- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Rights & Permissions
- Community & Environment
- Visit Bookshop
- Career Opportunities
- Contact Us
No smoke without fire?
With any mention of the name ‘Frank Gallagher’ in a tabloid newspaper, there is a strong chance that one or more of the descriptions ‘drunken’, ‘feckless’, ‘slob’ or ‘scrounger’ won’t be far away – along with a photo of the ‘Shameless’ TV character leering at the camera, a tower of ash teetering on the end of his ever-present cigarette.
Gallagher – lynchpin of the popular Channel 4 TV series – has long been the UK’s poster boy for socially unacceptable behaviour and neatly illustrates a connection between smoking and antisocial behaviour that is reinforced by UK tobacco control policies, according to an article in the current issue of the Journal of Social Policy.
‘Smoking, Stigma and Social Class’ by Hilary Graham of the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, warns that whilst public health policies have played a central role in protecting health by increasing public awareness of the risks of smoking, they have done this by increasing the social unacceptability of smoking and, by extension, smokers themselves. In 1950s Britain, smoking was considered an aspirational activity and was popular among men and women across all income groups. Since then attitudes have changed, with smoking rates having fallen fastest among higher income groups. Today, smoking is predominantly a habit of poorer groups.
Graham explained: “It is generally accepted that tobacco control policies can use stigma if they achieve their objective of protecting people’s health. But there is evidence that these policies have also served to intensify public vilification of disadvantaged groups where smoking rates tend to be highest. Research suggests that smoking has become shorthand for class-related disadvantage - in Australia the public and the media associate smoking with unemployment, low economic status and low educational achievement; whilst a Canadian study suggested that smokers and non-smokers alike saw smokers as ‘dirty’, ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘weak-willed’. It’s not hard to see why Frank Gallagher’s cigarette is such a potent symbol.”
“More thought must be given to the consequences of raising the level of stigma attached to smoking – conveying the message that smokers are outsiders who threaten public health will do little to reduce class prejudice and promote social cohesiveness.”
‘Smoking, Stigma and Social Class’ appears in the Journal of Social Policy, Volume. 41 Issue 1 (January 2011). To read the article free of charge visit http://journals.cambridge.org/Graham. Journal of Social Policy is published quarterly by Cambridge University Press for the Social Policy Association.
Notes to Editors:
For general queries contact Chris Blunkell, Social Policy Association (t: 07941 831341, e:email@example.com)
About Journal of Social Policy
Journal of Social Policy is an international academic journal sponsored by the UK Social Policy Association and published by Cambridge University Press. The journal carries high quality articles on all aspects of social policy in an international context. It places particular emphasis upon articles which seek to contribute to debates on the future direction of social policy, to present new empirical data, to advance theories, or to analyse issues in the making and implementation of social policies.
For more information visit http://journals.cambridge.org/josp
About The Social Policy Association
The Social Policy Association is open for membership to academics and practitioners working in social policy, and to others with an interest in UK and international social policy. Individual members receive Social Policy and Society and the Journal of Social Policy free of charge.
For more information visit www.social-policy.org.uk
About Cambridge Journals
Cambridge University Press publishes over 300 peer-reviewed academic journals across a wide spread of subject areas, in print and online. Many of these journals are the leading academic publications in their fields and together they form one of the most valuable and comprehensive bodies of research available today.
For further information about Cambridge Journals, go to http://www.journals.cambridge.org
About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research.
Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 45,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing.
Playing a leading role in today’s international market place, Cambridge University Press has more than 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world.