Smoking culture refers to the practice of smoking tobacco by people in the society for the sheer satisfaction and delight it offers (Matsumoto & Juang 31). Smoking is an activity that is practiced by both men and women within different societies. The smoking activity is aimed at achieving the “good feeling” that results from stimulation by nicotine.
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The smokers do not have a bad agenda behind the smoking. Smoking culture is distinct from the common “bad boy” smoking habit in that in the latter, people smoke so as to feel confident whenever they want to go against the accepted behavioral codes of the society, by creating a false feeling of being tough and able (White 45). In smoking culture, people simply smoke for the elegance of the act.
Smoking culture is a preferred and generally accepted cultural pattern within the population, which is widely spread among the members of that society (Danesi 166). The smoking culture is widely accepted and embraced in the society because of the various benefits it offers to that society.
This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the smoking culture as an example of pop-culture by looking at the way it has found its way in the society. Further, in the paper the benefits as well as the impacts of smoking culture will also be discussed among other issues related to the smoking culture.
The smoked tobacco comes in two similar, yet broadly different forms, which are cigars and cigarettes. A pipe is used by so-called “gentlemen” as a tool to facilitate the smoking. Cigars are different from cigarettes. A cigar refers to a roll of dried and well-fermented whole tobacco leaves while a cigarette is made by wrapping finely cut tobacco leaves, generally referred to as the tobacco powder.
The cigarettes are further classified into three main categories, including filtered, non-filtered, and electronic cigarettes. A cigar holds more appeal to those seeking bigger esteem and a ‘classy’ feeling about themselves.
The smoking culture finds its ways to the roots of the society through various ways. The main channel through which smoking culture spreads throughout the society is by direct observation and imitation (Hilton, 121). Since this culture has been an accepted pattern in the lifestyle of the society, the current generation copies the habit from the preceding one.
The copying and imitating is repeated by every generation and thus the act becomes fully integrated in that society’s set up. The onset of the internet has also increased the means of spreading this culture from one generation to another.
The younger generation is exposed to materials that contain images and videos of people who smoke (Shechter 102). Therefore, it becomes easier for them to learn these habits from other people all over the world.
Smoking culture is healthy among those who do it responsibly (Rafferty & Mann 141). The nicotine found in the cigarette smoke gives the smokers a feeling of stimulation. The stimulation causes blood to circulate at a faster rate and pressure, which leads to a feeling of being awake and active. This feeling can be helpful in making appropriate decisions when faced with a dilemma.
In addition, smoking causes a feeling of relaxation and comfort hence reducing depression. In other societies such AS among the Indians, pipe smoking is a way of showing ‘class’ and ability in terms of wealth. It is therefore a unique act used by the rich people to distinguish themselves from the crowd (Matsumoto & Juang164).
Smoking culture provides a complementary item that is used to create a feeling of satisfaction when taken with other foods and beverages. The cigar, for instance, goes very well with wines and spirits for those who drink. It also matches very well with the non-alcoholic coffee such as Nescafe, when the two are taken together.
Smoking therefore makes meals more enjoyable and improves the taste of food. According to Fedorak, a cigar like Cohiba Esplendido is usually a “great smoke” after a meal of roast meat (Hilton 212).
Smoking has its health benefits. Although it has been scientifically proven that cigarette smoke causes cancer when poorly taken, the cigarette smoke can also be used to prevent or cure some fatal diseases. It is a proven fact that cigarette smoke repels insects, and thus when used, it lowers the risk of contracting common fatal diseases caused by the insects.
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For instance, the cigarette smoke repels the Nile West worm, which causes the Stichis Encephatiasis disease (Rafferty & Mann 118). Furthermore, the nicotine found in tobacco causes a feeling of relaxation and consequently helps to lower high blood pressure. Cigarette smoking therefore reduces the risk of developing health problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Smoking is used as a way of recreation during leisure time. This can be done at individual or group levels. The act of smoking helps the smokers to utilize their free time. Therefore, the engagement in smoking prevents the smokers from doing other destructive activities.
Statistics show that the act of smoking helps to reduce excessive energy. The engagement and physical activity consumes some energy while the cigarette smoke burns excessive fats in the body (Hilton 89).
Smoking culture is also a source of income for the government. According to statistics, the New York state has the highest cigarette taxes in the US, and thus the populous state provides a good avenue for collecting a measurable amount of taxes.
