Changes In People’s Attitudes Toward Smoking

Tobacco appeared at the market of Europe and Northern America in the 17th century as one of the effective cures for toothache, fatigue, as well as an anesthetic and calming agent. Later on, people around the world discovered narcotic effects of nicotine, an addictive stimulant containing in tobacco, and started smoking for enjoyment. It became a habit of millions of people and helped to boost tobacco industry, which is still among the most lucrative and profitable businesses. Nevertheless, in the beginning of the 20th century medical researches and studies revealed close connections between smoking and a number of diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease and others. That is why governments had to take necessary precautions and set up some bans on distributing tobacco. For example, in order to buy cigarettes in our country, one needs to be above 18 (in some states even 19).

Therefore, it is possible to say that social attitude toward smoking has been changing within some last decades under effect of a number of different factors. First of all, people had the opportunity to learn more and more about harmful and damaging effects of tobacco smoking on their health, that is why it became a point of social concern around the world. But, unfortunately, numerous restrictions and limitations on smoking sometimes had opposite effects and stimulated some people to try cigarettes (as a reaction on such restrictions). Moreover, it is supposed to be “trendy” among the teenagers and youth to smoke cigarettes. This way they try to copy “cool” behavior of adults and win the reputation of “tough guys”. Such tendency is quite popular, and that is why this social group is, probably, among the most vulnerable to changes in their attitude toward smoking.

Undoubtedly, there are many other specific reasons, which can influence on a person’s position toward smoking and somehow change it. Probably, one of the most powerful factors, which can change people’s mind toward smoking, is negative personal experience, connected with destructive effects of smoking. For example, if a family member or a close friend faces some health problems as a result of smoking, then definitely the majority of people around will alter their attitude toward smoking to the worse. Or, there can be a situation, when someone in the family starts smoking hard, devastating family budget and bringing unpleasant atmosphere into the house. Certainly, having experienced negative outcomes of smoking, most people will start holding more negative attitude toward it.

Furthermore, different campaigns and movements against smoking, both on global and on local levels, can be another significant and very important factor, which can change people’s attitude toward smoking. Usually, governments of many nations spend a lot of resources for promoting the idea of quitting smoking and leading healthy life-style. For example, in the United States one of the largest and the most massive anti-tobacco campaigns took place in 2004. It had serious well-planned objectives and good financial support, and during this operation a lot of efforts were spent on informing American people about the risks and threats coming from smoking. Therefore, this campaign brought to overwhelming results: as the researches indicate, almost half of the smokers in our country decided to quit smoking.

Certainly, the attitude toward smoking and its sensitivity also depends very much on a person’s age, ethnicity, education, being smoker/non-smoker, as well as on the level of his/her social wellbeing, genetic predisposition, psychological condition and a disposition to becoming an addict of smoking. Definitely, it is much harder to change the mind of a smoker on the problem of smoking, but non-smokers are usually more flexible in their attitude. Also, for example, rich people can afford high-quality expensive cigarettes with lower content of nicotine and better filters. That’s why they may not consider smoking as something too very dangerous to their health and keep on having such opinion for ling time. Finally, attitude toward smoking of the people of Muslim community can change together with the changes in their devotedness to Koran, which teaches to stay away from anything that affects human consciousness. Therefore, people’s position towards smoking can change under numerous influences, and it depends on many social variables.

One Response to Changes In People’s Attitudes Toward Smoking

  1. rosie says:

    I am doing a sociological study on tobacco use and wanted to use this article as reference. thanks for the info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *