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Landmark Anti-Smoking Project Declared Failure

By Anne Marie in News
Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:13:13 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Sixteen years ago, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington State launched a landmark antismoking campaign to educate children about the health consequences. For fifteen years, children were armed with the tools and skills to fend off the social pressure that perpetuates smoking's allure among our youth. Today, that effort has been declared a failure by Dr Arthur V. Peterson, the leader of the project.


The Hutchinson Smoking Prevention Project was conducted from September 1984 to August 1999 and was supposed to be the most scientific and most exact study of the longterm impact of antismoking education. In an article published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the results of those efforts are clear: children who participated in antismoking-intervention programs are just as likely to smoke (~25%) as their counterparts outside the program. The study comes on the heels of the recent post mortem on the DARE program.

That the program has failed is self-evident. What the alternatives are is a different matter. Programs such as this seek to explain to children why they shouldn't smoke, but children aren't listening. Says Richard Clayton of the University of Kentucky, "It is based on the idea that the smoking decision is a rational one. It may be that we've ignored emotion and put too much emphasis on the rational." But if we cannot communicate with our children on the plane of the rational, then what are we to do?

One approach is an approach recently borrowed in Washington State from California: new ads seek to equate smoking with breathing cow flatulence. $4 million is being spent in Washington State on such ads, which also include graphic footage of smokers' arteries being scraped, and focus-group surveys indicate their potential. But as the Hutchinson study demonstrates, such focus-group hopes are a far cry from what the data bear out.

So, then, if rationalizing and pleading with our children doesn't work, and scaring them doesn't work, then perhaps there are other means? A recent report by the World Health Organization suggests that raising taxes on cigarettes by 10% in developing countries could discourage 42 million people from smoking, and the evidence is promising in states already implementing such tax-hikes. But the economics of blackmarkets and tax evasion weigh heavy upon further success.

My question is this: what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking? The odds are against us as they were against our parents' generation, but we have the internet where they only had each other. As the best and the brightest, we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to solve this most difficult of problems. If not us, then who?

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Landmark Anti-Smoking Project Declared Failure | 94 comments (54 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
What "crisis"? (4.42 / 14) (#2)
by vsync on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:44:37 AM EST

$4 million is being spent in Washington State on such ads, which also include graphic footage of smokers' arteries being scraped, and focus-group surveys indicate their potential. But as the Hutchinson study demonstrates, such focus-group hopes are a far cry from what the data bear out.

Indeed. It's one thing to say "these ads are frightening and make me not want to smoke", and it's another thing to actually quit smoking. The things marketing gives me at work come from focus groups, and I've come to conclude that focus groups must be the people with the most useless opinions on the planet.

That aside, a focus group situation puts subconscious pressure on the reviewer to approve of what is being placed before him. This is exactly the wrong approach to take when preparing something to be presented to what is probably the most cynical segment of society.

A purposefully shocking approach might in fact be the worst one to take. Consider that the average person stops thinking about drain monsters a few nights after that episode of the X-Files, while preventing a behavior, especially a habit-forming one, requires a much more consistent negative influence. My dentist liked to show me those pictures with "Patient Who Brushed / Patient Who Didn't Brush". Of course the pictures were frightening, but it didn't affect how often I brushed my teeth.

My question is this: what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking? The odds are against us as they were against our parents' generation, but we have the internet where they only had each other.

Um, not smoke? You make a somewhat good point, in that the Internet has enough excitement to prevent the "smoking out of boredom" thing. But as far as anything else, I don't see what the Internet has to offer. You've already shown that neither emotional nor rational approaches seem to prevent smoking.

As the best and the brightest, we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to solve this most difficult of problems. If not us, then who?

We do? Some people smoke. Big deal.

Even if we accept that smoking is a terrible horrible thing, seeking "solutions" and "prevention" is not the wisest approach. Research, at least that research which is trumpeted in the news, tends to indicate that people addicted to smoking tend to become so during adolescence.

Adolescents tend to seek out exciting or interesting things. The media makes smoking interesting by constantly reporting the menace it presents to society. People, and adolescents especially, also like to challenge authority. Telling them "you can't smoke" will get them to smoke, just to spite the authority figure. Finally, people are curious. It's why we have explorers and scientists and hackers. The more exotic and hard to obtain something is, the more people will want to experience it.

Don't panic. In today's society, it's impossible to avoid the knowledge that smoking presents health risks. Anything beyond that is up to the individual.

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."

Must take issue : (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 08:50:22 AM EST

The media makes smoking interesting by constantly reporting the menace it presents to society.

I disagree mightily here. The media, and especially Hollywood, glorify smoking like there was no tomorrow. Heroes, especially of the "hard boiled" variety, smoke. Villains smoke. Sexy temptresses blow out seductive clouds of smoke. Police interrogators toss a packet of cigarettes over the table to the interviewee. Hitmen grind their stubs under their heels before moving in for the kill. People are always "tryin' to quit smokin'" but wind up lighting a celebratory fag after the Final Battle. The imagery is fricking everywhere.

What did Will Smith do when he had just finished kicking alien butt in Independence Day? Pull out a big fat Cuban. Not give a lecture about Evil Tobacco. Schwartzenegger sure as hell didn't have a lolly in his mouth when he was kicking South American butt in Commando.

Smoking is Hollywood, movies, glamour. Anti-smoking is PBS, Discovery Channel, fricking boring.

The more exotic and hard to obtain something is, the more people will want to experience it.

Yeah, right. "Exotic". 50 million adult Americans smoke the stuff daily. "Hard to obtain". The stuff is sold everywhere. Information about the properties of the Higgs boson, now that's exotic and hard to obtain, but I don't see 50 million adolescents rushing to educate themselves in advanced quantum mechanics.

No, adolescents are the exact opposite of the picture you paint. Few other groups have the extreme herd mentality that teenagers display. Marketers have known this for a looong time, and the endless stream of Geekdom Oppressed postings to k5 bemoaning high school pop culture indicate that geeks know this too. Easy, familiar and popular: these are what hook your average pube's interest. What, you think Britney Spears, Air Jordans and Gap outfits are huge youth icons because the government forbids 'em?

[ Parent ]

Get rid of the appeal (3.55 / 9) (#4)
by dyskordus on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:55:13 AM EST

If you want to eliminate youth smoking, get rid of the appeal that it has to youth.

I myself do not smoke tobacco. I smoked marijuana before I smoked a cigarette, and guess which one was better. Because I knew how much smoking sucked compared to other things, it had no appeal to me.

I don't exactly advocate youth pot-smoking, but if smoking could be somehow not fun/exciting, teens would not smoke.
"Reality is less than television."-Brian Oblivion.

Portal drugs (none / 0) (#77)
by Doctor Memory on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 05:12:33 PM EST

One of my favorite (possible apocryphal) drug facts: people often come down hard on marijuana smoking because "it leads to hard drugs". But a study showed that the only real drug that pot smoking led to was -- nicotine! Pot smokers tended to become tobacco smokers, but no real conclusions were found linking pot to other drugs. Sorry, no cite, this would have been back in the late 70's, early 80's.

[ Parent ]
Raising sin tax helps? (4.46 / 13) (#5)
by Sheepdot on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 01:01:29 AM EST

I could have sworn I've heard reports by non-biased organizations (WHO is very clearly biased against smoking) about sin taxes only serving to keep addicts economically at a disadvantage.

I do agree that anti-smoking group have been appealing to the kids pathos much more than the logos. Groups like www.thetruth.com try to shock people, but as you can see from their forums, 80% of the people that visit the site find something horribly wrong with telling people they aren't intelligent enough to decide for themselves.

I think that more emphasis on the health risks involved would make much more sense than saying "If you smoke you are an idiot cause it is unhealthy". That tactic didn't work on any of my friends.

Also, campaigns that say "If you start, you can't stop" really serve to hurt the cause. That is the reason I started smoking, I tried it because of peer pressure, I kept with it because I was able to go months at a time without smoking, making me realize that one cigarette really *doesn't* kill you.

And finally, targetting people who smoke as "evil" or tobacco corporations as evil does not help either. Big tobacco has gained superb amounts of press because of the anti-tobacco lawsuits, and has resurfaced as a "bad kid" thing to do, only adding to its appeal.

Good book to read about whether or not anti-smoking campaigns have gone too far:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684827360/jlcompublishicol/102-1889400-4660154

Amongst the comments as reviews of the book:

"The EPA's classification of secondhand smoke as a class A carcinogen was declared void by a federal judge in 1998 due to gross scientific errors, manipulation of statistical results, and methodology designed to yield data preferable to the anti-smoking side only."

"The health hazards of secondhand smoke may be the hoax of the twentieth century."

"The book explains how the public health movement has drifted from public-good types of concerns, such as sanitation or contagious diseases, toward a frontal attack on individual choices and politically incorrect lifestyles "

If you find it worthwhile to raise taxes for people you don't know in an attempt to prevent your kids from smoking (rather than telling them directly that they can't smoke in your house) you are one of the individuals that had went too far.

Sheep exist on kuro5hin too, folks. Start interpreting data for yourself and don't believe something by statistics alone, interpret the statistics yourselves.


Re: Replying To: (none / 0) (#94)
by ethereal on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:24:24 PM EST

If you find it worthwhile to raise taxes for people you don't know in an attempt to prevent your kids from smoking (rather than telling them directly that they can't smoke in your house) you are one of the individuals that had went too far.

What if I find it worthwhile to raise taxes for people I don't know so that they can help pay for the medical care they will need as a result of their choices, which otherwise I would have had to pay taxes for? Would I have "had went too far" with that argument?

I don't care if people smoke or not, as long as they're willing to pay their way in oxygen tanks, lung surgery, hospital stays, and so forth. Raising taxes on activities which have measurable costs to the public purse or my company's health care plan seems a reasonable way to handle this sort of thing to me.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

I am sick of anti-smoking propaganda (3.57 / 14) (#8)
by joto on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 01:58:08 AM EST

Sure, smoking is bad for you. So if you care about your health, don't smoke. Don't drink either. But so what, others should be able to do what they want with their own body. It's not like it's your body that anything is happening to. Anti smokers are almost as annoying as christians. Sure, christians like Jesus. But why must they convince others to do so? I think Jesus was a charlatan, and so was any other religious leader throughout history. And don't forget Linux activists. Sure, linux is great. But just because somebody doesn't like linux doesn't mean they are stupid idiots who don't know anything about anything.

I wish people wouldn't be so passionate about converting others for things that doesn't matter. After all, there is a small possibility that they actually can think for themselves, and have made the right decision for them. If you absolutely must try to convince somebody else, try to do it about something that matters for everyone. Politics has lots of good causes.

Smokers are harming non-smokers, though. (3.40 / 5) (#11)
by Christopher Thomas on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:18:25 AM EST

Sure, smoking is bad for you. So if you care about your health, don't smoke. Don't drink either. But so what, others should be able to do what they want with their own body. It's not like it's your body that anything is happening to.

Actually, it is, every time I walk through a cloud of second-hand smoke. And this is on the street - I don't have to actively seek it out.

If you can magically arrange it so that smoking becomes *only* the smoker's problem, then yes, it becomes much less of an issue, but unfrotunately this isn't the case. Forget cell phones; I'm getting cancer just by breathing if anyone's smoking nearby.

There are also hand-waving arguments about smoking having a net cost in health care (cancer is a slow, expensive way to die), but a) this hasn't been adequately proven, and b) that's (part of) what sin taxes are for.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by Pimp Ninja on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 04:35:10 AM EST

The one and only study on secondhand smoke that the WHO has completed (citations anyone? i recall reading a brief bit on it approx. 2 years ago...) has concluded that secondhand smoke is precisely as dangerous as campfire smoke. So, if you have a complaint with cigarettes, i'd get working on banning all forms of combustion...

Good luck with them laws of physics :)


...As a side note, i don't smoke. i don't like smoke, and i don't like being around people who do. But given the evidence so far seen, i don't feel that we have a right to stop them. Perhaps to deny them healthcare, or charge them more for it, but not to stop them.


-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


[ Parent ]
what's your point? (4.00 / 3) (#24)
by streetlawyer on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 05:44:49 AM EST

has concluded that secondhand smoke is precisely as dangerous as campfire smoke. So, if you have a complaint with cigarettes, i'd get working on banning all forms of combustion...

Actually, most forms of combustion are indeed banned from offices, restaurants, taxis, nightclubs, public transport and other enclosed spaces.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Here's your link ... (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:17:09 AM EST

... and the WHO study most definitely did not conclude "that secondhand smoke is precisely as dangerous as campfire smoke". But that WHO report was controversial, especially in the light of its refusal to publish its results after criticism about its methods. But for more statistics, see this 1999 article from the British Medical Journal giving less controversial findings.

Nobody's talking about forcing smokers to quit, but there's nothing glamorous or harmless about their addiction.

[ Parent ]

My (childish) solution... (3.33 / 3) (#38)
by theboz on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 08:49:20 AM EST

...is to be as much of an asshole as the people that smoke in public. Now, only certain people can get away with this. I'm a fairly big guy, and I don't talk much in person, and stare a lot. So, what I tend to do is if someone is smoking in a restaurant, simply go over and say, "Can you please put that out?" and that is usually enough to intimidate the cancer-bait to put it out. I don't go to bars, so most of the people I do this to are not looking for a fight either. However, if I were to go somewhere that the people might get pissed off no matter what I do, I'd probably get some sort of spray (preferably flamable) to spray at their cigarettes. If they think they have the right to blow that shit in my face, I have the right to spray perfume, gasoline, or whatever I want in their face. If someone wants to smoke in their own home or vehicle or outside away from me, I have no problem with that. It's when I am in close quarters with some idiot that likes to put fire in their mouth that I get pissed off.

Cigarettes are like medicine, but for stupid people.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

childish, and not childish (none / 0) (#54)
by joto on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:49:50 PM EST

So, what I tend to do is if someone is smoking in a restaurant, simply go over and say, "Can you please put that out?"

That is not childish. That is perfectly ok. And if the smoker doesn't put it out he is either an asshole, or he is sensing that you are trying to be one. Smoking in public do bother some people. And if that's the case, then it is perfectly reasonable to ask people to put it out. I'm not arguing over that, I'm arguing about why everyone seems to want him to never smoke again, ever!

However, if I were to go somewhere that the people might get pissed off no matter what I do, I'd probably get some sort of spray (preferably flamable) to spray at their cigarettes. If they think they have the right to blow that shit in my face, I have the right to spray perfume, gasoline, or whatever I want in their face.

This is childish. If anything, you should be directing that spray at your own face. There would probably be parts of it reaching others around you, just like it is with passive smoking. I think I would ask you to stop doing that if it bothered me, and ask you to do it in a non-public place.

[ Parent ]

Second-hand smoke (none / 0) (#56)
by joto on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 01:01:39 PM EST

Actually, it is, every time I walk through a cloud of second-hand smoke. And this is on the street - I don't have to actively seek it out.

I don't have to seek out exhaust either. But I don't want to ban people from driving for that reason. Or fart. But I think it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask people to not smoke, if you are sitting in a public space and smoke bothers you. If you are just walking by, and you can't even tolerate that, you probably shouldn't be out in public anyway.

And you are not getting cancer just because someone is smoking nearby. I'd say it is much more likely to get cancer from uncombusted diesel, NOx, asphalt particles, and smoke coming from people frying food (which definitely causes cancer). Maybe you should move somewhere out of the city if that bothers you.

[ Parent ]

What makes you think ... (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:23:46 AM EST

people with a physical addiction are acting rationally? Rats with electrodes wired to the pleasure centers in their brains will press a lever to stimulate that center repeatedly. They will forgo food, water and sleep in order to continue pressing that lever. Is there anything rational about that? My great aunt died of throat cancer in her fifties; she remained smoking right until the operation that surgically removed her lower jaw in a last ditch effort to save her life. Was that rational? Would you treat a human killer with that much affection? Smokers think they smoke out of choice: who's making the decision here, the nicotine, or the smoker?

[ Parent ]
rational choices (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by joto on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:41:10 PM EST

What makes you think people with a physical addiction are acting rationally?

I don't. Why do you insist on other people to act rationally in order to respect their choices. Just because you think you have figured it all out, doesn't mean that everyone agrees. It is a free world, and people should be allowed to do what they want!

You have my sympathy regarding your aunt, but that doesn't give you the right to dictate other pople's choices.

As for your comments about nicotine, it just shows how irrational you can be. Every person has the right to be irrational, but speaking of nicotine as someone making choices, and comparing it to a human is just outrageous. How intelligent is your average nicotine?

[ Parent ]

Come on ... (none / 0) (#71)
by MrSpey on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 03:26:18 PM EST

As for your comments about nicotine, it just shows how irrational you can be. Every person has the right to be irrational, but speaking of nicotine as someone making choices, and comparing it to a human is just outrageous. How intelligent is your average nicotine?

Don't be juvenile. She was pointing out that the nicotine addiction was having a very significan effect on her aunt's descision. She wasn't saying that the nicotine was intelligent in any way.

I can't believe I just responded to that.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching

[ Parent ]
I smoke, and I don't hurt you. (4.07 / 14) (#17)
by tokage on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 04:00:30 AM EST

First, I would like to say, I think this article is a troll in the sense of being designed to elicit a strong emotional reaction. The author has no real story, is only posting a few links as other people have said, and has a few inflammatory and ridiculous statements, such as "My question is this: what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking?". That statement actually makes me kind of physically ill:)

Having said that, I'll allow myself to be trolled, because that's the kind of intelligent guy I am. First off, I smoke. I smoke in my truck, in my apartment, outside at work. I don't smoke around non smokers, dislike people who smoke around children, and am angered by men or women who smoke around a pregnant woman with an infant. Why is this such a big deal to everyone? I'm destroying my lungs, paying to kill myself and all that good stuff, but it's my damn choice. We drive our cars which pollute, allow the environment to be plundered and destroyed for our creature comforts, but you're telling me not to smoke? How much money have we spent on this anti-smoking 'crusade' ? Hundreds of millions, one would guess. Don't you think that money could be put to better use than billboards which tell you what you should do?

