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Updated September 10, 2022

Social Attitudes Toward Smoking

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Social Attitudes Toward Smoking essay
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Social attitudes toward smoking have significantly changed over the past years especially in the U.S.A. This is found evident when comparing the rates smoking back in 1965. During the year of 1965, the smoking rate was 42.4% (Hendrick, 2008). This percentage of smokers is much higher than the smoking rate of right now which is around 14% (Reporter, 2019).

This shows the reduction in people smoking over the past 55 years. The reduction in people smoking can be accredited to the 3 major sociological perspectives. These 3 major sociological perspectives are the conflict, symbolic interactionism, and the functionalist perspective. The conflict perspective assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict/tension between groups or people that expands on Marx’s work in how society’s institutions maintain privileges for the upper class and keep others in a subservient position. (Schaefer, 2019: 16-17).

At the time, cigarettes had a positive view toward them that it was not stereotypically associated with any certain ethnic groups such as German-Americans. This allowed for cigarettes to be sold for the same price at most places. However, cigarettes are now rather priced on the current market and demand for the cigarettes. This means that cigarettes are targeted towards low-income families, minorities, and increased prices in certain communities for having a more wider market due to possible conflicts in families which is what the conflict perspective acknowledges how society’s institutions maintain privileges for the upper class, which are cigarette companies in this case, keeps others in subservient positions such as low-income families and other minority groups.

The symbolic interactionism perspective involves generalizing about everyday forms which allows human beings to be viewed as living in a world of meaningful objects such as symbols (Schaefer, 2019: 19-20). This perspective can explain the reason for such a high number of smokers back in 1965. Smoking was seen as being associated as looking sophisticated and defined within society. However, things changed and smokers are perceived much more differently. Today, mostly everyone perceives smokers negatively.

This means that people assume smokers have an unlikable personality and social traits. Symbolic interactionism perspective claims how generalization occurs in everyday forms, such as unlikable people smoke, with symbols such as cigarettes. The functionalist perspective is the thought of society as a living organism in which each part of the organism contributes to its survival which emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability (Schaefer, 2019: 14-15).

Back in the 1960’s, the cigarette industry was not used as a huge revenue driver which meant that society could not have its economy be shaken by a reduction of sales in cigarettes. However, the cigarette industry has become such a profitable business today that it accumulates more than $9.063 billion a year within the U.S.A. This means that cigarettes help keep the U.S economy stable due to its profitable industry which is what the functionalist perspective claims. How each part of society plays a role, which would mean cigarettes in this case, to maintain stability (a stable economy).

Social Attitudes Toward Smoking essay

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Social Attitudes Toward Smoking. (2020, Sep 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/social-attitudes-toward-smoking/

FAQ

Is smoking a social behavior?
Smoking behavior is patterned over the life course, with smoking often initiated early in adolescence but diminishing as people transition into their adult roles (CDC, 2011; Chen & Jacques-Tiura, 2014). Survey research indicates that social connections are key predictors of a person's smoking behavior .
What are the social and emotional effects of smoking?
However, research has shown that smoking actually increases anxiety and tension . Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation, so people smoke in the belief it reduces stress and anxiety. This feeling is temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings.
What is the social impact of smoking?
Social and personal impacts of smoking Social stigma and isolation - some smokers feel that they are being looked down on. As smoking rates decline, many people do not want to be exposed to other peoples' smoke and are intolerant of smoking.
What social class is more likely to smoke?
In the U.S., people living below the poverty level and people having lower levels of educational attainment have higher rates of cigarette smoking than the general population.
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