- The Innocents --This is a very large group. These people cannot fathom the fact that they've been told bold-faced lies in both scientific and casual settings. By not questioning the facts, they are preyed upon by antismoking zealots until they exhibit the symptom of impaired cognitive ability. The most vulnerable group, children, are not taught to think but they become indoctrinated by rhetoric and misleading and/or false manufactured "evidence." Of course, many people in this group are also adults, who have usually been enticed into the antismoking fervor by the initial social recognition of being in a special group called "nonsmokers." Eventually, members of this group also suffer from the Witch Doctor Effect if not outright hypochondria. Unfortunately, as Public Health claims become more ridiculous (e.g. "There is no safe level of secondhand smoke.") and unsubstantiated, this group grows quickly but then loses members as the scientific scandals are exposed and confidence in Public Health dwindles. Many people believe that to abandon this group they must try to find justification for their earlier alliance, which is simply not the case. If you identify most closely with this group, simply realize that you have done nothing more than fall for the old Smoke and Mirrors routine. But, once you've been disillusioned of the ruse, you are no longer under its spell, are you? There is plenty of information on this site and thousands of others to help you learn to be discerning. Once you've confronted the scams, you can regain your friends, family, health and, yes, even financial freedom. Remember that, although antismoking rhetoric tells you that most/all nonsmokers are antismokers, the fact is that the most vocal anti-ban people are nonsmokers.
- The Neurotics -- This groups is comprised of people with compulsive disorders, often accompanying compulsive repetitive behaviors such as locking doors or washing hands. (If taken to extremes, these tendencies can blossom into psychosis, which is beyond the scope of these helpful tips for general recovery. For an example, see Antismokers Get Physical by Johanna Huden from the , November 19, 2002.) Now, let's be very clear. Antismokers do not have a corner on neurosis; in fact, some people who smoke are similarly neurotic in reaching for a cigarette at the first sign of stress. (The conscious relaxation and conscious breathing exercises on the Healthy Living page are recommended for "nervous smokers.") If you identify with this group, then you probably have mild or, possibly, strong phobia(s). These phobias can have a powerful impact on your health and even your finances. Confront these phobias with facts about human health. We know that our bodies are strong and actually benefit from some degree of stress, such as you might find in homeopathic medicine. In fact, the idea behind vaccinations is that, if your are exposed to some of a disease, then your body will react and produce antibodies to prevent you from getting the full disease. (The vaccination theory has its problems, but that is the idea anyway.) If you never allow yourself to go into the sunshine for fear of skin cancer, you are actually putting yourself at greater risk of developing cancer; Mercola is big on that! So, take care of yourself but don't allow needless fretting to destroy you, your health and your relationships. Apply this understanding to your need to do these repetitive rituals, antismoking phobias included, and you will find that, most of all, your social circles improve dramatically and grow.
- The Truly Affected -- Taking the words straight from McFadden, "This group has two subcategories: those with true physical reactions, and those whose physical reactions flow largely or entirely from psychosomatic bases." The concerns for true physical reactions are asthma, which has little to do with tobacco smoke in reality, and allergies. Not having asthma, I have left that discussion for a friend. However, allergies are a problem throughout my family, regardless of smoking status. Allergies are a physical response to specific proteins, as is the case for people who suffer from nut allergies. The physical response is to release histamines, which is the reason that many allergy-suffers take antihistamines. The -amine suffix is the biggest clue that these reactions involve proteins, as in amino acids. Proteins might exist in the tobacco plant, but they are nowhere to be found in tobacco smoke. (Tobacco smoke can be an irritant; however, it is the most mild irritant of all types of smoke such as exhaust, wood smoke, incense and even candles.) In other words, anyone who claims to be allergic to tobacco smoke is delusional, suffering from any combination of a victim complex, hypochondria and/or phobias.
