Smoking Stigma: What to do when people judge your smoking habit?

6 minute read 

We have all felt that feeling of when a family member or coworker seems to judge us every time we finish a Raw cone. The tight ass who gets frustrated that you are taking a smoke break or assumes you are going to be useless after getting high. This isn't new... People negatively stereotype and judge those who smoke tobacco and weed. We here at The Green Blazer want to take a deeper look at the roots of the smoking stigma and how we can try to combat the haters.  


History of the Absurd Narratives

It all started back in the 60s when smoking products had to include an anti-smoke disclaimer in all their ads, the smoking smear campaign began with hopes of helping with“public health.”

Do you remember those fucking ridiculous commercials where the smoker had to talk through electronic vocal cords? Or the one where Rachel Leigh Cook says “This is your brain on drugs” and then smashes an egg with a frying pan? Or Richard Nixon's attempts to thwart the war on drugs using videos like this one?  🤣


What fear mongering bullshit! Instead of educating everyone to make their own decision, they framed smoking marijuana and tobacco as dangerous and unappealing even though so many other products in our lives are dangerous, and yet we still use them. Some of the many stereotypes created from these ads were that smokers are “uncleanly”, “unhealthy”, “smelly”, or they “have no self control”.

Like Pete Davidson said, we think he should be the one in all of the ads just getting high off his ass and sitting on the couch. That is more realistic! Especially if you smoke marijuana, you don’t need an ad to tell you what happens when you are on high AF. We all know what it looks like when we get too high. Looks like.. laying on the couch not wanting to move and falling asleep?


Although these ads may have gotten some people to avoid smoking cigarettes, they did not help those who wanted to continue to smoke. Instead, they caused people who smoke safely to be treated differently and to think negatively about themselves. Studies showed that a potential outcome of the smoking stigma leads to lowered self-esteem and self-efficacy (1). This means that someone who smokes thinks they are less capable and valuable. Have you ever felt this way?

We hope not and we want you to know that you are just as valuable and capable as others regardless of your smoking status. 

Another example of this was a recent study showing that people who smoke were assumed to have negative physical characteristics such as uncleanliness or odor (5). Other smokers reported self-stigma and felt a “heavy” weight (shame) after seeing negative ads (4). The stigma made these smokers feel worse about themselves and their smoking habits, and did not motivate them to quit. 

Not only that, but it also affects your job prospects. Employers are more likely to see applicants as less qualified individuals if they smoke or vape (6). Wages after employment are another concern for smokers. It was found that people who smoke are paid 4-8% less than those who do not smoke (2). WTF! This one shocked us here at The Green Blazer. Your personal decision should not affect your job prospects or how much money you make. That is ridiculous. 


Finally, cannabis and the stereotypical ganga smoker in the movies make people think foolish things. They think we are like “Fuck I am so high man” 


We ganja smokers know that this is clearly not true. Most of the time we are just relaxing on the couch after a long day's work, getting a little euphoric, and watching a Netflix special. 


Here is what you can do: 


 We here at The Green Blazer think Nick Nayler said it best from “Thank you for smoking” in this scene HERE. Of course, we know that smoking may be harmful, but we are exercising our freedom to smoke regardless. Same for our choice to eat fast food or work a desk job and to not work out. We are allowed to make our own choices in America because we can be trusted with the risk! Although society may view smokers differently, we all should be free to try it and live our lives smoking that good shit if we want to. 

So if you are among the 150 million people who smoke weed or tobacco worldwide, we want to help you combat the stigma. Here’s how: 


First, unless it is illegal to smoke in your state, don’t hide the fact that you smoke from your loved ones.

 The more others realize that you do it, the more comfortable they will feel with other smokers in the future. You are shifting the norm from “no smoke is ever okay” to “Well Jim is cool and smart, and I didn’t even know he smoked, maybe it isn’t so bad”....Thanks Jim! Your friends and family might even realize that being high is not like it is in the movies. We tokers know that you can get a buzz and function at a party without being all squinty eyed and laughing your ass off, but others might not know that. 


Second, try to smoke in an open location and have a change of clothes before going to work.

Nose blindness is real (3). You may think you don’t smell like tobacco or weed, but you likely do if you were recently smoking or are wearing clothes you smoked in. If you know employers/employees may think less of you, try to avoid smelling like smoke in the workplace. This one sucks, I know. We shouldn’t have to modify our lives to do what we want with our free time, but for now, it is the only way to ensure that your work mates don’t treat us differently. We also want you to get paid that extra 8 percent! 


Third, vote for legislation that supports the cause of legalizing and decriminalizing weed.

We know that in states that have legalized marijuana, that cannabis use has spiked, and legislators are actively discussing job testing requirements. The more conversations we have openly about marijuana being okay, the more people will view it as a regular part of our daily lives. Be sure to watch your state and federal elections and get out there and vote for officials that support your stances. 


Fourth, be a responsible smoker. 

Smoke in an area away from others, whether in your backyard or in a smoking zone outside. Although we may want to normalize smoking, secondhand smoke is unhealthy. There is no filter for secondhand smokers and others may not want to breathe smoke or smell like smoke. As you want to be respected regardless of your smoking status, others wish their space to be respected as well. Also, throw away your filter/excess paper in the trash. Like the previous study showed, just because you are a smoker doesn’t mean that you are an uncleanly. Challenge the haters by proving that we are clean, respectable people. 


And once you have decided to exercise your freedom over your down time, check out our RAW pre-rolled cones at The Green Blazer . If you are worried about stigma and want a quick smoke, check out our Mini Dogwalker. They are the smallest cones we have to enjoy while walking your dog, or sitting back and relaxing.

 

References:

  1. Evans-Polce, Castaldelli-Maia, J. M., Schomerus, G., & Evans-Lacko, S. E. (2015). The downside of tobacco control? Smoking and self-stigma: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 145, 26–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.026
  2. Levine, P. B., Gustafson, T. A., & Velenchik, A. D. (1997). More Bad News for Smokers? The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Wages. ILR Review, 50(3), 493–509. https://doi.org/10.1177/001979399705000307

You may also be interested in: