Atheism and smoking

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Paris street photo of a man smoking.

In 2015, according to survey data, 29% of France's population identified as atheists and 63% identified as non-religious.[1]

Tourists visiting France often cite smoking as the first culture shock they experience.[2] A survey by travel website Tripadvisor reported that users found that France was by far the "smokiest" country in the world.[3]

During the French Revolution, smoke filled Paris cafés turned into centers of lively political discussion and activity, often led by members of the Revolutionary clubs.[4][5] See also: French Revolution and atheism

Smoking is a causal factor for various cancers such as lung cancer and cancers of the esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.[6][7][8] See also: Atheism and cancer

The abstract of the 2012 International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine journal article entitled Religion and smoking: a review of recent literature indicates:

Tobacco smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are a major threat to human health worldwide. The effort to prevent tobacco use should be regarded as an important public health strategy. Given the significance of religion and spirituality in the daily life of more than 90% of the world's population, the relationship of religion and smoking should be seen as a critical research area. Religions are many and varied, but most value human well-being highly and so do not approve of tobacco use, even though they do not prohibit it entirely. In recent years, researchers have shown more interest in the subject of religion and health, including drug and tobacco use. Differences of focus and methodology notwithstanding, most studies have ascertained a deterrent role for religion as regards tobacco use, and several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the negative relationship between religion or spirituality and smoking.[9]

The 2017 journal article Smoking and Religion: Untangling Associations Using English Survey Data published in the Journal of Religion and Health indicates: "Highest levels of smoking characterise people not professing any religion... An association between smoking and the absence of a religious affiliation is sustained. An understanding of the association between smoking and religion is essential to the development of tobacco control programmes."[10]

According to Science Daily: "Young Swiss men who say that they believe in God are less likely to smoke cigarettes or pot or take ecstasy pills than Swiss men of the same age group who describe themselves as atheists. Belief is a protective factor against addictive behaviour. This is the conclusion reached by a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation."[11]

In 2015, according to survey data, 29% of France's population identified as atheists and 63% identified as non-religious.[1] Tourists visiting France often cite smoking as the first culture shock they experience.[12] A survey by travel website Tripadvisor reported that users found that France was by far the "smokiest" country in the world.[13] In 2006, France banned smoking in public places.[14] Cigarette butts left by renovation workers are considered one of the potential causes of the Notre-Dame de Paris fire.[15]

United States, smoking, religion and nonreligious/irreligious individuals

George Melly was an atheist.

In an article entitled George Melly's battle with cancer and dementia, the Daily Mail reported that Melly "smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day since his teens."[16]

The Gallup organization, based on 353,571 interviews conducted throughout 2012 with American adults aged 18 and older as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, states: "Smoking in the U.S. is highly correlated with religiosity, with those who never attend church almost three times as likely to smoke as those who attend weekly. This relationship holds even when controlling for demographic characteristics associated with smoking and church attendance."[17]

East Germany, smoking, religion and nonreligious/irreligious people

In 2019, the abstract for the journal article Thou Shalt not Smoke”: Religion and smoking in a natural experiment of history by Luca Nunziatab and Veronica Toffoluttia, published in the journal SSM - Population Health indicated:

We provide a new identification strategy to analyse the implications of religious affiliation on unhealthful behaviour by focusing on the link between religiousness and smoking. Our quasi-experimental research design exploits the exogenous dramatic fall in religious affiliation that took place in East Germany after the post-war separation. Our conditional difference-in-differences estimates on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the period 1998–2006 indicate that individuals who are not affiliated to any religious denomination are consistently 13–19 percentage points more likely to smoke than are religious individuals. We interpret our results on the basis of a restraining effect of religious ethics on unhealthy behaviour, confirming the view that religion is a far-reaching vehicle for the enforcement of social norms.[18]

Irreligion/nonreligion/religion and smoking: Journal articles

Association between irreligion and waterpipe tobacco smoking

North Korea's leader Kim Il-sung depicted smoking.

North Korea practices state atheism and belief in God is actively discouraged.[19]

Atheism, smoking and penile cancer

See also: Atheism and penile cancer

Smoking is a risk factor for penile cancer.[20] See: Atheism and penile cancer

The New Atheist Christoper Hitchens and chain smoking

See also: Atheism and cancer and Prominent atheists who had cancer and Atheism and health

The New Atheist Christopher Hitchens at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort, in Santa Barbara.

Hitchens was known for having a history of heavy drinking and chain-smoking.[21][22]

The New Atheist Christopher Hitchens was known for having a history of heavy drinking and chain-smoking.[23][22] Christopher Hitchens was being treated for esophageal cancer which was likely caused by drinking and smoking up until his death on December 15, 2011.[24][25] Despite his esophageal cancer, when asked by interviewer Charlie Rose if in retrospect he would have engaged in heavy drinking and smoking knowing his present cancer condition, Hitchens said he think he would have done things the same.[22] Hitchens also had problems with being overweight during his life (see: Atheism and obesity and New Atheism leadership's problem with excess weight).[26] According to the National Cancer Institute, "obesity is associated with increased risks of cancers of the esophagus."[27]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 La carte de l’athéisme dans le monde : la France numéro 4, L'Obs, 2015
  2. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  3. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  4. Fierro, Alfred (1996). Histoire et dictionnaire de Paris. Robert Laffont. p. 743. ISBN 2-221-07862-4.
  5. French revolution in cafe society
  6. Smoking cessation fact sheet, National Cancer Institute
  7. [https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/cancer.html CDCTips From Former Smokers ®Diseases/Conditions Featured in the Campaign Smoking and Cancer], Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
  8. How smoking causes cancer, Cancer Research, UK
  9. [Religion and smoking: a review of recent literature.] by Garrusi B1, Nakhaee N., International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine , 2012;43(3):279-92.
  10. *Smoking and Religion: Untangling Associations Using English Survey Data, J Relig Health. 2017
  11. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung [Swiss National Science Foundation] (October 3, 2013). "Believers consume fewer drugs than atheists". Science Daily website/Science News. Retrieved on May 23, 2015.
  12. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  13. The French and smoking: Is France really 'Europe's chimney'
  14. What You Need to Know About Smoking in France
  15. How Notre-Dame Was Saved: 5 Things We Know (en-US) (2019-07-17).
  16. George Melly's battle with cancer and dementia
  17. In U.S., Strong Link Between Church Attendance, Smoking, Gallup organization, 2013
  18. “Thou Shalt not Smoke”: Religion and smoking in a natural experiment of history by Luca Nunziatab and Veronica Toffoluttia, published in the journal SSM - Population Health, 2019
  19. Elizabeth Raum. North Korea. Series: Countries Around the World. Heinemann, 2012. ISBN 1432961330. p. 28: «North Korea is an atheist state. This means that people do not pray in public or attend places of worship. Buddhist temples exist from earlier times. They are now preserved as historic buildings, but they are not used for worship. A few Christian churches exist, but few people attend services. North Koreans do not celebrate religious holidays.»
  20. Risk Factors for Penile Cancer
  21. http://www.counterpunch.org/mccarthy02212003.html
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Christopher Hitchens: Despite Cancer, I'd Drink & Smoke Again
  23. http://www.counterpunch.org/mccarthy02212003.html
  24. http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/07/video-extended-interview-hitchens-on-cancer-and-atheism/
  25. Why did Hitchens continue to smoke & drink during treatment? -CTV News
  26. Picture of an overweight Christopher Hitchens smoking a cigarette
  27. National Institute of Health - Obesity and Cancer Risk