The War On Smoking Essay Research Paper
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The War On Smoking Essay, Research Paper The war on smoking has existed for decades. With the advent of more tenacious laws prohibiting smoking in public locations, and most recently Minnesota s historic tobacco settlement, many actions against Big Tobacco have become more successful. Anti-smoking campaigns have become more confrontational, directly targeting tobacco companies in an effort to expose its manipulative and illegal marketing tactics. On the surface, last November’s $206 billion settlement agreement between the tobacco companies and 46 states looks like a serious blow for Big Tobacco. In addition to the money, it contains some important concessions: a ban on outdoor advertising, limits on sports sponsorships and merchandising, no more “product placement” in movies, and they have to close the Tobacco Institute and other instruments. And Joe Camel – along with all other cartoon characters – is gone for good. Yet this did not hurt the tobacco industry’s ability to sell cigarettes. On Nov. 20, the day the attorneys general announced the settlement, the stock of the leading tobacco companies soared. After all, the Big Four tobacco makers will pay only 1 percent of the damages (at most) directly; the rest will be passed on to smokers through higher prices. Since many states are already figuring the settlement money into their budgets, this puts them in the odd position of depending on the continued health of the tobacco industry for their roads, schools, and hospitals. Punishing the industry, in other words, doesn’t necessarily address the root of the problem – reducing demand for cigarettes. And that won’t go down until we all face the fact that smoking is once again cool. In the 1980s, scarcely any teenagers smoked. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen smoking rose 73 percent from 1988 to 1996. As long as movie stars like John Travolta and Uma Thurman flirt gorgeously through a haze of cigarette smoke, as long as it drifts through all the right nightclubs and bars and hang-outs – not to mention the magazines and posters and billboards – teenagers will find ways to smoke, no matter how many public service announcements or laws are written to stop them. Most of these kids know that smoking fills their lungs with toxins like arsenic, cyanide, and formaldehyde. They’ll even recite the statistics to you: Smoking kills over 1,000 people a day in this country alone, and is far deadlier, in terms of mortality rates, than any hard drug. And then they’ll blow their smoke into your face. The only way to get any leverage with teenagers is to return fire with fire, taking on the various influences that make smoking seem attractive. We need, in other words, to find new ways to make smoking look ridiculous. John F. Banzhaf III had no particular animosity toward the cigarette companies when he sat down in his Bronx home on Thanksgiving Day 1966 to watch a football game with his father. He was struck by a cigarette commercial that seemed to glamorize a habit that both his parents practiced. While at Columbia University School of Law, Banzhaf had studied the ”fairness doctrine,” a Federal Communications Commission policy that required broadcasters to offer free air time to opposing views on controversial public matters. He wondered whether the doctrine could be applied to cigarette advertising. It had never been applied to commercials before, but the FCC ruled in Banzhaf’s favor. By 1967 broadcasters were airing one anti-smoking ad for every four cigarette ads, on prime-time television. Bleary-eyed football fans who managed to hang on beyond the last bowl games witnessed history 90 seconds before midnight on New Year’s Day 1971 when four Marlboro cowboys galloped into the TV sunset. From then on, cigarette companies would never again be allowed to advertise their wares on television or radio.