Majority of US Smokers Feel Discriminated Against, Poll Says

Andrea Vacchiano | Hill Intern

More than half of smokers in the United States believe they are discriminated against, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

Of those who feel discriminated against, 13 percent of smokers say they feel this way every day and 8 percent feel it every week. Fourteen percent of smokers feel discriminated against less than once a year, and 44 percent of smokers do not feel discriminated against at all. The poll is the first time Gallup has asked smokers about perceived discrimination in this format.

Alleged discrimination against smokers can take place in many forms, such as smoking bans at public parks and beaches, not getting jobs because of their smoking habits, and higher insurance rates, according to Gallup.

Smokers tend to make less money than non-smokers, although that could be attributed to a variety of factors, as smokers tend to have lower average levels of education, according to Gallup.

Research from Gallup shows adults who smoke accumulate $2,132 more in health care costs per year than non-smokers, which totals to $92 billion more in healthcare costs nationwide. The financial consequences of smoking regularly, along with negative health effects from secondhand smoke, are both possible reasons to the perceived stigma.

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