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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2005 :  17:26:29  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Since the bar ban topic got so many responses, so quickly, and with so much diversity of interesting points of view, I thought I'd try a different gear:

A subtle cultural thing that separates drinking and smoking - identity labels. Though most people consume alcohol, people are rarely called “drinkers”.

What is a “smoker”? It does get thrown around as an identity label, and its connotation varies from nasty-drug-addict to casually neutral. Obviously, the politics strike an emotional chord on both sides of the mini culture war over smoking.

Can the identity label of “smoker” refer to a whole cultural lifestyle? Or does it purely refer to engaging in the activity of smoking? Why do people who don't smoke refer to people who do smoke as “smokers”? Why do people who smoke call themselves “smokers”?

I admit I have some thoughts on this subject (which I'll bother to share if this becomes a discussion), but I don't have a point or an agenda. I just think it's a potentially interesting topic.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

trishran
Skeptic Friend

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2005 :  22:49:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trishran a Private Message
As someone who hasn't consumed a cig in over 14 years, I'd have to say "smoker" is an identity, and boy is it a cool one! I miss [occasionally, but nostalgically] smoking - the smell of cresh cigs, the taste, having something to play with, and letting out a long stream of smoke. It is the closest humans can come to actually consuming fire, what could be more cool than that?

On the other hand, after a 3 month bout of bronchitis, and realizing what smoke does to pale skin like mine, I dropped the habit and never looked back.

trish
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  04:53:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Smoking is generally something done throughout the day and drinking usually happens after work, where your co-workers do not associate it with you.

One things for sure , my last roommate was a 'DRINKER'

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  06:54:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

Since the bar ban topic got so many responses, so quickly, and with so much diversity of interesting points of view, I thought I'd try a different gear:

A subtle cultural thing that separates drinking and smoking - identity labels. Though most people consume alcohol, people are rarely called “drinkers”.

What is a “smoker”? It does get thrown around as an identity label, and its connotation varies from nasty-drug-addict to casually neutral. Obviously, the politics strike an emotional chord on both sides of the mini culture war over smoking.

Can the identity label of “smoker” refer to a whole cultural lifestyle? Or does it purely refer to engaging in the activity of smoking? Why do people who don't smoke refer to people who do smoke as “smokers”? Why do people who smoke call themselves “smokers”?

I admit I have some thoughts on this subject (which I'll bother to share if this becomes a discussion), but I don't have a point or an agenda. I just think it's a potentially interesting topic.




OK. I don't see "drinker" or "smoker" to be a cultural lifestyle. "Punk rocker", "Thug", or "Player" are more cultural lifestyles. The terms describe an activity. Those who carry the activity to excess or use extra legal items have other terms which describe more of a cultural lifestyle such as "pot head", "wino", "drunk", "chain smoker", "chimney", "druggie", etc.


Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  09:08:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Valiant Dancer wrote: "Those who carry the activity to excess... have other terms"

See, this is why I think this is a potentially interesting topic. I don't call myself a "smoker", even though I do smoke very rarely. The same goes for several of my friends who engage is extremely moderate smoking. This suggests that to many people, the term "smoker", while not carrying quite the negative connotation as "druggie", is a label for some kind of excess.

I'm not trying to make a moral judgement. I don't think nicotene addicts or other drug addicts like potheads or drunks are morally bad. (the morally bad stuff we associate with drunks is because of things many of them tend to do while they're drunk.)

BigPapaSmurf brought up the fact that smokers smoke throughout the day, and thus their coworkers, as well as their family and friends, would associate them with the behavior. But aren't there lots of people who only smoke on the weekend and still call themselves smokers?

I guess what I'm getting to is that, whether we call it a cultural lifestyle or not, I think in general, the term "smoker" is mostly used to label a kind of excess drug use - and by excess I mean enough to have a clear and continuous affect on one's health.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  09:48:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

Valiant Dancer wrote: "Those who carry the activity to excess... have other terms"

See, this is why I think this is a potentially interesting topic. I don't call myself a "smoker", even though I do smoke very rarely. The same goes for several of my friends who engage is extremely moderate smoking. This suggests that to many people, the term "smoker", while not carrying quite the negative connotation as "druggie", is a label for some kind of excess.


