Demystifying Perception of Immunity to Indulgence in Vices

1 Mon Ago
Demystifying Perception of Immunity to Indulgence in Vices

BY STAFF CONTRIBUTER

The desire for indulgence is a universal human trait that transcends time and cultural boundaries. It weaves a complex tapestry of vices that can be found in every society and era. Whether it is the love for sugary treats or the allure of recreational drugs, these behaviors are often met with a double standard influenced by wealth and age. The perception of wealth plays a significant role in shaping the acceptability of certain vices.

For instance, an affluent man smoking cigar is seen in a different light compared to a teenager experimenting with cigarettes. This contrast arises from various factors. Firstly, wealth provides access to higher-quality and less harmful versions of vices. A hand-rolled, organic cigar is considered a refined indulgence, while a mass-produced cigarette is often stigmatized.

Plus, wealth affords better healthcare, creating a perception of immunity to the consequences of indulgence. People may think, "They can afford the best treatment, so it's their choice."  Wealth often comes with power and influence, leading to a reluctance to openly criticize the choices of those who possess it.

I witnessed a young man, who appeared to be in his late 20s, smoking on the side of the road. As people passed by, they gave him disapproving looks, although it's not uncommon to see young men smoking in public. Interestingly, there was a sign nearby that clearly stated "No smoking within 100 meters of the premises." However, a man in a black SUV pulled up and asked for cigarettes. He purchased a pack of Marlboro lights and immediately lit one up, disregarding the sign's prohibition on smoking. He then proceeded to make a phone call without anyone, including myself, saying a word. It made me ponder how the situation might have unfolded differently if the man had been a mere driver rather than the owner of the car. After finishing most of his first cigarette, the man left. Soon after, another customer approached the shopkeeper and requested two Niyala cigarettes. When the customer asked the shopkeeper to light them for him, the shopkeeper refused, citing that it was not a designated smoking area. The customer explained that he didn't intend to smoke there, he simply wanted the shopkeeper to light the cigarettes. Nevertheless, the shopkeeper still declined. It dawned on me that wealth often becomes an excuse for indulging in vices.

The equation becomes even more complex as age comes into play. Young individuals, often perceived as reckless and inexperienced, tend to face more severe judgment when it comes to potentially harmful behaviors. For instance, a cigarette held by a teenager is often seen as a symbol of rebellion and irresponsibility, whereas the same action performed by an adult might be viewed as a means of relieving stress or a matter of personal preference. This difference in perception arises from societal expectations of maturity and accountability, where teenagers are expected to learn and avoid risks, while adults are assumed to make informed decisions. Moreover, the media often reinforces this bias by portraying rebellious teenagers engaging in unhealthy habits, while portraying mature adults who indulge in vices with moderation and sophistication.

The ever-evolving world of nicotine consumption is now being shaped by the emergence of "alternative" products, such as vaporizers or vapes, which have gained immense popularity among millions, especially young adults. These products offer a fresh and modern design, a wide range of flavors, and aggressive marketing strategies, all promising a cleaner and more enjoyable nicotine experience. Vapes work by heating liquid that contains nicotine and flavorings, producing an inhalable aerosol that lacks the tar and ash found in traditional cigarettes. This perceived reduction in harm has attracted not only curious individuals but also smokers who are searching for a potentially safer option. However, the notion of cleanliness associated with these products is quickly being challenged. Studies have revealed the presence of various potentially harmful chemicals in e-liquids, and the heating process itself can generate harmful byproducts.

Ongoing investigations are still exploring the long-term effects on health, but initial studies indicate potential connections to lung damage, respiratory illnesses, and an increased risk of heart disease. It is not just vaping that carries these risks; heated tobacco devices also pose similar dangers. While health concerns persist, the acceptance of these alternatives in society presents a complex situation. Cigarettes are increasingly stigmatized due to health awareness campaigns and smoking bans, while "alternative" nicotine products often project a trendy and tech-savvy image. Influencers on social media promote them, and their sleek marketing campaigns position them as a lifestyle choice, which sharply contrasts with the negative portrayal of cigarettes. This creates a dissonance between a harmful but ostracized vice and a potentially harmful but socially accepted "innovation." To address this double standard, we must acknowledge that engaging in vices is a nuanced human behavior, unrelated to wealth or age. While wealth and age may influence societal judgments and access to resources, the inherent risks associated with certain substances cannot be denied.

 


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