The Bereaved - This is a heartwrenching group, and the group that is most viciously attacked by antismokers. Although a small minority of this group might be suffering from a victim complex, most members of this groups are truly bereaved with all of the baggage that goes with grief. What could be more horrifying than watching a loved one die slowly of an insidious disease like cancer. The process leaves the patient and the loved ones with confusion, anger and fear. These emotions are very real and can be overwhelming. As a result, some people emphasize their anger as a way to give themselves the illusion of control in what they believe is an uncontrollable situation. If encouraged to grow unchecked, the loved one will develop anger-related and stress-related diseases as well as fall prey to all of the other pratfalls of antismoking. The only way to handle the mourning process is to allow yourself to go through it in the healthiest way possible. Keep a journal. Research the disease with a discerning eye. Talk to friends or find a good support group. And, yes, allow yourself to be angry at the unfairness. Anger can often turn to determination and/or motivation, but you must live through the anger and recognize it for what it is. Antismokers will happily put devil's horn on the tobacco leaf to encourage your anger, but that is an ill-informed method to merely increase your unprocessed grief. The misinformation you receive will lead you down the path of impaired cognitive abilities, crippling your mourning process, as well as other symptoms of ASDS and pratfalls of antismoking; so, beware and take care of yourself. One final warning on the topic of misinformation: One can easily be tempted and falsely reassured by the idea that someone has contracted a disease through a lifestyle choice that you do not share, as though one is safe from a disease as long as one does not indulge in a supposed vice and, yet, the danger of the disease might actually be very real for that loved one, e.g. living in an asbestos-filled or radon-filled home will be as deadly for the smoker as the nonsmoker. Best advice: Investigate--and investigate with a truthful, discerning eye. I can't bring your loved one back to life and good health, but I can encourage you to live through your grief first. Please see the Healthy Living pages.
|WebMistress: I remember one family member, a never smoker in a nonsmoking environment, telling me how they just didn't know "where it came from." More than that, I remember this "athlete of the family" saying those words to me in the most frail and bewildered voice I've ever heard. The only two people in my mother's family to contract cancer were the only two never-smokers.|
For those who've lost people who did smoke, you are left with the desperately echoing questions, "Why me? Why us? Why do so many other smokers skate by without any of this? Why?"
You bet it's unfair. You bet it's insidious. You bet that you can do something about it without letting anger destroy your health and your soul. I promise. You can.
And, yes, I do believe they are now in a better place...waiting for us patiently.
- The Ex-Smokers and The Victims - Many people who smoke perceive ex-smokers as the most rabid antismokers. However, in reality, only a fraction of ex-smokers constitute this group because people who have become ex-smokers with little difficulty tend to have little interest in antismoking. However, for those ex-smokers who have needed to jump mighty hurdles to make that change in their lives have a need to demonize the very thing that they desire, even if they don't openly admit that desire. In the process of demonizing tobacco and tobacco companies, the members of this group will also gleefully demonize people who smoke, partly because they have a secret jealousy of those who choose to continue enjoying the pastime of smoking. In other words, demonizing people who smoke is a way to distance oneself from temptation, using anger as avoidance of desire, and the result is estrangement from both friends and family members. This is primary source of the demonization of smokers rather than smoke. (Notice that I often use the phrase "antismoker laws" in lieu of "antismoking laws." The antismoking crusade has never been about the smoke, but always about the smoker.) Within this group, there is a subgroup of people who have become ex-smokers after much struggling because they perceive, rightly or wrongly, some illness of theirs to be smoking-related; this subgroup can exhibit symptoms of the victim complex. To combat these preconceived and ill-founded notions of people who smoke, I recommend visiting the Etiquette page. Although the symptoms of ASDS might or might not be very pronounced in this group, the overriding result of antismoking within this group is strongly asocial behavior, which will cost relationships, money and general well-being.
- The Controllers - This is the group of antismokers who usually feel the most out-of-control in their own lives. Such people who enjoy sniffing for evidence of guilt with the assumption that they are in control of meting-out punishment for any offences. Eventually, the victim of their control fetish will choose not to be victim and simply leave or rebel. The controller loses again. The ASDS symptom most prominent in this group is megalomania followed closely by narcissism. However, the other symptoms of ASDS--phobias, hypochondria, narcissism, andvictim complex--often develop as a means to effect control. The controllers do not usually seek recovery unless/until they have lost someone close to them. Sometimes, a controller's illusion of control will be shattered, and the controller will begin to develop and anger-related disease. Interestingly, the remedy for this group is the same as the remedy for "nervous smoking"! Yep, see the Healthy Living page for tips on using exercise (conscious relaxation, conscious breathing) and aromatherapy! One more helpful exercise for you: Write down all of the areas of your life in which you really do have control. For example, you can't control others but you have control over your own actions and reactions. Within that area of control, you might also have influence and persuasion, even if not actual control of others. These are general areas of control, but you undoubtedly have more personalized areas of control. This is merely a tip for recognizing real, true control--sans the illusions. Once you have confronted your control issues, you will find that you are healthier, happier and, yes, more "in control."