Before I get flamed, I'll point out a few other things. I dislike the tabacco companies methods of business, and agree with the lawsuits they lose. I think any large corporation inevitably becomes what we consider 'evil', as it protects its own interests. Take oil comanies, the genetic engineering companies. They supress facts, use the media to put a pretty spin on everything, lie to us. Is that evil? Perhaps. Is it illegal? Only if they're caught. The thing about oil companies is, we need gasoline to power our cars, and oil for electricity, so it becomes less important to us. Things like http://www.texacoamazon.com/ are forgotten. Anyway, my point is, while tabacco companies have practiced illegally and should be punished, that doesn't warrant this invasion into my own space. It doesn't warrant shock billboards and sickening commercials. Us smokers are educated to the dangers of tabacco. When I see MTV's big tabacco commercials, the irony never ceases to amuse me. These venues of social artifice and listeners of N Sync are going to educate me on how I should live my life? Please. Kick us out of resturants, make them non-smoking, that's your right, that's fair. Make sure everyone's informed of the hazards involved with smoking, punish the tabacco corporations for their illegal pratices, that's fine. Don't invade my rights as a person and tell me how to live my life. I realize people lose loved ones to smoking related diseases and feel strongly about this. Death is always sad, but also inevitable. I prefer to live my life as I choose, dying younger perhaps, but with my free will intact.

As for the medical costs of supporting me, don't make me laugh. In America, do you see what we pay in taxes? Do you realize how badly that's allocated? I would vote for a tax on cigarettes specifically to cover medical costs, they're so expensive now anyway, what's another 20 cents.
When and if I quit, it will be because I want to, not because I'm told I should. All you people telling me not to do it, make me want to continue doing it. I do allow myself to be controlled by the anti-smoking ads, everytime I see one and I'm in a place I can smoke, I light up. I live in Washington and see the anti-smoking billboards. One reads "Smoking causes lung disease, cancer, emphysema, and heartache". So does fucking jogging on the side of the road in LA, and other polluted cities. I don't like to be condemned by non-thinking "save our children! they're unique and special!" housewives who have been trolled by popular media into invading my personal space. Become concerned about a real problem, like the rampant epidemic of AIDS in various third world country, children starving, people being murdered for no reason. Become concerned about humanity as a whole destroying the fucking environment we live in for our creature comforts. Spend 40 million dollars on actually educating people on the damage smoking does, and not troll billboards and tv commercials that show fat being squeeze out of a tube, saying it's what smoking does to your arteries. That may very well be the case, but they're my damn arteries, not yours.

What I'm trying to say is, you live your life, let me live mine. If my lifestyle offends or angers you, sorry about your bad luck. If my lifestyle crosses over and invades yours in some way, then you have a right to complain. Like Stephen King said, we're the 10 o' clock people, and you wouldn't understand. It's a mindset that we can live our lives how we want, as long as it doesn't cross over the boundry into your space. It's a basic freedom about choice. You have no right to try to make me do what you think I should, if what I'm doing doesn't infringe on your rights or health. If you're being exposed to second hand smoke, you have a right to complain. Like I said earlier, I don't smoke in front of non-smokers(except in my own apt or truck), and personally think exposing children to 2nd hand smoke should be a crime.


Long rant, there's your emotional response, Anne Marie:)

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

don't be silly (4.00 / 6) (#22)
by streetlawyer on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 05:28:03 AM EST

The author has no real story

Of course she does; the story is the interesting one that shock tactics don't work to prevent children from smoking.

is only posting a few links as other people have said

A perfectly normal number of links for a kuro5hin story, with connecting text.

and has a few inflammatory and ridiculous statements, such as "My question is this: what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking?".

Don't be silly; this is not either inflammatory, ridiculous, or a statement. It's a question; it is not a ridiculous question if you think that people in the k5 community can have valid and useful opinions on social problems (and if you don't, why are you here?), and it can't remotely be considered inflammatory. "Why doesn't the government just get with the program and ban tobacco?" would be inflammatory. "How can we solve this obvious social ill?" isn't.

That statement actually makes me kind of physically ill

It's far more likely to be the case that you should switch to a lower tar brand.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

The reason I feel like I do about the author (4.00 / 5) (#41)
by tokage on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 10:04:47 AM EST

If you do a bit of checking on Anne Marie, you'll note she has posted -no- comments, and 2 stories, the other being on there being more women gamers than men, and how women play more intelligent games. I find it odd that a person who submits a comment-generating story doesn't feel it's important to post replies about the stories they submit.

As for the story being about how shock tactics doesn't stop children for smoking, you'll note that past her putting out the facts and numbers, her question was "what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking?". The story is just her questioning ways to stop children from smoking.

The reason I felt that was an inflammatory statement is, implied within the context, she is asking how we, the k5 community, can put an end to children smoking. That strikes me as ridiculous, and the more the responsibility of the individual parents than the government. It is definetly not the responsibility of an online discussion board. Discussion about methods to prevent children from smoking are fine, but don't you feel the government oversteps its bounds? They control the children's educational curriculum, governmental bodies regulate what is allowed on tv, etc. Let me make a point here everyone can understand.

If you want your children to stop smoking, you need to lobby to stop smoking from appearing in ways which make it seem desirable. In movies it's the tough, cool hero who smokes. It's rock stars and actors. Tobacco ads have been banned from television, but it's the image of who the smoker is which makes it desirable to young, impressionable children.

