Tuesday, October 01, 2013
UK: Smokers are losers
People who are unemployed are almost twice as likely to smoke as those in work, new figures reveal. Research also shows people in their early 20s, those who co-habit with a partner and workers in low paid manual jobs are most likely to smoke.
The Office for National Statistics data reveals overall smoking levels have remained unchanged since 2007, when the ban on smoking in public places came into force.
Almost four in ten (39 per cent) of people not in a job but seeking work smoked compared to 21 per cent of those in a job, and 17 per cent among the economically inactive such as pensioners and students.
More than half (54 per cent) of unemployed 25 to 34 year olds smoked compared to just 25 per cent of those in work.
Among over-60s, being in work made no difference to smoking rates, standing at 17 per cent for both groups.
Maura Gillespie, from the British Heart Foundation, said: 'Here we have yet more clear evidence of the troubling link between employment status and smoking rates and it doesn’t make great reading.
'Smoking is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and there’s an urgent need for increased and sustained funding for targeted cessation services in areas with high numbers of smokers.'
Smoking rates were also highest among people in routine and manual occupations, such as bar staff and delivery drivers (33 per cent), the ONS said.
By comparison it was lowest in managerial and professional occupations, such as accounting and teaching (14 per cent).
Based on marital status, smoking was highest among co-habiting couples, where 33 per cent said they were currently a smoker and 22 per cent were ex-smokers. For married people just 14 per cent were smokers and single people 27 per cent.
The ONS said: ‘One in five adults aged 16+ in Great Britain were cigarette smokers in 2012. ‘The rate of smoking in Great Britain has remained largely unchanged over the last five years.
‘From 2008 to 2012 the rate remained largely unchanged, whereas the most significant change occurred between 1974 and 2007, when the rate fell from 45 per cent to 21 per cent.’
Printed warnings about the dangers of smoking first appeared on packets in 2008 and tobacco displays were banned in big stores in Wales last year.
The ONS said: ‘Today it’s easier to find support to quit smoking, and it’s harder to avoid the message that smoking is a major health risk with increasingly graphic health warnings on tobacco products.
‘The smoking ban has created environments that make it easier to avoid smoking and make smoking less of social norm.
‘However, despite a range of recent policy initiatives, the rate of smoking has remained largely unchanged since 2007. What is unknown is what the rate of smoking would have been over the past five years in the absence of such policies.’
David Cameron has faced criticism or shelving plans to force cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging. Campaigners argue it would prevent young people from taking up smoking.
Health minister Anna Soubry has admitted 'gorgeous’ cigarette packets persuaded her to take up smoking as a ‘symbol of glamour'.
The figures show 15 per cent of 16-19 year olds were smokers last year, more than half the 31 per cent seen in 1998. However the proportion of people smoking aged 25-34 rose, from 23 to 27 per cent reversing falls seen since 2008.
Most pregnant women give up smoking during pregnancy, but seven per cent of women do not kick the habit.
However the ONS said this figure could be an underestimate because ‘some women may be less likely to admit to smoking given the health risks attached’.
Is Masculine Behavior in Boys Being Misdiagnosed as Autistic?
The article raises a rather interesting question. We’ve talked before about an educational system biased against boys. What if the spike in autism diagnoses is really that same discomfort with masculine behavior?
I’ve seen boys being routinely misdiagnosed as ADD and medicated for it just for being well… boys. But as problematic as randomly tossing Ritalin at inquisitive boys is… this is even more serious.
"Even more basic than that, if we don’t have a firm grasp of gender differences in how young children communicate and socialize, we can mistake traditional masculine behavior for high-functioning autism.
Many boys just get perplexed when you try to empathize with them. As an example, I recently had the following interaction with Alan, an eight-year-old:
Alan: In my soccer game over the weekend, the other forwards on my team never passed to me. I was so mad.
Dr. Gnaulati: You were mad because your teammates didn’t pass to you, eh.
Alan: Why are you repeating what I just said? Didn’t you hear me?"
The issue here isn’t communications. It’s an incompatible style of communications. And we’re seeing more and more of this in educational environments where the paradigm is shifting away from logical thinking and toward ostentatious shows of empathy.
"It’s this public discomfort with discussing children’s gendered behavior that gets many traditionally masculine boys inappropriately labeled as high-functioning autistic. Poor eye contact, long-winded monologues about one’s new favorite topic, being overly serious and businesslike, appearing uninterested in other’s facial expressions, and restricting friendships to those who share one’s interests, may all be signs of Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism. However, these same traits typify boys who are traditionally masculine in their behavior.
Parents somehow have to ask the uncomfortable question in the doctor’s office: Is he high-functioning autistic or really a more masculine-identified boy? If it’s the latter, what a boy may need is some combination of acceptance and personal and professional help to finesse his social skills over time—not an incorrect diagnosis and unnecessary medical treatment."
But in our Brave New World, we may be just medicating masculinity.
"In our extroverted culture, where being a “team player” and a “people person” are seen as linchpins of normalcy, the notion that a brainy, introverted boy might legitimately prefer the world of ideas over the world of people is hard for most people to accept."
We’re developing a hive culture with a premium on conformity, on constantly ‘checking in’ and receiving the pings that say everyone is on the same page.
But the other thing that isn’t discussed is the erosion of parenting skills in the elite liberal set. We have a combination of liberal parents incapable of discipline medicating their boys and diagnosing them with mental illnesses because they can’t relate to them.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:14 AM