What I Think Tank

The Malevolent Stigma Towards Tobacco Users

with 4 comments

In July of this year, my post on overcoming smoker’s guilt got picked up by people on reddit. The reddit thread can be viewed here. I thought I’d revisit the subject, as it apparently gathered some attention in that dark corner of cyberspace.

In the original post, I detailed how social engineering, fostered through public policy, has created a secondary class of people who are addicted to tobacco, victimized through mental torture, and I explain how the gang of anti-smoking activists feel justified in destroying the lives and mental health of people through social stigmatization, because they don’t like smoking and find it a flaw of character so repulsive that it deserves public ridicule. There is a deep disrespect for fellow human beings and an anti-humanistic world view that enables people to treat others with such contempt. It reveals itself in a total disrespect for differing values and sources of happiness in life. It is anti-individualistic and evil. That was the basis for my argument. This obviously flew way over the head of these reddit debaters, as is blatantly apparent from the thread title “Proud Smoker: How Dare You Try to Guilt Me Out of Giving Myself Cancer!?” An argument out of compassion is hence portrayed as whines from an insecure smoker. Little do they know.

This becomes apparent in the way the they conjur up personal attacks and attempts to portray the author as a person who is nothing but a chain smoker trying to rationalize his addiction; a person who is careless about his health; an insecure person who yearns for sympathy; a person who ignores the deaths and misery that tobacco has caused many users and their family members, and by doing so they must unsurprisingly distort the argument that is made. The OP starts it all off by picking out quotes from my original post and commenting on them, true to the mission of upholding the stigma:

Am I simply a counter-cultural social contrarian? No, not at all. Being so would be irrational. None of my motivations for smoking tobacco came from this wish to simply do the opposite of what the wise overlords are telling me to do.

“I’m not just doing this to be a contrarian” – said every contrarian ever. But later:

As a result, tobacco smoking in itself has many more potential positive effects than negative ones… The stigmatizing propaganda by the nanny statists is something you should rise above, as overcoming such stigmatization is imperative to a healthy individualistic life.

So acting contrary isn’t just one of the benefits of smoking; it’s essential for a healthy life! But this isn’t one of his motivations for smoking – oh no – it’s just a happy coincidence that it makes him feel superior to everyone else.

It begins with a cheap gag that is undressed by its blatant ignorance. Delving into the history of humanity, by learning how a recreational substance has been cultivated and enjoyed for hundreds of years, and to enjoy the flavors and notes of a product that has attracted millions of people to its fruits, in order to proudly enjoy and become a part of something that has shaped humanity and modern society – for better or for worse – is not to be a contrarian. If it were, then we are all contrarians at all times, always. It renders the word meaningless. A contrarian has a counter-cultural ideal at hand, in order to do simply what is opposite of what is the authority of the times. These are not the same. For anyone interested in the underlying argument, this distinction could be meaningful and appreciated. For someone who is lead on by an irrational anger over dissenting views, it obviously falls on deaf ears.

Continuing, what is essential for a healthy, individualistic human life is to overcome stigmatization, discrimination and anti-humanistic bickering from people who possess a world-view that entails a complete disrespect for fellow individuals – simply because these individuals find a different source of happiness in life. Acting contrary is simply not the point. If a tobacco smoker finds joy and meaning in his recreational activity, it is imperative for his happiness to not be affected by the anti-humanistic and anti-individualistic sentiments of others. To not suffer from their hatred, you will have to strengthen your own identity and purposes in life. For a smoker suffering from smoker’s guilt, that means to either stop smoking or to overcome said smoker’s guilt. Believe it or not, someone enjoys their tobacco, and for them I offered a solution to said problem, based on my personal experiences and gathered testimonials.

