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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 9 2013: It's not a bad thing, it's a stupid thing. If we really want to help people give up smoking, vilification is not the way to go.

    UCSF Medical center says "Nicotine has been proven to be as addictive as cocaine and heroin and may even be more addictive. Many people who smoke develop nicotine dependence, which makes quitting all the harder, especially when they try to stop smoking on their own. In fact, 70 percent of smokers report wanting to quit"

    We should encourage people to get help, rather like we do with drugs and alcohol. Vilification never causes an addict of any kind to get help. Ever.
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      Jul 10 2013: Tify, You are so right in that the people that are already addicted to nicotine need a positive approach in their efforts too quit. However, the vilification may help our youth who have not yet begun to smoke and may make the decision to stay that way because of the vilification that goes along with it. True that vilification may not necessarily be very best motivator for the addict, but for our children, I say vilify!!!!
      • Jul 11 2013: I'm sorry Amy, I have to disagree, specifically since that you mentioned youth.

        For the understanding and psychology of youth had to be clearly in one's mind before one vilifies any entity. To know that the rights of manhood even though different from the African rituals still exists today, even in the western world.

        The angst of youth, the rebellion, the lack of respect that is shown to the father, all allow youth to become men. If one vilifies, one is only giving fuel to the fire, to make a route open to countermand the authority of parenthood, and so encourage the very act of smoking, as it then becomes what is needed for those very rights of passage.
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          Jul 11 2013: Tify, I was responding to your comments about the addiction aspect of smoking. I realize that once you need the nicotine, words alone or dirty looks from people and not what you need. But I was also addressing the non smokers who have not yet become addicted. Of course there are many rebellious kids out there, but by the time they are old enough to smoke, the whole teen/parent battles should be calming down. There will always be the rebel, but even rebels have brain cells and that might give the vilification aspect a glimpse of hope. Any hope is better than none. And I also believe that there are lots of kids out there that don't have the power struggles with their parent (my son and I never did). So, even if vilification only affects those who can relate to their kids in a positive and productive way, (even if it is only 2%) I feel that it's worth it.
      • Jul 11 2013: Amy you would never had that struggle with you son, because your it's mother. Please note my other comment, above. As for "by the time", in fact, it can, and does because of that maturity of the brain last up to and including the 20's, so people are still a lot more susceptible than you think, as well struggles with authority/parents and the risk reward scenario of choices made.

        Trust me, I understand why you feel vilification would work, and can see why you state it. But the physiological and psychological scientific evidence shows a completely different story.

        That's why I have mentioned the effects of nicotine from UCSF. As for the people that are non smokers, again vilification has been shown, because of the target audience age, not to work.

        There are many other routes a parent can go. Contacting UCSF and Stanford are probably the best routes if your concerned, as they have all the facts, biochemistry papers, as well as psychological effectors that make people start. Most in lay language.

        I'd urge you, if your kids or kids you know are at a susceptible age to contact them. With the addictive power of nicotine - gut feelings are honestly and respectfully - not the way to go.
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          Jul 11 2013: Tify, I remember a time long ago when my mother babysat my son while I had a girls night out. I have a few too many, and when my mother dropped of my son, she yelled at me for drinking and called me a "snake" . I was vilified for doing something that was legal and I was of age to do so. My son saw this and to this day I have never seen him drunk. Perhaps seeing the vilification of his own mother lead him to not want to be a snake. This was done without contacting anyone at Stanford. In addition he saw me criticize my own father for smoking in front of him, thereby vilifying my father. To this date, he has never smoked a cigarette. So, while all of your psychological scientific evidence leads you to your belief. I am a mother, and a daughter and a sister, and I simply have my opinion as previously stated. So on this point we will simply have to agree to disagree.

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