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Unhealthy habits

Each state has its own peculiar subtleties in the law.  It is foolhardy and sometimes even dangerous to assume that laws are shared across states.  Smoking, in particular, differs rapidly from state to state.  In the South, smoking and non-smoking sections are prevalent.  States that are “forward-thinking” in their plans to deal with smoking ban it inside public buildings.  So, the question is, why is smoking socially frowned upon?  Is it because second hand smoke emanates and spreads to others or is it because the person is willingly spending money to harm himself, develop bodily ills, ultimately raising costs for health care?

Hypothetically, if smokers only smoked in their private dwellings, would smoking still carry the same social stigma?  My wager is that it would.  But if that happened, then there would truly be no difference between smokers and people who eat junk food.  Both are conscious choices and addictions.  Both cost extra money, hurt the body, and cause a plethora of ailments.  At what point are we held responsible for damaging ourselves?

There isn’t a lack of nescience on this subject – everyone is educated enough to know that smoking is bad for their body.  Why do we not attach the same social stigma to people who eat massive amounts of junk food?  The amount of overweight American adults exceeds the amount of American smokers by a 2 to 1 ratio.  With heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States – more than diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s, cerebrovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza, and unintentional injuries – combined, why are we not paying more attention to this debilitating yet avoidable problem?  Instead, fast food restaurants and places that serve double portions are thriving.  Double stackers and quad-stackers are now equated with a hearty meal.  Every ailment stems from improper aliment.

Yes, we are given the fundamental right to do what harm we want to ourselves, save suicide.  But, are the potential problems worth the short-term gratification?  Partners become less sexually attracted, health care skyrockets, cars get bigger, more gas is consumed, increasing amounts of people starve, and every so often, one falls face down from a heart attack.  Perhaps we should focus our energy on something that many have problems with: the gorging of unhealthy foods.

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  1. Diana
    May 27th, 2009 at 02:04 | #1

    i completely agree! they should heavily tax cigarettes, junk food, alcohol and divorce processes.
    okay, i am getting distracted and need to get ready for bed eventually. this has been a bad habit of mine. haha
    …but your entries are worthy to read!

  2. Martha
    July 8th, 2009 at 13:54 | #2

    I have often thought about these issues too and I also wonder why we don’t extend the stigma to drinking. Driving home drunk from the bar gets less comment here (where smoking inside the bar is illeagal) than the people gathered around the entry ways getting their nicotine fix.

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