How much is moderate? Also, I don't agree with the term referring to a lifestyle. As insurance forms list smoker as being someone who smokes, I would think that embracing the smoking with out embracing the common lable of smoker is a little odd.

quote:

I'm not trying to make a moral judgement. I don't think nicotene addicts or other drug addicts like potheads or drunks are morally bad. (the morally bad stuff we associate with drunks is because of things many of them tend to do while they're drunk.)


In the cases of such excess, the item abused will have a profund importance in their lives and be reflected in certian behaviors which can be termed a lifestyle.

quote:

BigPapaSmurf brought up the fact that smokers smoke throughout the day, and thus their coworkers, as well as their family and friends, would associate them with the behavior. But aren't there lots of people who only smoke on the weekend and still call themselves smokers?


Common nomenclature.

quote:

I guess what I'm getting to is that, whether we call it a cultural lifestyle or not, I think in general, the term "smoker" is mostly used to label a kind of excess drug use - and by excess I mean enough to have a clear and continuous affect on one's health.



The term smoker is mostly used when dealing with legal issues and healthcare issues. As such, it has been defined as people who smoke tobbacco products. It lumps pipes, cigarettes, and cigars together under the smoking umbrella.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26020 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  11:39:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
I've gotta say, I've never heard of a "drinking jacket."
quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

Smoking is generally something done throughout the day and drinking usually happens after work, where your co-workers do not associate it with you.
"Generally" is correct. My uncle's wife is from Sweden, and she doesn't smoke before 5 PM. Don't know if that generally holds for most Swedes, but she once suggested as much.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  12:58:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Valiant Dancer: "How much is moderate?"

Well, obviously defining "moderate" use is difficult as there's a huge gray area. I'm not saying there's a clear line between abuse and moderation. And it would vary depending on a person's health and circumstances. For instance, a person with one lung and on a respirator, a ciggarette or two a day might be considered excessive. (Not sure of the medical studies on that - just trying to make a point about how it would vary depending on an individual's health.) All the stuff at my doctor's office strongly urges against any smoking for women on chemical birth control (because it increases risks of various health problems) and adds that if such women are going to smoke anyway, they should definitely keep it down to 5 a day or less. Does that mean that 5 a day is moderate? I don't really know.

Valiant Dancer said: "Also, I don't agree with the term referring to a lifestyle."

For some(probably a minority) of smokers, smoking is definately part of a lifestyle. But I see your point about not using the word "smoker" to refer to people who make it their life style, and really, I agree with you.

The reason I became a smoker to begin with had to do with where I worked, who I hung out with, and the sort of things we did together. We talked about smoking all the time. Made jokes. We had all sorts of bizarre rituals around smoking. I have tons of nostalgia about that whole time in my life, and I don't have any memories of it that don't involve smoking in one way or another. One reason I had the will power to quit being a pack a day smoker was because I left to teach in South Korea, and when I came back I moved to Philadelphia. Currently, I don't live near any friends who smoke. And actually, I cautious about not entering into any social subculture than does involve smoking again, because as fond as I am of that past, it had it's dark side to, and the addiction aspect of the smoking was the biggest part of that dark side.

But probably for most smokers it isn't a lifestyle. It's just a recreational drug habit, like my drinking a beer in the summer evenings. Speaking of which...

Valiant Dancer said: "As insurance forms list smoker as being someone who smokes, I would think that embracing the smoking with out embracing the common lable of smoker is a little odd."

Filling out an insurance form I would not hesitate to list myself as a nonsmoker. Saying one is a smoker implies regular usage (whether it be a pack a week, or 3 packs a day), and I smoke an average of a pack a year and maybe 5 cigars a year. I refuse to be put in a category with regular smokers in regards to insurance, even though I do smoke. I don't think that would make me dishonest, seeing as the insurance form is demanding a black or white answer on an activity that has a lot of gray.

Valiant Dancer said: "In the cases of such excess, the item abused will have a profund importance in their lives and be reflected in certian behaviors which can be termed a lifestyle."

We don't have words that separate smokers who make it part of their lifestyle (as you have just defined above), and smokers who don't. That's part of the problem. Different people will use and hear the word "smoker" and interpret it based on their own bias and experience. That's exactly why I don't call myself a smoker. I'm not trying to hide anything, I just don't want to get confused with most people who smoke and do it regularly.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 07/28/2005 13:00:34
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