No this isn’t an entry about you waffling your way through an essay. It’s really about…
We all know it’s bad for our health, yet we still do it. Governments know it too, yet cigarettes continue to be legally available in most countries albeit with harsh taxes, age limits and warnings.
So why is this so? How can we understand this seemingly masochistic behavior of human society? This blog post succinctly attributes it to the fact smoking is not a new ‘vice’. Some websites date it back to 5000BC with shamanistic rituals. The habit of course grew exponentially with tobacco trade during the colonial period and modern cigarette development in the early 20th century. Thus, it will be difficult for governments to simply ‘ban’ it altogether–not when millions in a country are still addicted to it (not to mention millions in tax money and strong lobby groups).
But what about the socio-psychological side of things? This report from The Independent boils it down to a complex interplay of addiction, undiagnosed depression, lack of support, desire to be cool, habit, denial and social situation.
So, has the progressive banning of smoking been of any use? This BBC report ponders over the issue with regards to New York City’s decision to ban outdoor smoking. While some believe it is a step in the right direction, others fear it could backfire if groups puffing together in smaller spaces cause worse passive smoking problems. A similar effort in China is also not going to be easy, as this Euronews video reports, citing factors such as enforcement and awareness issues.
Why do you think people in Singapore continue to smoke?
Do you think our government is doing enough?