Appealing Nature of Tobacco Ads and Attempts by Anti-Smoking Campaigns to
Combat These Beliefs
By Laila Ibrahim
The images the tobacco industry places in their ads play to emotions that convince and appeal to anyone, especially teenagers. These ideals are: social acceptance, personal independence, weight control, and status. Smoking can be seen as a sexually alluring act, a sign of rebelliousness, and one of a risk taker. These ads for many years were able to target any and all persons. Television, billboard, magazines, promotional ads all have entered into the promotional mix for the tobacco industry.
Although cigarettes have been advertised more heavily than any other product with the exception of cars, the industry is coming under attack because of it targeting teenagers and sending wrong messages about smoking. In 1998, the Masters Settlement Agreement was signed. According to this agreement, the major cigarette companies including Philip Morris were very restricted in their advertisement options. This has been helpful in decreasing the number of smokers, especially teenagers, but the message that smoking is cool is still quite prevalent.
A new industry, so to speak, has developed to counter the tobacco industry. It is the anti-tobacco campaigns which include stop smoking campaigns, smoke free society, and prevention programs by the tobacco company which are seen as questionable in their aims. Just as the tobacco industry tries to show as much a picture of health as possible by glamorizing activities smokers REALLY could not, but in the advertisements are participating in, these campaigns tell the cold truth. These campaigns have websites, such as gottaquit.com, no-smoke.org, and tobaccofree.org. They run television ads, an arena the cigarette industry cannot touch, as well as having pamphlets and other devices meant to get the message across. Though this industry is growing larger, there still exists smokers and every day new smokers get addicted. This is because the images associated with smoking, being cool, independent are very American and the behavior is to strive for these attributes. There is much work to be done!
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