More People Have Less Respect for Smokers

Quitting is challenging.

In the 1990’s, Gallup Poll found that 14 per cent of those surveyed respected smokers less. That number has increased to 25 per cent in the most recent poll.

There was a time when smokers were idolized, especially when it came to movies. The brightest and best actors and actresses were watched on the silver screen with a cigarette in hand. Those days changed quickly as the health effects of smoking became more clear, understood, and broadcasted. Today, smokers are often left hiding behind bushes or around corners, one-hundred feet from business doors, or left pining over the first drag that will come at quitting time. 

Former smokers show greater disdain for those who currently smoke; 5 per cent reported having less respect.

It stands to reason that many nonsmokers and former smokers would feel as they do given the current trends of anti-smoking advertisements, heavily funded campaigns against tobacco, restrictive legislation, increased taxes, and medical professionals pushing for their clients to end their dance with tobacco. But quitting smoking isn’t the easiest of feats.

Most smokers do not enjoy lighting a cigarette and feel quite shameful, according to Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds. Patrick Reynolds is now a former smoker, founder of TobaccoFree.org, and speaks with audiences worldwide on the ill effects of smoking. Much of his focus is on the younger generations, imploring them to never smoke. In his speeches, Mr. Reynolds poses the question, “Why would you take up a habit [addiction] that is guaranteed to make you a social outcast?”

Sadly, Mr. Reynolds is right in his sentiments. The devastation caused by second hand smoke is immense. Those individuals who smoke hear the comments stated by anti-smokers nearby, which aids in solidifying their own feelings of worthlessness and shame.

Feelings of worthlessness and shame can lead to depression. According to Marc Lipton, a Townsend, MD clinical psychologist, 30 to 35 per cent of his quit-smoking clients have clinical depression or anxiety. While smoking adds to those issues, once addressed, it becomes easier to quit smoking.

Smokers have every right to respect themselves in spite of dancing their own dance with nicotine addiction. For many nonsmokers, the concern of health and safety elevates their harsh tones and lack of respect towards people who smoke cigarettes.

It is up to each smoker to face their own vices in life. Most importantly, it is imperative that every person who smokes out there making an attempt at quitting tobacco deserves to hold their head high; even if failure is around the corner. For every failed attempt at quitting smoking, more knowledge and understanding is gained into your own triggers. Knowledge becomes wisdom and with wisdom, success is guaranteed.

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