In the context of Singapore, many smokers are often persecuted and stigmatized. National Environmental Agency, Health Sciences Authority, National Park Board, these agencies go out of their way to make life hell for smokers in Singapore.
1) Smokers often smoke as a social activity
Due to the heavy stigmatization, smokers often band together in groups, when this happens, smoking often becomes a social activity, like a little smokers club house. This sometimes influences people who are non-smokers to smoke, because it makes for more meaningful conversation, better business contacts and such. It is often not as physiological a need as people perceive it to be.
2) Smokers smoke to ‘relief stress’
Well, for many smokers their reason to smoke is pretty simple, why do you smoke? stress! The cigarette offers a friend to lean on in times of trouble, even when the world has deserted you, your cigarette packet still in your pocket and as long as you can find an open flame or a hot filament, you will smoke, to relief that stress.
3) Smoking cessation programmes are lame & ineffective
Smoking cessation programmes up until recently have been offered by many polyclinics with nurses doubling up as para-counselors. Most of these nurses are old and almost obsolete. I would have to give them credit for the number of years that they have under their belt in experience caring for patients. Though, they seem to be very ‘old’ in mindset and they will basically tell you what your parents/teachers are already telling you. Plus the video of the guy turning green while playing basketball really does not help (If any of you have gone for mandatory smoking cessation clinics and seen it)
4) Everyone knows that the pictures on the cigarette packets are exaggerated
The pictures on cigarette packs, where can i start. It is so exaggerated that it looks almost comical. When an individual looks at the packet, no one is going to think, eh! that could be me. Everyone would be Que Sera Sera, whatever will be will be. The more subtle things can sometimes have a larger effect.
5) Not enough emphasis is placed on the right kind of social support
Social support often depicts the parents and friends treating the person as though they were a retard. Well, in a sense that is not wrong, though, most of the time especially in a conservative culture, as some families in Singapore claim to be, people tend to get really riled up about simple things like smoking, and they would kick their child out of the house, beat them, scold them & shame them infront of others. This, my dear friends, does not help smokers to quit smoking, it amplifies the problem.