- The Idealists - Again, quoting McFadden, "This group is most heavily represented among those in the medical profession and those who work or volunteer with nonprofit groups..." As with the Bereaved, the members of this group have been confronted with mortality in harsh ways. The desire to demonize something to find a scapegoat can be tremendous. McFadden also states, "Idealists will accept almost any study or survey that supports the Crusade without applying to it the normal level of scientific criticism or questioning." The primary symptoms here is impaired cognitive ability and megalomania (i.e., "God complexes"). The biggest downfalls of antismoking from this group are the perversion of science and, as a consequence, diminishing confidence in Public Health and non-profit charities. The only way to recover is to start reading the scientific literature and surveys with a more informed and rational mind--two examples are cancer and secondhand smoke. Once the process has begun to effectively heal people in this group, the ripple effect will bring great improvements to their patients and charities.
- The Moralists - This group of people tend to believe that anything that is pleasurable must be wrong, immoral and unhealthy. The viewpoint is Puritanical. The most famous antismoker to join this group was Adolph Hitler, although America has had her share of moralist antismokers such as Lucy Page Gaston (Anti-Cigarette League, 1899-1920). The important aspect of this group is that there tends to be an advocacy of unhealthy practices and a shunning of healthy behaviors. For example, many people find chocolate quite enjoyable and, based on that alone, moralists would have us believe that chocolate is inherently unhealthy! Yet, Cocoa 'could get rid of the West's top killer diseases' ! Granted, you'll fare better if you go for the dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, but a powerful antioxidant lurks in there! Another great thing about chocolate is that it makes you think you're in love! Mm, hm. Acts like one of those ol' endorphins. Oh sure, there's a little caffeine to boot, just to give you the tiniest buzz. Yet, are we to believe that chocolate is necessarily bad for us only because we enjoy it? Many other favorite pastimes are both enjoyable and healthy. Stoicism has its drawbacks. Moralists don't actually have the high moral ground, which can be frustrating for the devout moralist. The ASDS symptoms for the people who identify most closely with this group are megalomania, narcissism (esp. in the form of false humility) and a mild case of hypochondria (usually fed by adherence to unhealthy stoicism). The danger to society from moralists is the slide into the "Nanny State," especially when simple pleasures like smoking or drinking or eating are the targets of the moralism on a government level. The best advice for recovery is to begin self-exploration, find the activities, foods and people that tend to lead to healthy pleasures and self-empowerment for the individual. Some pleasures might not be entirely physically healthy but hold great psychological boosts and healthy calming effects.
- The Greedy - I'm sure you've heard many preachy people say, "Money is the root of all evil." You probably also know that is incorrect. My Good Book says, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Financial gain is not bad and, in fact, can be very good and healthy. Yet, taken to extremes--and you might not be aware of the extremes you've reached--the preoccupation can consume you, even dictating your lifestyle and religious beliefs to an unhealthy extent. (As an example, look at what money bought for Howard Hughes.) We all know of the pharmaceutical interests promoting smoking bans and antismoking research--all measures of profiteering. We also know that Big Tobacco Control, funded by tobacco companies, has grown phenomenally. We also know that politicians have greedily and unwisely raised sin taxes, specifically on tobacco, to unrealistic heights. We also know that suing tobacco companies has become--or, rather, did become--as fashionable as suing McDonald's over a hot cup of coffee. (Notice that the tobacco coffers have dwindled while pharmaceutical coffers have become more enticing. Even Action on Smoking and Health has felt the need to diversify it's legal actions to blacklisting doctors and recommending action against airlines.) Tobacco-demonizing, in the pursuit of wealth, is quickly becoming unfashionable and, frankly, fruitless. If you have joined the antismoking throngs to fatten your wallet only to realize too late that your efforts have reaped the sour fruits of unintended consequences and other downfalls, then it's high time that you took stock of yourself. You are worth far more than your paycheck or lawsuit settlement or other source of income. Identify your true self-worth and the things in your life that you truly value. Therein lies the keyword for your recovery: Value. Take value over money a few times and your life will improve immeasurably!