Tobacco or health in post-modern society – a sociological look at current and future challenges
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Cancer Center and Institute, Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Warsaw, Poland
Collegium Civitas, Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2017-05-08
Acceptance date: 2017-05-08
Publication date: 2017-05-25
Corresponding author
Krzysztof Przewoźniak   

Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Center and Institute, Warsaw, Poland, Makolagwy 24, 02-811 Warsaw, Poland
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2017;3(May Supplement):66
Many sociologists claim that highly developed societies have entered in the past decades into the new phase of social development – post, late or fluid modernity that substantially has changed the functioning human being, social groups and social institutions. The aim was to analyse whether social, political and cultural changes in post-modern society may influence on attitudes toward health, tobacco use and control. Key features of the late modernity include: 1/ trust to complex, abstract and often recondite technical and organizational systems, 2/ new dimensions of risk connected to changes of civilization and informative revolution, 3/ lack of transparency, uncertainty and increasing chaos in social life, and 4/ fast economic, political and cultural globalization. These categories are used to discover new attitudes toward health and challenges in tobacco control. In the post-modern society, the relationship to health and health-related phenomena, including tobacco use and control, is based in large extent on indirect communication with health care system or even on institutions which do not represent the health sector. Such communication is often assured by non-transparent, highly complex information technologies that require high competences to be effectively used. In fact, modernity excludes and marginalises particular groups of people, including poor and low-educated smokers who have limited access to these technologies and systems. Life in multi-dimensional risk conditions requires from individual self-reflexivity and self-efficacy and strengthens feeling of uncertainty that may have an influence on risky behaviours such as tobacco and drug use or alcohol drinking. Increasing consumerism and high social mobility, typical consequences of globalization, result now more from emotional than material needs, strengthen the feeling of loss and uncertainty, and causes that personal identity has become less firm and more fragmented. In conclusion, effective tobacco control strategy has to take into consideration social phenomena and processes which are observed in the changing post-modern society.
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