I can imagine their chantings: “Oh, to believe that someone would have compassion for people who enjoy tobacco!? How obscene! How ignorant!” No, not obscene at all. And neither is it about shutting yourself away from the knowledge available. There is nothing in overcoming smoker’s guilt that entails a complete disregard of medical research. On the contrary, the issue is to ensure the well being of fellow individuals. To take the position that smokers are inherently too stupid to factor medical advice into their lives is, if anything, self-glorifying and cynical. It’s a better-than-thou snobbery that reveals a dark and cold view on humanity. Stigmatization is an evil force in social life – one which fuels the ruination of the mental health and happiness of others, thus it can have detrimental effects on the lives of its victims. Those who feed and uphold this stigma will never care for the souls they break. In their ignorance, they claim to worry about passive smoking, yet could not give a flying toss over the negative consequences of their dehumanization of smokers. How ironic. I find such hypocrisy distasteful at best.

The comment ends by speaking of “superiority”. Who is the one guilty of possessing thoughts of superiority over others: The person who wishes that people can seek out different sources of happiness in their lives without being ridiculed, hated or dehumanized for their choices, or the person who glorifies himself to a moral high ground, from where he feels compelled to stigmatize and push people over the cliff, belittling their choices with his megalomaniac authority on what is decent or indecent, in order to socially force them into his own behavioral patterns?

The same user goes on in another comment:

I noticed that this guy brags about using cigars and pipes, as if this makes smoking more organic and wholesome. But isn’t it actually way worse because of no filtration?

Of course an anti-smoker wouldn’t understand why anyone would choose to smoke. There’s not even an attempt at understanding what smoking means for people. No compassion, no empathy. Organic? Wholesome? Worse because of no filtration? Obviously, the person doesn’t know how different tobacco products differ in their uses and contents, and neither does the person have any clue about how people enjoy and cultivate their different recreational tobacco uses. Needless to say, the lack of such insight leads one to see differing behaviors as mere bragging and identity issues.

This is the heart and soul of the typical anti-smoking nincompoops. It reveals a narcissistic, anti-humanistic and anti-individualistic world view. It’s just another evil to overcome for those who suffer from all the rampant social stigmatization in the world, as if the world didn’t have enough. This applies for smokers as non-smokers alike, because here comes the big surprise for the reddit users in that thread: Smoking was never the main issue. The main issue was the evils of stigmatization. This is the message that flew way over their heads. The reddit thread is a micro-cosmos of these evils. Behold as they foster and mold.

An ending message to smokers and other victims of stigmatization: Seek out happiness in your life. Stay informed in your life-decisions, but let your decisions be your own and be proud of them. Cultivate them! Enjoy them! Let them be a source of happiness! Do not let the evils of others bring you down. After all, it’s your life, not theirs, and it’s a beautiful life worth enjoying.

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Written by Morten Rolland

December 6, 2013 at 4:08 am

4 Responses

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  1. I have only a few comments,

    I support your right to smoke, if you chose to do something that the medical evidence shows will cause you harm and is legal to do, do it. But the medical evidence also says that what you are doing can harm me and my children, so please do it away from us! If you take an illegal substance like heroin I will take the same position, do it in a way that will not harm me or my children. I don’t give a crap about how or what you smoke, I just don’t want to be subjected to the toxins because of the proximity to you and me in a public place, I can’t piss in a pot plant of a car park even though it would be less of a health risk to others than smoking a cigarette!

    Smoking is a social thing only, it has no benefits. You only smoke to be COOL! No benefit you can claim for smoking cannot be replicated by something cheaper and more affective. Please just admit that the only reason you smoke and that any one smokes is because you think it is cool.

    realitybeforefaith

    December 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    • Again, without the willingness or even a half-assed attempt to understand why someone enjoys tobacco or other recreational substances, why would anyone wish to enter into a dialogue just to be faced with hatred, disgust and ignorance?

      Just to be cool? How little do you actually think of your fellow individuals in this world? Do you really possess such a miserable view on humanity? If you can’t pay people enough respect to think that they have put more thought into their own choices than you have, then you’ve already rendered yourself impossible to enter into a dialogue with.

