Markers of the Denormalisation of Smoking and the Tobacco Industry

School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia.
Tobacco control (Impact Factor: 5.93). 05/2008; 17(2):25-31. DOI: 10.1136/tc.2007.021386
Source: PubMed


In nations with histories of declining smoking prevalence and comprehensive tobacco control policies, smoking-positive cultures have been severely eroded. Smoking, smokers and the tobacco industry are today routinely depicted in everyday discourse and media representations in a variety of overwhelmingly negative ways. Several authors have invoked Erving Goffman's notions of stigmatization to describe the process and impact of this radical transformation, which importantly includes motivating smoking cessation. Efforts to describe nations' progress toward comprehensive tobacco control have hitherto taken little account of the role of cultural change to the meaning of smoking and the many ways in which it has become denormalised.
This paper identifies a diversity of generally undocumented yet pervasive markers of the "spoiled identity" of smoking, smokers and the tobacco industry, illustrated with examples from Australia, a nation with advanced tobacco control.
We caution about some important negative consequences arising from the stigmatization of smokers.
We recommend that schemes rating the comprehensiveness of national tobacco control should be supplemented by documentation of markers of this denormalisation.

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    • "In all three cases, participants construct an initial negative reaction followed by references to 'addiction', 'stress' or 'research' that allow them to negotiate the good mothers don't smoke theme and construct a less negative attitude towards the particular woman. From a thematic social constructionist perspective, we are able to attend to the constructed nature of the content of participants' responses and how these are being produced within a specific socio-cultural context that devalues smoking and those identified as 'smokers' (Chapman and Freeman, 2008) – as expressed by participants' visceral responses to smoking in pregnancy. However, participants' follow-up statements provide 'context' or 'justifications' to explain that they do understand that smoking in pregnancy is complicated, allowing them to negotiate the good mothers don't smoke theme and construct the practice, and the women involved, in more humanising ways. "
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    Qualitative Research in Psychology 07/2014; 11(3). DOI:10.1080/14780887.2014.902523
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    • "There is little doubt that cigarette smoking has become a deviant and stigmatized behaviour, at least in western countries (Bayer & Stuber, 2006; Goldstein, 1991; Hughes, 2002; Markle & Troyer, 1979; Stuber, Galea, & Link, 2009). For example, in Australia, smokers are routinely depicted in everyday discourse and media representations as malodorous, unattractive, selfish and thoughtless addicts, but also as antisocial polluters and employer liabilities (Chapman & Freeman, 2008). In France, an opinion survey conducted in 1999 suggested that smokers were viewed in a hostile and derogatory way: a majority of the French population view smokers as drug-addicted individuals who should be held responsible for their health problems. "
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    The International journal on drug policy 09/2013; 25(2). DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.08.009 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    • "First, the convenience sample of focus group participants, although relatively diverse, cannot be considered statistically representative of all older smokers and former smokers. The data were all collected in California, a state with a strong tobacco control program focused on norm change and tobacco industry denormalization [55-57]. California also has a strong tobacco control regulatory climate, demonstrating an active government role, with generally strong support for tobacco initiatives. "
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