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Is the vilification of smokers a good thing or a bad thing?

Especially in the United States, smokers are vilified as second-hand killers. Through smokers actions, people every year die from second hand smoker. People who smoke are stigmatized in the US.

In the United States, this has lead to laws preventing smokers from smoking in public areas. It should also reduce the number of people who smoke in future generations.

In Europe, where there is not a stigma attached to smoking, I probably inhale the equivalent of 1 cigarette a week in the form of second hand smoke. In the US, I would probably catch a faint whiff of cigarette smoke once a month. The thing is, in Germany, the same number of cigarettes are consumed per person as in the United states. The stigmas and the rules about smoking in the US prevent people from smoking in public locations. This is good for the health of non-smokers.

I know people say that this is just another way to hurt poor, working class citizens as that is the demographic that generally smokes. I did not know before reading articles on this subject that that population is the population that smoked.
I also recognize that a lot of smokers try to quit.

So is this stigma associated with smoking a bad thing on a whole? What are your opinions?

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    Jul 10 2013: It is good to condemn, inhibit, and prohibit a harmful deed. It does no good to vilify those who commit harmful deeds. Such people should suffer the consequences of ignoring legal prohibitions, but denigrating or belittling them does no good.
    • Jul 11 2013: When condemning a bad deed, it is very hard to not attach a social stigma to the perpetrators.
      Historically, I cannot think of a single case where the two did not go hand in hand, but many where they did.

      We vilify drunk drivers, murderers, child molesters, etc, but we do not belittle them. (Not that smokers are as bad as those people, they are just the first people that society vilifies that popped into my head). I am not sure if society does belittle smokers. Do we? If do, how?
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        Jul 11 2013: Absolutely correct Betty. The thrust of your question goes to the efficacy of a deterrent based upon targeting the offender as opposed to the offense. In the case of smoking I think it is the act itself, the offense, which must be addressed. I am not advocating glorifying smoking, or even being accepting it as benign. I am advocating for laws against smoking in public. To me it's like Russian Roulette. If folks want to play that deadly game in private where no innocent people are endangered I don't think we need laws to stop them from that, however we do need laws to prohibit the activity in public. And no I do not think committing murder or rape, etc. in private is OK. In such cases the perpetrator must be aggressively and individually targeted with the full, swift force of the law. I do not think such severe measures are appropriate for smoking. Thank you!

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