In a footnote, about switching to a lower tar brand, I'm either going to smoke or quit:) not monkey around with going to a lighter filter.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

fair enough, but I still disagree (3.40 / 5) (#45)
by streetlawyer on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 10:30:37 AM EST

The owner of the Anne Marie account does occasionally post, but not under that account; you've seen what happens to Sig11, and we don't really need a multiplication of that (I seem to get away with it, because I am defended by a toxic personality:))

I disagree that the question of "how can we stop kids smoking?" is substantively different from the question of "how can we persuade more people to vote for third parties?", which was considered on topic.

But if your opposition wasn't to do with historical baggage, fair enough; I'm sorry. A lower tar brand would still probably be good for you, though; but don't bother with those extra-filtered ones.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

your substantive points are equally wrong (3.40 / 5) (#23)
by streetlawyer on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 05:33:13 AM EST

I'm beginning to wonder who the troll is here ... your post is certainly far more misinformative and inflammatory than the story.

but you're telling me not to smoke?

No, the story clearly states that the government is telling children not to smoke.

Anyway, my point is, while tabacco companies have practiced illegally and should be punished, that doesn't warrant this invasion into my own space. It doesn't warrant shock billboards and sickening commercials.

Billboards and commercials are an invasion into your space? Please. In any case, if the banning of billboards and commercials is the way forward, then the tobacco companies are unlikely to thank you for that particular precedent

Don't invade my rights as a person and tell me how to live my life.

Don't invade my rights as a person by telling me not to tell you how to live your life. You have a very confused idea of what free speech is. If you don't like the message, don't listen. You'll be pleased to know that free speech even gives you the right to complain to whoever you like, including me, when you get a nasty smoking-related disease.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

the problem is.. (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by tokage on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 09:38:47 AM EST

With apologies for lack of pretty italics, I refuse to do html.

"No, the story clearly states that the government is telling children not to smoke."


This is well and good, except it goes beyond telling children not to smoke. What happens is everyone who smokes is demonized by most non-smokers. I feel slightly ridiculous defending smoking, but I see it as the freedom to do what I choose, which is not ridiculous. More and more institutions, public and private, ban smokers. If what I'm doing isn't affecting you, then what right do you have to tell me to stop? In a slightly paranoid sounding question, when do people draw the line between banning others from doing what is unhealthy, regardless of it's in their presence, or affecting them?

"Anyway, my point is, while tabacco companies have practiced illegally and should be punished, that doesn't warrant this invasion into my own space. It doesn't warrant shock billboards and sickening commercials."

Your response to this is understandable, I was not clear. While billboards and advertising in general are excessively annoying, I wasn't claiming they were an invasion of my space. I'm talking about things like my next door neighbor asking me to not smoke, because her dad died of cancer, and she doesn't want her son to be around anyone who smokes. It's not an issue of second hand smoke, simply that she doesn't want smokers around her. My apartment building isn't non-smoking, and I have the right to do what I want in the privacy of my own home. Another incident which illustrates the point I was trying to make happened last month. Due to the large percentage of my co-workers not being smokers, they moved the only smoking area to a very inconvenient place, exposed to the elements, from where it used to be, which was out of the way and wasn't bothering anyone. The reasoning for this is management dislikes smokers. I can name offhand 3 businesses which practice this. Doesn't that strike you as a form of discrimination? It's not just about color or creed, but about the freedom of choice I am allowed to exercise, despite it being smoking. That's still a choice I make. I trust you can see how this ties in with your last statement.




I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

That's a nice, flawed statement. (1.00 / 1) (#55)
by 11223 on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:58:25 PM EST

You don't hurt me? That means that you weren't one of the fools in that smoky restaurant last night that nearly caused me an athsma attack, and left me feeling like crap in the process? (Not going there was not an option for other reasons.) Grow up. It does hurt other people, and athsma isn't exactly a rare medical condition.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

hmm.. (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by tokage on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:05:03 PM EST

You'll note I stated I do not smoke in front of non-smokers. This extends to resturants. If you have a problem with people smoking in the resturants of your choosing, take it up with the management of the establishment. How is not going to a resturant not an option? Scratch that, I don't really care.

What's the deal with "Grow up"? Your comment is pretty inflammatory. You really should consider reading what a person posts before you jump in agressively, calling people fools and whatnot.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red
[ Parent ]

Sorry (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by 11223 on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:15:26 PM EST

Was in a bad mood, I guess. Anyway, if you choose to partake in an activity that has few if any benefits and more than enough problems (just the expendature!) then you really haven't decided to control your own persona. As I was trying to point out in my other article, freedom only matters if you have the mental strength to control yourself, and only an enlightened society can have that among its members. Until you decide to control your actions, you are no more free than a man in jail.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

troll or not ... (3.50 / 8) (#27)
by gregholmes on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 06:01:53 AM EST

... it so replicates the "public health" view of smoking that it is worth addressing.

To the casual observer (and therefore the relationship is so stong it doesn't need some careful study) the biggest factor in smoking is social class.

Examples - Back in uniform, almost invariably, if someone up ahead was smoking, no salute was going to be required (i.e. it would be an enlisted man, not an officer).

One part of town has way more cig butts than the rest, and it ain't the part where they park your car.

Someone smoking on a campus (tobacco, that is ;) is probably support staff.

Since, as the article points out, it isn't "anti-smoking" education itself that is doing any good, there are obviously other cultural forces at work here. The whole public health model is a dismal failure, at least at its objectives. It does let a lot of people take themselves very seriously, and spend lots of research dollars.



Smoking and social class (3.20 / 5) (#28)
by enterfornone on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 06:29:49 AM EST

I'd definitly have to disagree here. I know many "upper class" types who smoke. Mosts managers and executives I've known smoke. A significant amount of IT people I know smoke. Go past any large building in the city and you will see suits standing outside smoking.

Obviously there are plenty of smokers in "lower" classes too, but I doubt that they are vastly in majority.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
You may think so ... (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:06:40 AM EST

... but a number of studies including this one say your anecdotal experience is wrong.

