How stigmatization may be of use in some situations: Exploring the silver lining.

Truly, it is going to look so unusual but stigmatization in some situations may do well than harm. Robert Kagan and Jerome (1993) cited that the segregation of smokers portrayed a great message that, in effect, discouraged people from taking on the habit. It is not a surprise that the public health approach in the 90s included tough restrictions and marking of public smoking as unwanted behavior. What happened? Some fell into more depression of being marked as unwanted and others had to quit.
So many researchers have, however, on the hand showed that stigmatization and sidelining of people with behaviors commonly seen as unacceptable may do more harm than good. While this is true, i do not think it entirely makes sense for even when a behavior is termed as harmful in scientific books and those advocating for health. In the case the behavior is harmful to the practitioners themselves and others, what kind of eyes do you expect us to use while looking at people of such behaviors? Of course, segregating eyes.

Considering the above scenario, some stigmatization maybe helpful though may not be formally legalized or get supported by policy. This is because policy recognized stigma may be too much. Actually, Bayer (2008) writes, "It is precisely because policy-induced stigma imposes burdens that those responsible for public health bear a special responsibility to provide case-appropriate assistance that may enhance the prospect of behavioral change". However, by marking some behaviors as harmful and not good for people implicitly advocates for stigmatization.

Way forward:

While stigmatization is bad in almost all situations, we cannot pretend that, directly or indirectly, it is not responsible for positive changes among the many unacceptable behaviors in the community. Yeah, i agree with the government and public health law on the issue of not enforcing stigmatization as a tool because it would shoot out of hand and do harm than good, but a little regulated sidelining of people with harmful behaviors is really welcome.

No, look into Bayer’s conclusion: there may be circumstances when public health efforts that unavoidably or even intentionally stigmatize are morally defensible. Whether it would be wise to do so in a particular case should be a matter of debate, one that should be framed by evidence and the utilitarian ethics that underpin the mission of public health.


Stigmatization, segregation, sidelining or some kind of bad remarking about certain behaviors that are harmful to one's health and that of the public is really welcome. Also, it can create havoc if stigmatization is recognized as a helpful tool in public health interventions; people must practice it ‘illegally’ so it remains under control.

The question that remains is one: Which behaviors are wrong or harmful so they can be discriminated? And on what basis should we judge that behavior A or B is unacceptable? And what level of stigmatization or sidelining is not harmful? Maybe these are some of the haunting questions that make us avoid stigmatization altogether.

The Complete You Ministry,


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Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at (The Complete You Ministry).

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