In most countries, the tax rates on tobacco products are ever reviewed upwards, and this does not affect the demand. The funds collected as tax are then used by the government to finance important public projects such as improvement of infrastructure.
According to economists, the smoking industry is very important in soaking up the excessive wealth from individuals. The smokers spend their income in a “Pyramid” pattern (Rafferty & Mann 305). The excessive wealth spend on purchasing the cigars and cigarettes forms part of the taxes levied by the government on tobacco products.
The smoking industry is therefore a necessary medium through which the government distributes wealth amongst the citizens. Similarly, the smoking industry provides employment and income for its workers. Wages and profits are essential elements in any economic set up in boosting the GDP.
According to a research done by Philip Morris about the lighter side of smoking in the Czech Republic, early deaths of smokers helps the government reduce the burden of providing them with care and essential services in their later years of life (Deflem 114).
The smoking culture is also important in building the culture of a society. It is tied to other forms of art such as in music, movies, and literature as a cultural attribute. As early as the 9th century, paintings of early arts of smoking were depicted in the Mayan pottery (Rabin & Sugarman 198).
Rulers or deities were depicted while smoking. The pipe smoking which was common in the 19th century was a symbol of power, wealth, and authority. The pipe was a sign for calmness and thoughtfulness while the cigarette symbolized youthfulness and modernity.
In the movie industry, frequent smoking was used to depict the characters mystique sensation. The super heroes are portrayed to attain what seems impossible with cigarettes in their hands. The smoking culture therefore is essential in building up the overall culture of a society.
In the modern society, smoking has penetrated and become prevalent among the younger generation of most countries. There is a feeling among the young generation that smoking bestows their life’s certain importance, and it is a rich source of recreation in times of dilemma (Danesi, 52).
The younger generation has developed a belief that smoking builds confidence in them, and thus enables them to do “mighty” things, which could have otherwise been impossible. This high level of confidence increases productivity among the younger generation.
Smoking is also important in creating and strengthening the social bonds between members of a society and between other societies (Deflem 224). The smoking groups generally make up well-bound units of the society. There is increased interactions amongst the members of the society through group smoking activities, and as the members borrow and exchange cigars and cigarettes among themselves.
This has an effect of creating and maintaining friendly relationships among the individual members. In addition, the smoking activities can be taken as recreation events, which provide good grounds for social interactions. As a result, the unity in the society is boosted. The smokers have a common unifying object, which they claim to collectively own: the cigarette.
As mentioned earlier, smoking can lead to fatal health diseases such as cancer. There are several types of cancers can develop from the inhaled cigarette smoke such as lung cancer, mouth cancer as well as cancer of the throat (Rafferty & Mann 256). However, responsible smoking can help the smokers to evade these fatal illnesses.
According to the cancer organization, a social smoker who does not more than five cigarettes a week, or not more than one cigar a day, and he or she does not inhale the smoke, has very little exposure to the health risk. Since the smoke is not inhaled, it does not reach the delicate lung tissues, and therefore the individual becomes less susceptible to the mostly common lung cancer.
As noted above, careless smoking can lead to serious health hazards. It can lead to illnesses such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, mouth cancer, and severe problems regarding throat, bladder, kidney, and pancreas, which can become very severe until there is no cure. However, controlled smoking can greatly reduce the risk of developing these health problems to nearly zero.
First, the smokers should not inhale the cigarette smoke. They should also try to avoid the unfiltered cigarettes, which directly allow passage of harmful chemical substances from the cigarette. The government should also formulate and enforce laws that govern the smoking industry (Rabin & Sugarman 154).
The smoking culture is therefore a very important element in every society (Hilton 321). It has several advantages as discussed above. It is a source of satisfaction and gives the smokers a “classy” feeling. It is also of paramount importance in making improving the tastes of some foods such as roast meat and beverages such wines and spirits.
The smoking culture is essential in forming some basic society units of smokers, and therefore serves to create new bonds and strengthen existing ones among the members of the society. However, careless smoking can lead to fatal health problems, which can eventually lead to deaths as pointed out.
It is therefore upon the smokers to control their smoking habits so as to enjoy the “good” feeling achieved while smoking (Rabin & Sugarman 97). The youth should also be provided with adequate information to monitor their smoking habits, rather than letting them smoke secretly and blindly. This way, the society will be composed with people who smoke responsibly without bringing about any harm to the society.
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Rabin, Rose, & Sugarman, Stephen. Smoking policy: Law, politics, and culture. Oxford: Oxford university press, 1993. Print.
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