is to kind of help people get to the point where they don’t need to self-medicate as much, that would be money better spent, I think.

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