It’s time for another installment of “our tax dollars pay for WHAT?”

Did you know that Millennial hipsters have a problem with smoking? Apparently, it’s so bad that the National Institute of Health (NIH) is willing to spend $5 million dollars on an anti-smoking campaign that features “commune” dancing in bars frequented by hip young clients. The campaign recommends hipsters style their “sweet beards” or listen to music “no one else has heard of” instead of taking a smoking break. 

If that sounds silly and insulting to a generation of innovators, it is.

Headed up by a medical professor and former reality TV personality, the Commune specifically targets hipsters – a subculture of young adults with long beards who drink out of mason jars and are into alternative music, local artists and designers and unusual self expression – with social events, ads, posters, T-shirts, social media, and more. The campaign taps DJs and bartenders to share their stories of kicking their tobacco habits on a blog.

In addition, the taxpayer-funded campaign's messaging takes shots at “neoconservative political candidates” for taking donations from the tobacco industry.

On the organization’s website, you will also find that the tobacco industry contributes to “world hunger, deforestation and neo conservative policies.”

According to the abstract, this campaign was launched to counter marketing efforts by tobacco companies to young adults, who represent an even more important focus because of current restrictions on marketing to teens and youth. The campaign hypothesizes that successfully competing with industry promotion in venues like bars, nightclub, and casinos will prevent smoking among young adults.

There’s no evidence whatsoever that this program is working in reducing smoking among young people.  There is overwhelming evidence that this program is spreading partisan propaganda at public expense, however.

The Washington Post reports:

Pamela Ling, a medical professor at the University of California San Francisco and a former cast member on MTV’s “Real World” season three, directs the project. She worked with Rescue Social Change Group to create a “social brand” called Commune, which sponsors smoke-free events featuring local artists and alternative bands, in addition to paying artists to create anti-tobacco swag.

Ling has concluded that hipsters need something more than scary health warnings to keep them from lighting up.

The NIH defended its support for the campaign, saying in a statement on Sunday that research from the program will “improve approaches to messaging targeted to young adults.”

“This specific project addresses the prevention of tobacco-related diseases by developing a social marketing intervention to block tobacco industry marketing to young adults attending bars and nightclubs,” NIH said. “The project will evaluate the effects of the intervention as delivered to young adults in four cities compared to young adults with a similar smoking prevalence in four comparison communities.”

Like First Lady Michelle Obama calling us “knuckleheads” for not buying into ObamaCare, this campaign is insulting to our generation. And Washington is wasting millions of our tax dollars to reach us with the condescending effort that shows a complete lack of understanding about what we need or care about (hint: jobs). 

Not too long ago ObamaCare navigators were trolling malls, sneaker stores, and nightclubs to get young people to sign up for an expensive healthcare plan that they don’t want. This is based on the same failed model. Unfortunately it reminds us that when something doesn’t work, the government just scales up or does more of it. Meanwhile, we taxpayers suffer as we watch our dollars whittled away on frivolous campaigns.