      And do you really think smokers have no empathy and show no ability to be compassionate towards those who do not smoke? Sure, there are those who are obnoxious with their habits as with anything else – just like you and others are obnoxious with your disgust of tobacco users, but equally, you could be blinded by the few sad souls who may have been dehumanized to the extent that they do not care any longer. Do you feel guilty for having facilitated the mental torture of smokers? If not, why should they feel guilty for exposing people to passive smoking? Do you see how this works?

      There are other ways to reach out to smokers, you know, based on love and respect. If you wish to see people quit smoking, do it on their terms. Don’t do evil things to them! By god, they’re people too!

      “Smoking is a social thing only, it has no benefits.”

      You detail a huge benefit, just one of many benefits of smoking, yet then you say it has no benefits. Really?!

      “You only smoke to be COOL!”

      Is the only reason you shove your hatred in the face of smokers that you wish to feel better about yourself by putting other people down? No, I never smoked to be cool. I’ve detailed perfectly well the reflections I made about beginning with cigar- and pipe smoking. Either you will pay me the respect to at least take my word for it, or I will view you as a hateful human being. I don’t wanna do the latter.

      Stigmatization of any kind is evil. It destroys lives. Do YOU get that? You possess the faculty to understand this, you know. I wouldn’t expect anything less of a fellow human being.

      Oh, and I support your right to smoke too! I expect you have complete knowledge over the medical data and also think about your children enough to not smoke around them, if you choose to smoke, since that is obviously a worry of yours.

      Morten Rolland

      December 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      • Hi Morten Rolland,

        Sorry for the late reply, I apologise for my lack of understanding in the many and varied ways in which someone takes up the social group of a smoker. I may not have paragraphed my initial post well and my points may have been missed.

        I respect your rights to do to your body whatever you want.

        I do not believe that I need to provide evidence of the fact that (apart from the high that nicotine give you when you get it) there is absolutely no positive benefit that you get from tobacco.

        The social aspect of smoking….could you not get that from a sewing group, rock climbing group, Game of Thrones group, Sports group.

        Now I am going to address paragraph 3 of yours:

        “And do you really think smokers have no empathy and show no ability to be compassionate towards those who do not smoke? Sure, there are those who are obnoxious with their habits as with anything else – just like you and others are obnoxious with your disgust of tobacco users, but equally, you could be blinded by the few sad souls who may have been dehumanized to the extent that they do not care any longer. Do you feel guilty for having facilitated the mental torture of smokers? If not, why should they feel guilty for exposing people to passive smoking? Do you see how this works?”

        Being told that you are doing something bad is not “dehumanised” it’s a reality check. I was in a job that I was good at, my brother worked there for a year before me and he was AWSOME at it. I was passed over for promotion and annoyed. He told me that it was my attitude that was holding me back and that I acted like I DESERVED it. I changed my behaviour and then started to see the change in attitude towards me. Was I “dehumanised” or was I just challenged to justify my actions?

        In the following paragraph you talk about the good ways to reach out to smokers………..do you not watch TV, listen to the radio????? Everyone is telling you this is bad for YOU and they are doing it in a commercial way to try and not offend you.
        There are three types of smokers, those that will never quit, and those that will quit but need the right information to help them and every combination in between. I am not trying to speak to the first group, they have made up their minds and will live and die with the consequences. If you fall in the other two groups, see your doctor NOW.

        I am both libertarian and conservative, as I stated in my original post (that you obviously took as an attack rather that a statement) I support your right to smoke. When they legalise POT I will support your right to smoke that too.

        I cannot and never will be able to get liver disease from someone who is drinking next to me, I will not get herpes, HIV or any other form of intravenous disease from someone who shoots up next to me and I will not have hallucinations from someone who take acid next to me. I MAY HOWEVER GET LUNG CANCER FROM THE PERSON WHO SMOKES A CIGARETTE NEXT TO ME.

        And that brings me back to my original point, I don’t care what you do with your body, just do it in a way that will not affect MINE!

