The Need For Tougher Laws Against

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The Need For Tougher Laws Against The Tobacc Essay, Research Paper WE NEED FOR TOUGHER LAWS AGAINST THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY Tobacco Advertising Makes Young People Their Chief Target Every day 3,000 children start smoking, most them between the ages of 10 and 18. These kids account for 90 percent of all new smokers. In fact, 90 percent of all adult smokers said that they first lit up as teenagers (Roberts,3). Of the one million US teens that become hooked on cigarettes each year, one-third or more will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses. If current trends continue, over 200 million of today’s children and teenagers around the world will lose their lives to this addictive product (Roberts,23). The cigarette manufacturers may deny it, but advertising and promotion play

a vital part in making these facts a reality. Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds Nabisco and the other tobacco companies spend on average $5 billion annually in the US alone to advertise and promote their products. Most of this promotion is aimed at children, something the FDA has recognized and taken action to prevent(Breo,56). The kings of these media ploys are Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds. Morris uses a fictional western character called The Marlboro Man, a wild and free cowboy, while Reynolds uses Joe Camel, a high-rolling, swinging cartoon character. Joe Camel, the “smooth character” from RJ Reynolds, who is shown as a dromedary with complete style has been attacked by Tobacco-Free Kids as a major influence on the children of America. Dr. Lonnie Bristow, AMA (American Medical

Association) spokesman, remarks that “to kids, cute cartoon characters mean that the product is harmless, but cigarettes are not harmless. (Cigaret manufacturers) have to know that their ads are influencing the youth under 18 to begin smoking”(Breo,34). Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia report that almost as many 6-year olds recognize Joe Camel as well as the far-famed Mickey Mouse (Breo,61). This is very shocking information for any parent to hear. These statistics clearly show that young people are the prime target in the tobacco wars. The industry denies that these symbols do not target any people under 21 and claim that their advertising goal is simply to promote brand switching and loyalty. Many people, disagree with this statement such as Illinois Rep.

Richard Durbin who states ” If we can reduce the number of young smokers, the tobacco companies will be in trouble and they know it “(Roberts,74). So what do the tobacco companies do to keep their industry alive and well? Seemingly, they go toward a market that is not fully aware of the harm that cigarettes are capable of. U.S. News recently featured a discussion on the issue of smoking with 20 teenagers from suburban Baltimore. The group consisted of ten boys and ten girls between the ages of 15 and 17. When asked why they started smoking, they gave two contradictory reasons: They wanted to be a part of a peer group and they also wanted to reach out and rebel at the same time(Roberts, 34). ” When you party, 75 to 90 percent of the kids are smoking. It makes you feel like

you belong,” says Ronald Coe, a freshman at Lawrence Central High School. Teens also think of smoking as a sign of independence. The more authority figures tell them not to smoke, the more likely they are to pick up the habit (Roberts,34). The surprising thing is that these kids know that they are being influenced by cigarette advertising. If these kids know that this advertising is manipulating them, why do they still keep smoking? One reason may be that the ads are everywhere, especially in teen-oriented magazines, such as Rolling Stone and Spin(Selling). The ads also fuel some of the reasons the children gave for starting. They represent rebellion, independence, acceptance and happiness. These are all things a young person, between childhood and adolescence, needs and