I posted the rhetorical questions that I did as a suggested framework for thinking about this rather abstract image...which is all about how we might project our internalized notions of what a smoker looks like, and what sorts of inferences we might tend to make about someone who we discover is a smoker. "A" perhaps implies "B", just as "B" perhaps implies "A"...
The influence of others only works when we individually accept the ideas that society embraces, and the ideas that society collectively embraces only endure because enough individuals accept them.
"But quite honestly- this idea that only 'bad' or 'rebellious' people smoke is erroneous."
I disagree completely.
But please don't misunderstand me. Just because a person does this one Bad thing - smoking - does not make that individual a Bad person overall. We are ALL "sinners" and "saints" to varying degrees (i.e., human animals), and the implications of these contradictions and this inherent complexity is what makes life interesting. As you point out - especially in this day and age, awareness of the Badness (Taboo) of smoking is utterly inescapable, and I believe that almost without exception, some degree of Rebelliousness is required to want to start smoking, and to do it socially, for the same reason.
"Smokers can come from any demographic and can be any type of person from your straight laced law abiding citizen to the person with questionable morals. I guess this is why my favorite pictures of people smoking are those of people that do not fit the image that society has created of the smoker."
As anyone who has spent any time at this forum must realize, I absolutely believe that an essential part of the attraction to smoking is the notion that doing it is transformative and Identity changing in ways that obviously extend far beyond the simple biomechanics of learning to be able to regularly inhale cigarette smoke. And the meaning of a thing can appear one way in a social context, and can mean a very different thing when considered from a private, internal point of view. Externally, that which appears to be the antithesis of a stereotype might actually be the longing to embrace it internally.
Responses are not allowed!