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily (2.00 / 2) (#35)
by enterfornone on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:47:10 AM EST

It could just be that I don't live in the US.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Guessing you're an Ozzie ... (2.50 / 2) (#37)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 08:18:58 AM EST

this gives a detailed picture of Australian smoker demographics. You'll have to scroll about 2/3 of the way down to find the percentages according to occupation and education. There are twice as many poor smokers as well-off smokers, and twice as many ignorant peasants as educated ones.

If you live in Mongolia, though, then no contest -- I'm not looking that one up :-)

[ Parent ]

property rights or the tyranny of the righteous? (3.88 / 9) (#30)
by TuxNugget on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 06:47:46 AM EST

This could be about property rights, but your article sounds like you have a more encompassing view.

Clearly, smokers do own their bodies, but do they own the air? Other people have to breathe it, too. In many places, smokers still have property rights to the air for their smoke and the ground for their butts. In others, they don't. But is this your concern, or is it something else?

It has been said that the tyranny of the righteous often outweighs that of evil men because while selfish greed is eventually satisfied, the righteous go on oppressing forever. Discourage something because it is obnoxious -- sure. For someone's own good, no. Why should we judge?

I doubt that 2nd hand smoke kills, but it does irritate. Maybe for a few it kills, like those people who can't deal with others' eating peanuts on aircraft because of their allergy to peanut dust. But since peanuts are not banned on aircraft, certainly "2nd hand smoke kills" is not the reason it is so unpopular. It is unpopular because it is obnoxious. And it does seem reasonable to me that non-smokers should own the air in most public places.

Since the non-smokers seem to have the upper hand in many parts of america, the best way for non-smokers to reduce the amount of smoke they breathe is to continue to press for restrictions. Not necessarily just through the government, but through the private sector as well. Northwest airlines, for instance, banned smoking long before it was actually banned by the government.

Actually keeping others from smoking, for their own sake, bothers me. I wonder, what is next? A lot of computer geeks are too fat - should they be run around the block a few times a day for their own good, or perhaps because others don't like to look at them or because they have heart attacks and drive up insurance rates? This is not such a slippery slope, as CNN ran stuff like this in Asia when I was visiting there -- concern by the world health org that wealth makes 3rd world people fat and fat costs their societies money. Interestingly enough, in my trips to Europe, Asia, and Australia I would have to say they are still pretty much smokers' havens - there are usually not no-smoking sections in restauraunts, but bans are beginning to appear for government, offices, and shopping. Just depends on where you are.

DARE was another program that I found an irritant, because these inner-city teens would hang out at the grocery store or malls or, sometimes, door to door, and bug you for money for DARE. One time, they asked "Don't you want kids to say no to drugs?" to passers by who did not donate. My answer to this was "Hey - drugs cost money. Saying no is free. Go figure."

you miss out coercion (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by streetlawyer on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 06:57:43 AM EST

For someone's own good, no. Why should we judge?

Well, we should make judgements based on the facts, and in the case of tobacco, the facts are pretty clear. But I'm not sure your analysis has the conclusion that you want from it. Nobody is being coerced not to smoke under the programmes referenced in the article. But children are being persuaded that it is a bad idea. Since they are also, at the same time, being persuaded that it is a good idea, by peers, role models and advertising, the use of persuasive tactics is legitimate. Similarly, fat geeks should indeed be encouraged to take a run around the block. There is a difference between an advertising campaign and a labour camp, and it's an important one.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Situation in Australia (none / 0) (#81)
by Maclir on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:34:23 PM EST

Interestingly enough, in my trips to Europe, Asia, and Australia I would have to say they are still pretty much smokers' havens - there are usually not no-smoking sections in restauraunts, but bans are beginning to appear for government, offices, and shopping. Just depends on where you are.
In Australia, smoking has been banned in Government offices, public transport, and many other places for about 15 years. Here in New South Wales (the State that Sydney is the Capital of), I believe all restaurants and similar eating establishments are (or will soon be) non-smoking.

[ Parent ]
smoking in Bondi (none / 0) (#82)
by TuxNugget on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:36:25 PM EST

I'm trying to remember if anyone was smoking when I was in Bondi last January.

Offhand, I'm not sure. I do remember unmufflered motorcycles, though :-)

[ Parent ]

For the jubilary 1,000,000th time (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by maketo on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 11:18:00 AM EST

The education of your child is not up to the society, it is up to the parents. If the parents dont know how (or dont have the time to) inflict a set of core values on their child, no program will. My father didnt beat me to not smoke, he didnt enroll me into programs and he didnt bribe me to smoke. What he did was to teach me to think with my own head, have my SELF-ESTEAM (so that I dont have to show off to my peers with a cigarette) and taught me that I shouldnt care about what people think of me. Now, for the record, it took me time to realize this but I eventually did and I am thankful for it.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Wonderful! (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by blixco on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:12:44 PM EST

I say +1 because while the content of the story isn't all that exciting (I thought the fact that DARE has failed would show up here or smokedot) the story itself as an object has stirred up a lot of discussion.

As a side note, I started smoking at 15 and quit at 25. I started for no good reason (I can't remember the reason)...there was no peer pressure, it didn't look cool...but the effects of nicotene are nice: it relieved stress and made me feel funny. That's probably why I stuck to it. Maybe if there was more energy put towards ending the stress a teenager feels....maybe then teen smoking would get cut down a bit.

If you smoke, you should quit....or not. I don't care....just don't cough up any pieces of your lungs on me, and please *please* have private insurance with a good sized cancer rider.


-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
Ugh. (3.75 / 4) (#50)
by buzzbomb on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 12:17:40 PM EST

I smoke. Why don't we concern ourselves with our own children and stop trying to save the world? Your kids are your responsibility, other kids are NOT...no matter how much you wish they were. I'm sick of the constant "what about the children?" My answer: fuck the children...work on the PARENTS. Kids are always gonna smoke NO MATTER WHAT ADS ARE ON TV, WHAT THE PARENTS SAY, or whether there's a cartoon camel trying to "sell to kids." Joe Camel never meant shit to me. NEVER. No one else I know either. It was our friends. (The ones mommy said to avoid.) So just let it be. Worry about the people selling the smokes to the kids...

