Substance Abuse Fight: Dinosaurs, Airplanes, and the Vestigial Ashtray

by The Discovering Alcoholic on June 4, 2009

original pic by Dan4th under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

It kind of scares me to think what it means about the age of the plane I am on, but I still see the vestigial ashtray every once in a while during my travels. It’s hard to believe that in a single generation smoking that was once accepted everywhere has been virtually banished from the public arena. Like dinosaurs seeking refuge in the last habitable havens after an extinction event, smokers are now relegated to crowded smoking enclosures and back door alleys.

Smoking has been on the decline and continues to fall according to a new report on substance abuse and mental health. Much of the progress can be attributed to the shift in how smoking is often perceived as a social stigma and always a health risk; even smoking on film is now scorned. With children growing up in smoke free environments this trend will most surely continue…if we are lucky the habit could be near extinct in another generation. This long term approach and steady assault on not just the act, but public perception and its societal acceptance is one of the biggest lessons we can learn when searching for ways to battle our substance abuse problem that has shown no signs of abating.

But as I pass the crowded airport bar, have liquor miniatures passed over my seat by the flight attendant, and listen to the ubiquitous snoring drunk that cranks up louder than the jet engines- I know the battle has yet to even take off.

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