        On a final note, here is my response to your statement:

        “Oh, and I support your right to smoke too! I expect you have complete knowledge over the medical data and also think about your children enough to not smoke around them, if you choose to smoke, since that is obviously a worry of yours.”

        NO I do not have a complete medical knowledge, that’s why I speak to a fully trained medical practitioner when I am unsure, do you?

        One final thought, when you do talk to your doctor, do you listen or just ignore the advice because you want to smoke??????

        realitybeforefaith

        July 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      • Hey! Thank you very much for the polite reply. I’m sorry to say, I may not have been as polite to you in my earlier exchange with you, but it’s a long time ago, so I do not remember and I’m too lazy to look it up. And if you’re sorry, then I should be even more sorry, cause this is certainly a very late reply from me. But late replies are better than no replies, right? 🙂

        I must say, it seems like you are very much caught up in the medical aspect of smoking. I would like to say, that no one is oblivious to the health risks that are involved with smoking. Do you assume that I have no clue about the direct causal link between cigarette smoking and COPD? Do you assume that I have no clue about the levels of carcinogens in tobacco smoke, and that these can cause a serious cancer risk in smokers? Of course I know about these things. Every single smoker in the world knows about these things by now. The health risks should have been evident for any rational human being for 50 years now. But there are more to smoking than a simple medical analysis of health risks.

        There are also two facts I would like to introduce to you, if you do not already know, one of which addresses the medical aspect of smoking: Not all forms of tobacco smoking are equal, and there are several different rationals behind a recreational use of tobacco.

        For the first bit, for instance, cigarette smoking and pipe smoking are two very different beasts altogether, simply because of how one conducts the act of smoking. It’s generally not regarded as proper (or necessary) to inhale pipe- or cigar smoke. The point is to taste the tobacco, not to inhale it. Inhaling it is entirely optional, and most will not do so. Pipe smoking and cigar smoking are even regarded as smoking cessation tools for cigarette smokers, because the much more robust tobaccos leave people entirely content with only pulling the smoke into the mouth and exhaling it from there. This nearly removes all risks related to COPD and lung cancer, because no particles are drawn into your lungs, leading carcinogenic particles to the lung tissue, where it can easily cause damage. There is only a small risk of oral cancer related with proper pipe smoking and cigar smoking, and luckily, these are some of the easiest to detect and easiest to treat. Of course, that’s not a big plus for smoking, but in relative terms, pipe smoking is simply not comparable to cigarette smoking.

        As for the second point, I would like to challenge you to attempt an answer for me to the following question: Can you come up with any good rationale as to why a person would like smoke tobacco and would find it enjoyable on an individual level?

        I know the answer to this, but you seem not to regard this possibility, so I just want to challenge to you consider it. Cultivating the finer points of tobacco smoking simply cannot be exchanged with a sewing group, rock climbing group, Game of Thrones group, or a sports group. Not to mention, rock climbing and sports could easily involve greater health risks than pipe smoking. Haha. In any case, there are very specific reasons as to why someone would like to smoke tobacco, while there are almost no other actions that could substitute it. No. Actually. I can think of one – and only one – thing that could substitute tobacco smoking in terms of the same happiness seeking rationales, but I want to see if you can find out what that is, before I tell you 🙂

        And lastly, no, I do not waste the time of fully trained medical practitioners regarding medical data in medical journals, that I’m more than capable to read and understand myself. Medical scientists are really good at conveying knowledge in specific terms. I go to my general practitioner when I have conditions I need treated, and when I need medications. Self-diagnostics is incredibly easy for most ordinary conditions. Almost anyone has the ability to be a half decent general practitioner today. I’m by no means better than others in this regard. You just need to know how to search for sound knowledge (alternative medicine does not apply, of course).

        Thanks for reading this comment, and I’m not gonna hold it against you if you give me a late reply 🙂 Cheers!

        Morten Rolland

        January 31, 2015 at 7:03 am


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