I am a smoker. This is not a statement I make with pride. It is merely a fact. I grew up during an era when advertisements for cigarettes not only showed doctors smoking and espousing their particular brands, but also recommended menthol cigarettes for cases of irritated throats. Later cigarettes became associated with athleticism, fun, social acceptance, and, of course, sexual attractiveness, as recently seen on the Jay Leno Show (2010).
During the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960’s, longer, prettier, and slimmer cigarettes, with equally suggestive brand names, were manufactured and marketed specifically targeting the “independent, liberated” woman. The Marlboro Man targeted men, representing the independent, hard-working ideal of the American cowboy. Advertising industry and media worked effectively to present smoking as all-American pleasure, not only crossing gender divides, but practically required to fully express ones independence, sexuality, and worthiness.
Bombarded on the airwaves and through print, it is not surprising this mage of smoking became so prevalent in the United States and, through westernization, many other parts of the globe. When one considers the first national smoking ban originated in Nazi Germany, a sense of defiant patriotism very possibly added to the appeal (Proctor, 2001).
Since then, the popular public perception of cigarettes and smoking has changed drastically. It is not my focus in this paper to address the health reasons for this reversal, nor will I explore culpability of the cigarette corporations in any acts of deception perpetrated on the public.
... depicting diseases and disabilities people can get from smoking on cigarette packs. Philippine lawmakers, particularly those hailing from the ... make sense when you consider what cigarette smoke does to your body! Smoking is Unattractive YOSI Kadiri! Remember that ... years old when he started smoking. The Philippines’ Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 bans cigarette advertisements on television, radio, ...
Others have far better addressed these issues, and more. I will, instead describe my experience of how this was accomplished, as well as the changes in our general culture in relation to this new point of view. Overall, it is a testament to the power for good, as well as bad, advertising and the media exercises over people and an example of the benefits of a minimal standard of social responsibility. The increased awareness of the health complications associated with smoking, first published by Sir Richard Doll in the 1950’s, did very little to decrease the smoking statistics at first (BBC, 2004).
It continued to be represented as an indication of the “good life” Americans were desperately striving towards after two World Wars as well as a means of both rejuvenating energy and relaxing tension. However, continued research kept reaching the same conclusions with regard to the detrimental health consequences of smoking, and the public began to hear the warnings from the science and health fields, not from advertisers or the media, whose income was naturally dependent upon advertisers. Cigarettes remained easy to obtain and were actually rather reasonably priced.
It appeared to me, as a young teenager living on a military base in Europe, even the Services were in favor of smoking since cigarettes, though rationed, were twenty-five cents a pack! According to the Hawai’i State Department of Health, cigarettes were not subjected to punishing tax increases until 1965, when they rose to 40% of wholesale prices (2003).
The research continued. The public was becoming alarmed. Compared to the media advertising by cigarette companies, the implications of this research remained peripheral. Even the federal Department of Health was not able to mitigate the impact of the media by much.
It became evident political opposition was the next requirement and grassroots organizations sprang up which led to tobacco control organizations on both state and federal levels. In response to this new development, a campaign for “courteous” smoking and “accommodations” for non-smokers was pursued by the tobacco industry and its advertisers. Restaurants and other public places had no smoking sections. Labels announcing the dangers of cigarette smoking appeared in the packaging. In conjunction, the youth of United States became the next focus group for advertising.
Informing About the Health Risks Involved with Cigarette Smoking My visual aid is a comparison model example of what a human lung of a person that smokes looks like and what a human lung of a person that does not smoke looks like. Outline ATTENTION-GETTING OPENER Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, asthma attacks, cataracts, bronchitis, and death, these are all the common effects due to ...
Tobacco control organizations noticed this attack on the young and took action. Advertising companies were hired to create a media campaign to counteract the tobacco industry and its advertisements. Posters of old toothless women with captions reading “Smoking is sexy” appeared in high schools. Television stations were compelled to air a certain amount of Public Service Announcements, many of which addressed, and still address, the dangers of smoking. With the use of well know personalities, these commercials also aim to divest smoking of the “coolness” factor achieved by the tobacco industries for so many years.
Schools were, and still are, inundated with programs, such as D. A. R. E. , to avert drug use and smoking from a very early age. Within a few years, television advertising of tobacco products became a thing of the past. Every advertisement in the print media had to carry a warning about the health complications. Access to tobacco products became more restricted both by age and point of sale. Smoking was banned in work places, as well as restaurants and bars, with smokers banned to the out of doors regardless of the weather conditions.
In some cities, that ban has been extended to include the outdoors as well. Smoking all but disappeared in popular entertainment, and when depicted, the character is frequently, although not always, an antagonist or somehow not credible. The results have been phenomenal. Although there are still a significant number of active smokers, smoking has reached an all time low in the United States. Of those people still smoking, most report wishing they could stop. Active smokers have gone from being an accepted dominant group to becoming a disenfranchised minority in less then fifty years.
Smoking is harmful for health, almost everyone knows about this fact; but the smokers are not at all bothered. Smoking is a choice: no one forces people to smoke. The general public has been well educated about the health risks and hazards of smoking, so people who smoke are fully informed about the possible consequences of their habit. Despite of knowing the hazards of smoking, people get ...
No longer seen as educated, glamorous, hard-working, and all-American, smokers are now denigrated as “dirty, rude, stinky, and stupid”, as well as lacking will power, although nicotine addiction is a very real medically acknowledged problem (Campbell, classroom discussion, 2010).
This incredible change of cultural values has had a significant impact on our current general culture and health awareness in particular, as well as many of the other developed countries in the world where similar changes are occurring.
Exploring the change in cultural values over the past fifty years with respect to tobacco products, embraced by so many in U. S. society today, has been an interesting and educational challenge for me, both as a smoker and as some one who has witnessed this evolution. As stated earlier, I see it as a testament to the power of advertising and mass media, as well as an example for the call to require a bare minimum of social responsibility, some kind of check and balance, between corporations and advertising and the general public.