Should Tobacco Advertising Be Restricted Essay

This essay has a total of 2107 words and 10 pages.

Should Tobacco Advertising Be Restricted

Should tobacco advertising be restricted? This is a very controversial issue. There is the
idea that young children that smoke started smoking because of advertisements, but there
is also the idea that children start smoking for other reasons. Many big, well-known
tobacco companies like RJ Reynolds are being sued for their advertisements. On Monday
April 20th, 1998 the jury heard a testimony from Lynn Beasly, the marketing vice president
of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. The courts believed that the advertisement was
directed towards children under the age of 18, due to a document from the RJ Reynolds
Board of Directors showing that they set a goal to increase the company's market share
among 14 to 24 year olds. Lynn Beasly claimed that she didn't know if an ad directed
toward an 18-year-old would also attract children under the age of 18. She also stated
that the "Joe Camel" campaign was not intended to target children. Tobacco companies say
that youth smokers are not especially valuable to the companies. So all these lawsuits are
useless. What makes no sense is that the government makes more money per pack of
cigarettes than any other cigarette company, and they're the ones suing and bringing up
these statistics and issues.

In this case in particular a cartoon character was used to sell cigarettes to adults. Many
tobacco companies use objects that would attract children, like actors and actresses and
scenes in their favorite movies. Tobacco advertisers also make tobacco use seem sexy, fun,
glamorous, macho and most insidiously healthful. Directors of movies put tobacco scenes in
movies with some of children's favorite actors like Will Smith, Robin Williams, Tom
Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, and even the famous cartoon character, Roger Rabbit. Some
movies that these actors are in have had large youth box office takes, like; "A Time to
Kill", "Independence Day", "Birdcage", "Mission Impossible" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
The actors in these movies are some children's role models.

There are a lot of surprising statistics that make the government and the people sue big
tobacco advertisers. Like the fact that tobacco is the only legal product that causes
death and disability when used as intended. Cigarettes kill more than 400,000 Americans
every year, that's more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and
fires combined. Several studies have found nicotine to be addictive in ways similar to
those of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Smokers have almost twice the risk of having
coronary heart disease as nonsmokers. Smokers' risk of getting lung cancer is
approximately 14 times than that of nonsmokers. It has taken many years for tobacco
products deadly effects to be scientifically documented. Tobacco companies spend
approximately $14 million a day on advertising. Students who own cigarette promotional
items are more than four times more likely to begin smoking, compared to those who do not
own these items. Eighty-six percent of people between 12 and 17-years old who smoke prefer
the three most heavily advertised brands. Only about one-third of adult smokers choose
these brands. Almost ninety percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18. A recent
study showed that thirty-four percent of teens began smoking as a result of the tobacco
company's promotional activities. Tobacco companies loose 3,000-5,000 customers each day,
more than 1,000 die from using tobacco as intended, the rest die of other causes. The
tobacco industry targets 1.63 million new smokers a year to compensate for those that quit
or die. The average age of new smokers in the United States right now is 12. Since the
1980s, big tobacco companies have supported a number of efforts to reduce youth access to
cigarettes at retail. Thirty percent of teens that smoke say that they were able to obtain
cigarettes from retail stores. Thirty-two percent of kids who smoke say they borrow
cigarettes from people. Another twenty-three percent of kids get their cigarettes by
having an old enough person buy it for them. Philip Morris Tobacco Company supports the
state legislative efforts that would provide tougher penalties for retailers who violate
the minimum-age sales laws; they would also restrict vending machine location. They would
also have penalties for adults who purchase tobacco products for minors and penalties for
minors who purchase, posses, or use tobacco products.

Big tobacco companies have also tried to reduce youth access to tobacco in homes and in
communities. They have launched a print advertising campaign that is running in magazines
nationwide to remind parents and other adults to keep their cigarettes away from kids.
They are also developing an awareness campaign to remind adults that they should not be
buying cigarettes for kids. RJ Reynolds and many other big tobacco companies have the idea
of adult choice. They say that although it is appropriate for governments and health
authorities to encourage people to avoid risky behaviors, they do not believe that they
should prohibit adults from choosing to smoke. The decision as to whether or not to smoke
should be left to the individual adult.

Two solutions to this problem are to restrict the advertisements to things only adults are
going to see and to create new advertisements against the use of tobacco by teens.

A good solution to reduce the bad effects that tobacco advertising has on children would
be to restrict all tobacco ads from anything a child might be able to get their hands on.
It is a known fact that some children watch the same television as adults, the same is
true for some of the magazines they read. To restrict all the television commercials that
show healthy, beautiful people enjoying tobacco products would make a major difference in
the visual influence that tobacco advertisers have on the younger population. To make
commercials demoting the use of the tobacco and making children aware of the bad,
long-term effects would be a very positive visual influence on children contemplating
smoking. Children are very easily influenced, especially through television and magazine
advertisement, so if they were to have advertisements demoting tobacco use then they might
actually see the truth about the danger of tobacco. The visual advertisement is a much
more effective method of getting a point across. Television has restricted the
commercials, but the movie industry still promotes tobacco use in today's movies. If a
child sees their favorite action hero smoking they think its cool. They will do anything
to be like them, especially today's cartoon characters. If a child reads in a magazine
that his favorite wrestler smokes, that would be a major influence on him. Once again
proving the visual is more powerful than the spoken word.

The advantages of this solution would be that now the thirty-four percent of teens who
began smoking because of the advertisements they saw will now not smoke due to the lack of
advertisements. This will not eliminate the problem, but it will definitely decrease the
amount of new underage smokers. This shouldn't bother the tobacco companies because they
claim that they do not direct their advertisements towards children anyway, so they would
not lose any popularity or money. A lot of magazines and movie directors would be willing
to eliminate the use of tobacco and tobacco ads, but then again, a lot would not.

The problem with this solution is to get the companies to eliminate the use of tobacco ads
and use. The tobacco companies pay the magazines to put their ads in their magazines, a
lot of money. Some magazine companies might not think that tobacco ads are that bad or the
tobacco companies money might be their main contribution, so they will not give up the
ads. And since the government can not do anything about the magazine ads, it's totally up
to the companies. In some movies, a cigarette is believed to complete a character. It
gives them a certain personality and style, so the movie directors might not want to give
that up because it could be a very important part in the characters personality. Another
bad part of this solution is figuring out what magazines to restrict the ads from.
Children can get their hands on a lot of things, obviously if some smoke, so it would be
hard to choose what magazine to focus on.

Another solution to this problem would to be to reinforce the bad effects of tobacco use
using commercials, billboards, magazine articles, and newspaper articles. If children were
constantly reminded of the bad effects of tobacco use, then they would get the picture. If
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