Or, FrogAndToad Is Worthless Because She Smokes.

I don't know if any of you still go to the Saturday Night Social on the main page. I do occasionally, because it was a nice resource for me before I found GT and I like it. Anyway, there was a thread someone started that I found very interesting. The question was: Do you think the way we stigmatize smoking helps or hurts the anti-smoking cause?

My answer is, unequivocally, hurts. Why on earth do we believe that the best way to get people to be healthier is to make them feel like shit about themselves as they are? I think most of us would agree that the way to get people to lose weight is not to tell them that they are lazy and incompetent for being fat.

Further, I think we need to begin to examine both the mental health implications of smoking and the class implications. Smoking is a self-destructive behavior. I know I, personally, started because I felt like shit about myself. I know other people who started because of stress. My campus has an above average amount of smokers - and an above average amount of brilliant women. But instead of seeing it as a self-destructive behavior, instead of reaching out, we send the message that smokers are worthless by virtue of being smokers.

And that stigma? Is so classist. Cigarettes are associated with the poor, with the illiterate. Non-smokers feel like they're better than smokers - I've had comments on this site telling me so.

For the record, I support laws that make it illegal to smoke in public spaces. I would never smoke around a child. I would never smoke near a doorway to a building. I would never smoke around people who I know don't like it. I would never smoke inside. I would never smoke in an area with a lot of people I don't know.