Thank You for not Smoking: Simulating the Growth of a New Social Norm
Social norms about smoking in company have changed greatly in the last few decades. Forty years ago it was still customary for hosts to offer cigarettes or cigars to their guests, and people smoked freely and companionably. The occasional discomfitted non-smoker would ask to be excused, or at most request that a window be opened. Today, fewer people smoke and many object to others’ smoking in their presence, claiming a legitimate right to clean air. The major reason for this change is that research evidence has associated tobacco smoke with heart disease and lung cancer, both in smokers and in those exposed to smoke, the so-called “passive smokers”. These findings have been well publicized and given official sanction in the reports of the U.S. Surgeon General. Voluntary associations, such as the American Cancer Society, A.S.H., and Non-Smokers’ Rights, have alerted the public to the dangers of smoking and are lobbying for formal legislation to restrict smoking in public places.
KeywordsFormal Norm American Cancer Society Informal Social Control Norm Violation Informal Norm
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