Deadly vices deemed acceptable by a fickle society
In the game of life, society is the common factor that determines many individuals path. Most attend high school, then college, have a career, and ultimately retire to a vacation home in Florida. In America during the ‘50s, society decided that raising families and doting on husbands was what a women should strive for. There would be no thought of attending college or having a career of their own, only what to make for dinner and how to better apply their makeup.
Today, in 2010, women are still the same species as they have always been. We haven't developed tails or scales, yet the expectations of what women are supposed to be have changed dramatically. In the modern American world more women are attending college than men, and it has hardly become a choice but a necessity, unless you're one of the lucky few who can make their living as a Victoria's Secret model.
The power of the masses allows people to feel that they are a part of something bigger. In different areas of the world, the social norms are incredibly diverse.
Society has the power to determine what is acceptable and what is not. There are the obvious vices that society has determined completely unacceptable such as molesting a child, murder, and theft, but what about the grey area? The vices that the great power, that is society, has deemed acceptable.
There are numerous admissible behaviors in America that are wreaking havoc on individuals everywhere, yet have managed to stay under the radar despite the negative evidence that has been shown against them.
According to the World Heath Organization, "The worldwide death toll from tobacco use is 4 million annually." They also estimate that "there are approximately 1.1 billion regular smokers in the world, which is one-third of the global population aged 15 years and older."
So what is it that makes smoking an acceptable vice? Could it be that the power of nicotine has placed a spell over the greater population? More people are dying from cigarette smoke, whether it be from lung cancer or oral cancer, than from murder on a daily basis. The Institute of Medicine states that "tobacco kills more Americans annually than AIDS, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicides, suicides, car accidents, and fires combined."
Yes, murder involves taking someone else's life, which in turn, most of the time, results in a severe form of punishment such as imprisonment for life. Yet, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, "second-hand smoke kills as many as 62,000 Americans annually from heart disease."
Americans have become addicted to nicotine, and are not willing to part with the substance despite all of the evidence that has proved it is a killing machine.
Alcohol, another not so silent killer, has taken the role of an acceptable vice as well in the modern world. It has come a long way since the prohibition days, and plays its role in parties throughout the country. What was once thought of as a horrible substance, has become a normal way to enjoy yourself, loosen up after a rough day, or gain a little liquid courage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, 52 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are current regular drinkers. There are approximately 14,406 alcoholic liver disease deaths per year, and 23,199 alcoholic induced deaths excluding accidents and homicides. Alcoholism has also been accepted as a disease, and the number of rehab facilities seems to be growing at a steady rate.
The common denominator is addiction. Americans have become so addicted that they are not willing to part with the things that make them happy. Rather, we focus on the positive aspects and the silver lining.
Cigarettes can help keep you skinny, and calm you down in times of trouble. Alcohol can give you that extra boost you need to talk to the cutie in the corner, or turn a shy person into the life of the party.
While alcohol, and cigarettes can yield the same result, in the long-term, as murder does in an instant, the road to getting there is very different. It seems society prefers to look at the positive, and not focus on the deaths that are occurring as a result of our partying ways. But in the end, who doesn't want to look on the brighter side of life?