Dr. Haviland’s A Silence That Kills and Florence King’s I’d Rather Smoke than Kiss

Dr. Haviland’s A Silence That Kills and Florence King’s I’d Rather Smoke than Kiss

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Do you smoke? Such a question has been asked to most people at one time or another. The topic of smoking certainly requires a thorough analysis, whether you smoke or not. It’s also an issue which seems to polarize people. In this reading we’ll compare contrasting viewpoints by two different individuals. As I present the arguments, I’ll dissect them to truly understand their inner-workings. Both Dr. Haviland and King touch on many subjects yet seem to ignore others. I think a balance must be struck when it comes to smoking, both through individual rights and a social responsibility.
“I’d Rather Smoke than Kiss.” is Florence King’s very astute retort to anti-smokers. In this writing she advocates for smoking as a simple enjoyable thing to do. To emphasize this she recalls her first smoking experience, which is for the most part very normal and unexciting. However, this inconsequential account is not indicative of the rest of the story. King quickly switches gears as she goes on the attack. In the first section she labels hatred of smokers as a form of misanthropy which she goes on to say is “the most popular form of closet misanthropy in America today” (King 32). This perspective is further augmented by the fact that she considers second-hand smoke an invention; a means for the “Passive Americans” (King 32), to justify prejudice towards smokers.
As she moves into the second section, she begins to document the hostility shown to smokers. Through her own personal interactions or through examples she views in newspaper articles. King really focuses on the subject of public perception, and while some of the examples validate her perspective, others do not. We see this in her response to a Washington Post article, i...

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...r someone to quit. Instead of creating ads with the intent purpose to ostracize smokers, we should instead make ads to inform them.
The smoking issue is very complicated and some of the arguments are beyond the scope of this essay. Still, we can obtain a balanced outlook if we consider the following: the facts of smoking, individual right, societal responsibility, and the stigma of smoking. Haviland and King write essays which contain very important points, but seem to contain a bias which may alienate some people. To truly reach a consensus on the smoking issue, we must be willing to meet each other halfway. We must strike equilibrium between individual right and societal responsibility.

Works Cited

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “I Have a Dream.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Ed. Adam Whitehurst. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014. 687-690. Print.

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