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The Problem of Smoking

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Words: 914

Date added: 19-02-05


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Level: high-school

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Do you smoke? A question has been asked to most people at one time or another. The topic of smoking certainly requires a thorough analysis. Whether you smoke or not. It’s also an issue when it seems to polarize people. In this reading we’ll compare and contrasting viewpoints by two different individuals. As I present the arguments, I’ll dissect then truly understand their inner workings. Both Haviland and king touch on many subjects yet seem to ignore others. I think a balance must be struck when it comes to smoking, both through individual rights and a social responsibility.

“I’d Rather Smoke than Kiss.” Is Florence King’s very smart retort to anti-smokers. In this article she advocates for smoking as a simple enjoyable think to do. To emphasize this, she recalls her first smoking experience, which is for the most part very normal and unexciting. However, this account is irrelevant to the rest of the story. King quickly switches goes as she goes on the attack. In the first section she labels hatred of smokers as a form of misanthropy which she goes on to say is “the most popular form the closet misanthropy in America today” (King). This perspective is further augmented by the fact that she considers second-smoke an invention; a means for the “Passive Americans” (King), to justify prejudice towards smokers.

As she moves into the second section, she begins to document the hostility shown to smokers. Through her own personal interactions or through examples she views in newspaper articles. King really focuses on the subject of public perception, and while some examples validate he perspective, others do not. In her response we see to a Washing ton Post article, in which states that “the whole article has a die-damn-your undertow” (King). This perspective is perhaps a bit over the top and only serves to polarize her views, thereby alienating some readers.

This compounded by the next section with peculiar title of Health Nazis. In it, she likens the public service ads against smoking to political propaganda. Nevertheless, she touches on some strong points in regard to public perception and the media’s control over it. As we gone on to the final section, she begins to draw interesting parallels. She compares the attack on smokers as a form of class warfare, an even goes so far as allude to racism in the last paragraph. Indeed, she goes on to say that hatred against smokers is meant to “identify and punish the undesirables among us” (King).

On the other hand, we have Dr. Haviland’s “A Silence That Kills.” In this she speaks about society’s seeming complacency or disregard to the dangers of smoking. The structure of her essay follows a very scientific approach, and therefore concentrates on the facts of smoking. However, she addresses other issues throughout the essay that demand analysis. Dr. Haviland believe that society is not doing enough to address smoking and her restless tone reflects this belief. Tobacco according to her kills “more people each year than ADIS, suicide, murder, car accidents, and drugs combines” (Haviland). The dangers of smoking seem to be self-evident, yet Dr. Haviland asks “why is public silence so deafening?” (Haviland). This call-to-arms permeates thought-out the whole essay and is the focal point of her argument.

So, Dr. Haviland considers many factors including smoking as a stigmatized behavior. Not only does she recognize the stigma attached to smoking, but she realizes we must include their opinions as well. In this section she proceeds to also talk about personal liberties in regard to smoking. According to her, the choice debate “lacks a rigorous discussion of the power of the nicotine addiction and the role of the tobacco industry in supporting the concept of smoking is an adult choice” (Haviland). By addressing these three commonly overlooked details, Dr. Haviland’s argument benefits tremendously. In the same ways, she also addresses public, and government involvement. These last two sections serve to reiterate the points she’s made regarding smoking and public silence. She expresses discount with the lack of government intervention in the relation to smoking. On the public side, she urges society at large to rise up and confront the issue.According to Dr. Haviland, we have to “let our voices be silenced” (Haviland).

Both King and Dr. Haviland touch on these issues, but don’t respect their implications enough. I think we should respect a person’s right to smoke. At the same time, we should expect them to be well-informed on their hobby, including second hand smoke. Society has a responsibility to respect the right of an adult to smoke, but adults should respect society’s right to not smoke. We shouldn’t stigmatize people from smoking, because this only going to make them polarize against society. We should be keenly aware of nicotine addiction and how it can make it difficult for someone to quit. The smoking issue is very complicated and some of the arguments are beyond the scope of this essay. We should still obtain a balanced outlook if we consider the following: the fats of smoking, individual right, societal responsibility, and the stigma smoke. Haviland and King both right essays which obtain very important points but seem to contain a bias which me alienate some people. We should truly reach a consensus on the smoking issue, we must be willing to meet halfway. We should strike equilibrium between individual right and society responsibility.

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