The next time you’ve got a few moments (this won’t take a second) climb into your time machine, transport yourself back to 1954, and observe the people there who are smoking cigarettes. You’ll see that almost all men are smoking, and they smoke in any place, at any time. You’ll see that they smoke in railway stations and in trains in any carriage. They smoke at work and in shops, and if you slip into a doctors’ surgery (you’re invisible by the way) you’ll see doctors smoking in their offices as they consult patients. You might hear a doctor recommend to an anxious or stressed patient that they take up smoking.
You’ll see that cigarettes are frequently offered, with one sticking out of a pack and held out in a group of friends as a small gift. You might visit a family home and see them wrapping a carton of cigarettes as a birthday present for someone. The living room is filled with smoke because both the father and grandfather are there smoking. A child walks into the room and pretends to choke on the fog in the room, and everyone laughs because it’s the kind of silly thing that children do.
None of the smokers think they are addicted, for many reasons. It’s not widely recognised that nicotine is addictive; most smokers have never tried to quit; most smokers are unaware of any health implications; and smoking is generally regarded as a normal thing to be doing.
Any addictive behaviour such as smoking will be surrounded by some degree of denial and lack of awareness. What we see here is that this happens not only on an individual level, but also on a cultural level. By time-travelling back 60 years, we can see very clearly with our 21st century eyes the way tobacco is regarded in that culture.
I’m wondering if it could be of help to bring a similar awareness to your present day relationship with food – especially sugar and wheat – and especially to know that most people around you may not share this awareness. Most of us have this awareness now with tobacco, which is why I suggested the time-travel, but taking our culture as a whole, we don’t yet have it with food, especially the starchy carbohydrates.