SEP Field Detected (3.80 / 5) (#59)
by Signal 11 on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 01:28:03 PM EST

Why must the geeks try to save the world? Most of us don't smoke (hey, let's do a study on that!), and it's not something we can snap our fingers and change.

Yes, it's a terrible thing that alot of people are getting hooked on cigarettes. Yes, it makes my heart bleed. No, I'm not going to raise one finger to try to help.

There is much to be said for picking your battles. In particular, picking battles that are big enough to matter, and small enough to win. Kuro5hin is not the place to be discussing teenage smoking. We have our issues, and the rest of the world has theirs. We can't fix all the problems in the world.

Besides, I'm being practical about my politics - whether someone chooses to smoke or not doesn't affect me one iota unless it is a family member (my mom, in particular, recently quit smoking in part due to my efforts). Call me close minded or cold hearted, but I fight for what matters to me, and I suggest everyone else do the same.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

A Little About Me... (4.60 / 5) (#62)
by eskimo on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 01:51:13 PM EST

I don't mind that there are gray areas in life, but I will always try and avoid hypocrisy. I have only a minimal opinion on abortion. I think it is a pretty crappy form of birth control, but I think that it is absolutely a woman's right to chose. I try and argue from this perspective because I am not a woman. There are emotional and physical things going on there that I will never, ever understand.

That said, I can't see how somebody smoking is my business at all. If a teenage girl is old enough to have sex, and in most states, old enough to decide to have an abortion, then I think I can safely stay out of this one. Personally I think smoking is hilariously stupid. But I have avoided any psychological addiction to smoking or physiological addiction to nicotine. I also think those Truth commercials are hilariously stupid.

In short, it's not my problem. Yeah, I suppose that my tax dollars will prop up a healthcare system geared in the future to grow alveoli in fish ovaries, and I may lose some of my friends prematurely to the results of their habit, but I only hang out with smart people. They know the deal. Why they started is irrellevant. Why they don't stop is the question, and a thousand Truth kids will never be able to answer that question. Neither will I, because I don't smoke.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto

Smoking... (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by Captain_Tenille on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:23:56 PM EST

I accept that it's a filthy, dirty habit that does nothing to help my asthma or bronchitis, and I'm glad that my brothers and parents don't smoke.
That said, I still like my two packs a day. I don't know about anybody else, but those ads (especially the Truth ones) do nothing for my friends and I to keep us from smoking. Actually, I often light up when the aorta-scraping ad comes on.

I completely support anyone's desire not to smoke, and I would certainly encourage non-smokers to seriously consider not starting. Smarmy ads on TV aren't going to stop anyone, though.
----
/* You are not expected to understand this. */

Man Vs. Nature: The Road to Victory!

The truth (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by Defect on Thu Dec 21, 2000 at 03:01:31 PM EST

I don't quite understand those ads. Everyone i know, without a doubt, has a very clear understanding that smoking is bad for you. Even when i started, i knew it was not good. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell that inhaling hot smoke is not exactly paradise for the lungs. But we still do it anyway. It's definitely not the nicotine, as most of my friends and i smoke cigarettes that have none, so it's not a physical addiction. We just enjoy it. That's it. it's simple. The Truth ads just seem kind of redundant. And actually, nearly every time i see one i think "hey, i haven't had a cigarette in a while now" so i go smoke. Score 1 for prevention.

If people really want kids to stop smoking, they're going to have to find a much different way to get the message through, because everyone knows it's bad for you. The most effective commercial i've seen was one showing a kid smoking in his room with his stereo/tv/etc disappearing with the words "Where's all your money going" or somesuch on the screen. If i didn't have the job i have now, that commercial might have made me think more about quitting, but as it is right now, i'll quit when i feel like it.

Although if cigarettes do get much more expensive, it's going to be a lot harder for me to justify buying them.

(just to note, i started smoking when i was 17, and still smoke now, a few years later)
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
This story is a troll. (3.60 / 5) (#68)
by Paul Crowley on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:38:48 PM EST

In case it's not obvious, this story, like Anne Marie's previous story but less blatant, is a troll. Please respond accordingly.

I'm sorry to see the K5 voters suckered like this, but mostly I'm surprised that so many people have failed to work out that being clever is clever, while being stupid is stupid.
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
time for a new buzzword (none / 0) (#86)
by h2odragon on Thu Dec 21, 2000 at 02:08:14 AM EST

there are trolls with a point, and trolls for the possible purpose of inciting real discussion on a point people want to talk about.

We need a new term to include "of low value in itself, but a decent vehicle for my pithy apprasial of the situation".

[ Parent ]

Just say no. (2.25 / 4) (#70)
by MrSpey on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 02:52:43 PM EST

I read a couple places a while ago, when people started bitching about DARE, that the best anti-drug campaign was the one that nancy Regan headed (or at least looked to head. Something like that), the "Just Say No" campaign. They foudn that just telling kids all the time that if someone offers you drugs you're supposed to say "no". No debate, no discussion, nothing, just say "no". No reasons were given to kids other than the fact that drugs were 'bad'. This might not sound very nice, or maybe it sounds like it doesn't treat its target audience like they're very smart, but remember that they're kids. Elementary and middle school aged kids. Sure, if sometime started doing this to me I'd walk away or explain to them that I can think for my self, thank you. Kids, OTOH, are quite impressionable. They want to make their parents happy and to conform. So if they're assaulted left and right by the statement that drugs are jsut bad, and they should just say "no" then they will. Yes it's brainwashing but they're children. They need some sort of guidanceon what they should and shouldn't do.

