In my past life, I was working as a Nurse in a Vascular ward of a large hospital. The ward was brimming with patients with Peripheral Vascular Disease, (PVD), a disease that often narrows the arteries and results from smoking. Without treatment, healthy tissues usually in the lower extremities are starved of blood and therefore oxygen, and die. The patient experiences tingling, numbness, pain or ulceration.
One patient I attended, let’s call him Mr Malley, required a below-knee amputation, due to occluded arteries and impaired circulation from P.V.D.
On removing Mr Malley’s lower leg in the operating theatre, surgeons found the arterial circulation, (blood supply to his lower leg), was so poor, it barely bled at all. Fearing a surgical wound with such impaired circulation would not easily heal, the surgeons made the decision to perform an above-knee operation at the same time, in order to maximise wound healing and the chances of recovery.
Smoking cigarettes was banned in the ward, (in those days, you could smoke outside in the corridor), and Mr Malley knew the consequences if he smoked. On more than one occasion, I found him smoking in his bed.
Despite the Doctors’ warnings, Mr Malley was dogmatic about continuing to smoke, saying that when he had tried to give up smoking, he had almost ruined his marriage.
Whilst I do not know him personally, I suspected Mr Malley used his matrimonial difficulties, however temporary, as an excuse to continue his nicotine habit.
Blogger Keith muses about how the US Republican Party allows issues such as climate change and gun control, to slip away untouched by policy or pro-activism. This, knowing that dealing with guns and or taking measures to mitigate climate change might be the right thing to do, (because no one in their right mind would not).
Are the big issues too hard for the GOP to deal with? Is sacrificing guns, votes, potential income and wealth too hard when lives are at stake?
Like Mr Malley, the GOP offers excuses to validate their behaviour. Instead of gun restrictions, they see a proliferation of guns, as the solution to mass shootings.
Cognitive Dissonance Driving Human Behaviour
Psychologist Leon Festinger, used the term Cognitive Dissonance to describe how people have an inner need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviours are consistent. Inconsistent or conflicting beliefs lead to disharmony, which people strive to avoid. Cognitive Dissonance can contribute to unhealthy behaviours or poor decisions.
A person who smokes might resolve this dissonance or internal conflict by:
– deciding that they value smoking more than they value health, so the behaviour is “worth it” in terms of risks versus rewards.
– minimising potential drawbacks. “The smoker might convince themselves that the negative health effects have been overstated. They might also assuage their health concerns by believing that they cannot avoid every possible risk out there.
– trying to convince themselves that if they do stop smoking, they will then gain weight, which also presents health risks.https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-cognitive-dissonance-2795012
Mr Malley used explanations, (read: excuses) to reduce his own internal conflict about smoking and allow his to continue his detrimental habit without feeling tormented.
What is the GOP doing?