Sunday, September 21, 2008
Stop Blaming Smokers
Many people want to point a finger at smokers, "Don't you know that it's bad for your health?" they ask.These self righteous individuals are making smoking a moral or ethical issue instead of what it is--a health issue, pure and simple. Smokers are not bad people because they smoke. 90% started as a teenager before they were legally able to buy cigarettes and before their brains were fully developed. Teenagers often lack the sense to make appropriate life-changing decisions. Teenagers often think that they won't become addicted or that they will quit before they do any permanent physical damage. Yet a teenager can become addicted within 6 months of the first cigarette and because their brain is still developing, smoking can cause structural changes to the brain which make it very difficult to stop smoking. So why do we still blame adults for making a stupid decision as a teenager? It's time to stop blaming the smoker for being addicted to nicotine. It's time to stop making smoking a moral issue. We don't blame individuals with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure for eating the wrong foods that damaged their blood vessels. Their habit of eating started as a children before they had control over their food choices. Smokers are more likely to stop once they are not blamed for smoking but are helped to address their physical problem, just as we view those with other chronic diseases that center are our lifestyle choices. Most smokers do want to quit but as long as non-smokers keep pointing a finger at smokers, their defensive mechanisms stay up and keep the smoker smoking instead of looking for solutions to try and quit.