Anyway, I gotta get back to work.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

Anti-smoking campaign working in California (none / 0) (#75)
by bjrubble on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 04:48:56 PM EST

At least that's what I've been hearing; in fact, the Yahoo! story linked in the article has in its sidebar this article about how California's lung cancer rate has dropped 14% over 9 years, a result credited largely to the aggressive "education" campaign.

Personally, I find the ads fairly annoying and preachy, and am troubled by the demonization of smokers (I don't smoke, at least not tobacco), but if you're talking about efficacy I don't think you can call them a failure.

Wisdom from The Onion (4.75 / 4) (#76)
by stinkwrinkle on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 04:49:03 PM EST

"I don't understand why teen smoking is up. Haven't we made it clear to kids that smoking is a dangerous, forbidden thing meant for older people?"
--Gina Revering, Florist

God bless The Onion.

Did you ever see... (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by Captain_Tenille on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 06:59:48 PM EST

... the old Onion article from quite awhile ago that was titled "Report: Study Shows that Second Hand Smoking Leads to Second Hand Coolness"?

----
/* You are not expected to understand this. */

Man Vs. Nature: The Road to Victory!
[ Parent ]

Two thoughts (none / 0) (#83)
by Maclir on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 07:46:56 PM EST

Perhaps it is time tobacco products were subject to the same health rules as other food and drug products? Now that is radical.

Alternatively, turn them into a "controlled substance", and have them sold - at cost (no profit)- by the government - to registered addicts only. All of a sudden, "big tobacco" no longer has the windfall profits it has enjoyed for a few centuries.

Sure, there will be a black market - but it the official price is low enough, there would not be the profit motive there for the black marketeers.

Registered addicts? (none / 0) (#89)
by LocalH on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 08:09:19 AM EST

What a bunch of bull. I don't want the government associating my name with *any* substance, whether it be tobacco or whatnot.

[ Parent ]
Crisis? (none / 0) (#84)
by Brandybuck on Wed Dec 20, 2000 at 08:52:45 PM EST

"My question is this: what can we as geeks do to solve this crisis of youth smoking?

What crisis? Why do we have to solve it? Why is it any of your business?

People disagreeing with you is not a crisis. People engaging in behavior you find repellent is not a crisis. There's too much good in this world to waste your life scheming up new ways to put other people under your thumb. What's next? Proposals to jail fat consumers? Labor camps for the sedentary? Thumb screws for those who don't buy organic?

Amazingly simple (none / 0) (#90)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 04:10:02 PM EST

What most anti-smoking and anti-drug and anti-teen-sex groups utterly fail to understand is that something as societally widespread as smoking cannot simply be moved up and down its own individual scale based on how effective the latest ad campaign is. I often wonder if the people who write and produce most of these ads ever had a childhood (or for that matter, any normal existence).

I am 19, and have never smoked (tobacco or otherwise), drunk alcohol, or engaged in any unhealthy behavior worse than eating too many potato chips. Nor do I intend to in the future. I did not need to be told "cigarettes are bad" and "drugs are bad." Why? I had a mostly happy childhood; I was allowed to attain enough education and common sense to figure out, on my *own*, that lighting some leaves on fire and breathing deeply might not be a good idea; I was never in danger of succumbing to peer pressure because I had loving parents, good friends, and supportive teachers.

If the parent watching a "tell your kids about drugs" ad cares about its message, they most likely have already provided a positive environment for their children that will make trouble unlikely. If they don't care, no amount of pleading will make them suddenly turn to good parenting. A thousand "just say no"s aren't nearly as valuable as one person who has found caring to be its own reward.

Robert Hutchinson (no relation)
No bomb-throwing required.

I'm suprised it didn't hurt (none / 0) (#92)
by Otter on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 06:40:55 PM EST

Honestly, my surprise at reading this news is that the campaign didn't measurably increase smoking.

The old public health campaign against smoking was a tremendous success. Smoking was disappearing across all groups. When I was in college (late 80's - early 90's) no one smoked except a handful of Euros and black turtlenecks.

Then the "War On Smoking" started. The result was that teen smoking increased for the first time in decades. Not a shock - has there ever been any evidence that when teenagers do something unacceptable, berating them more is the way to get them to stop?

Today, for all the self-righteous yammering about Big Tobacco, there is a whole anti-smoking industry parasiting on the cigarette companies. Trial lawyers have mansions to pay for, governments have already allocated their settlement money for highways and buildings (or, in the case of Los Angeles, to settle a massive scandal by the LAPD Rampart Division) and smarmy anti-smoking groups need a continued flow of money to stay in the spotlight. I don't see anyone taking much interest in what would actually reduce smoking.

The emotional has not been ignored (none / 0) (#93)
by Mawbid on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:21:57 PM EST

"It is based on the idea that the smoking decision is a rational one. It may be that we've ignored emotion and put too much emphasis on the rational."
Maybe the anti-smoking campaign is totally different in the U.S. than in Iceland, but I doubt it. Here, you can't possibly say that there's been too much focus on the rational and too little on the emotional. When I was a kid, probably around 12, some people came came to my school and gave us a little lecture about smoking. The only thing I remember from that lecture is the pictures of black lungs.

I think one of the reasons anti-smoking, anti-drinking, and anti-drug propaganda fails is that the people pushing it often treat their audience like idiots. They make claims that we already know or soon discover to be false. They use cheap scare tactics. They paint the substance in question in the worst possible light, unwilling to concede that there might be benefits to weighed against the harms to come to an enlightened decision. The decision has already been made for you and they deride and villify those who go against it.

Or maybe I just have a problem with authority figures.

There's one anti-smoking campaign I actually like. A local bank has cooked up a very appealing incentive program to keep kids from smoking. The way it works is the parents and child make a contract that says the parents will put the price of, say, a pack a day into a trust for the child. In return, the child promises not to smoke (that part may come later, if the trust is created early in the child's life). At the end of the period, the parents hand over the money if they feel the teen has honored his or her end of the deal. It remains to be seen whether this actually works, but at least the parents are involved and the child is treated as a responsible individual.

Landmark Anti-Smoking Project Declared Failure | 94 comments (54 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
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