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Social Stigma Of Cigarette Smoking

Once it was glamorized by movies and ad campaigns, nearly every leading man and woman in the movies used cigarettes.  Teens used cigarettes to gain social clout and even business was done around and through the smoked filled rooms.  This no longer seems to be the case; tobacco smoking has lost its glitz and has instead become more of a social stigma than a social statement.

The smell, the cigarette butts, the second hand smoke all make cigarette users social outcasts in public areas, schools and businesses.  There is nothing quite so pungent for the non-smoker as walking through the smoke cloud surrounding the doorway of an office building.  

There are still 43 million smokers in America, who are still dealing with the issues, stigma and costs of cigarettes.  Most public places have banned cigarette and cigar smoking, and many make it impossible to smoke close to doorways or even on the property itself.  

There are other pressures related to smoking as well, as the interested in environmental issues escalates; the pressure to have smoke free air, litter free areas clear from cigarette butts and no second hand smoke have increased.  

One in five deaths in America are related to cigarette smoking according to the Center for Disease Control.  Smoking causes lung cancer and respiratory illnesses; it aggravates coronary illness and increases the likelihood of stroke.  In addition, it is responsible for increasing the likelihood of additional cancers such as bladder, stomach, esophagus, cervix and kidney cancers.  

For women, the medical risks from cigarettes include increased risk for infertility, low birth weight infants if smoking during pregnancy, an increase in the possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and it lowers the bone density and increases risk of hip fracture.  

There are social pressures for smokers now that did not exist in the past.  There are insurance premium increases for smokers that may affect the policy rates for co-workers, which can influence smoking bans in the workplace.  

Environmentalist will point to the litter of cigarette butts that releases cancer-causing fibers into the ground and water table.  They will also discuss the environmental hazards from the toxins, and carcinogens released during smoking there have been more than 4000 identified toxins and carcinogens associated with cigarette smoke.  Global cigarette production is more than 5.5 trillion units a year, there are concerns about the manufacturing hazards connected to the production of cigarettes including chemicals in the water and air.  In countries like China where there are 350 million smokers, there are health concerns about the environmental issues created by this much second hand smoke production.  

Smoking will be unlikely to ever come back to the glamour and glory of past days.  The social stigma against cigarette smoking is not likely to be reduced in any time soon.  There is evidence that electronic cigarettes are now being portrayed as the new glamour as they are showing up in movies and in paparazzi shots of celebrities. So, for those looking for both nicotine and social acceptance it may need to come from e-cigarettes rather than tobacco.