Bans on Cigarette Advertising Does NOT Stop Smoking
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Since 1971, the cigarette industry has not been allowed to advertise on radio and television. However, the ban has not worked as well as it was planned to work. The reasons are that advertisements are not the primary reason that teens take up smoking. Another reason is that the industry has gotten around the ban by using forms of hidden advertising and corporate sponsorship. The industry has also heavily relied on the print media to advertise its product. Smoking has become influential due to many different forms of advertising.
Up until 1971, cigarettes had been advertised like any other consumer product, but health concerns led to a government-imposed ban on broadcast advertising. “July 27, 1965, Congress approved the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. The Federal Cigarette Labeling Act and Advertising Act was passed to establish a comprehensive program to deal with cigarette labeling and advertising” (Holak 220). “This law made it impossible for any person to manufacture, import or package cigarettes without the following statement clearly labeled on the box: Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous To Your Health” (Altman 95). Any person or company that was found guilty of violating this Act upon conviction was subject to a fine of not more then ten thousand dollars. Cigarettes manufactured or packaged for export form the United States were not required to label this. The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act took effect on January 1, 1996.
Four years later, Congress approved another Act: the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1996. There were two major changes. First, the statement required on cigarette packages was changed to “Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous To Your Health” (Altman 97). Second, it stated that after January 1, 1971 it shall be unlawful to advertise cigarettes on any medium of electronic communication.
Fifteen years later, Congress approved the comprehensive Smoking Education Act. This Act was yet another amendment to the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. Once again the statement required that all cigarette packages to be changed. The packages must now have one of the following labels: “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy” or “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks To Your Health” or “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result In Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight” and lastly “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide” (Brann 10).
The main purpose for this was to provide a new strategy for making American’s aware of any adverse health effects of smoking and to make individuals more informed about smoking and its risks.
The Comprehensive Smoking Education Act took effect on January 1, 1985. “The Comprehensive Smoking Education Act requires that each person who manufactures, packages, or imports cigarettes shall annually provide the committee with a list of the ingredients added to tobacco in the manufacture of cigarettes which does not identify the company which uses the ingredients or brand of cigarettes which contain the ingredients” (Brann 4).
Joe Camel, a cartoon caricature, used to represent a brand of cigarettes, became a key advertising figure. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Unfair methods of competition…and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are declared unlawful” (Mizecki 60). It was within their power to ban Joe Camel, due to unfair advertising practice because the campaign attracted children and adolescents to a harmful product, that they are not legally of age to purchase or consume. “A selective ban on Joe Camel advertising is preferable constitutionally to a more general ban on cigarette advertising, because it will not prevent the dissemination of advertising and information, but instead focuses on a particular ad campaign that has been shown to hold greater appeal for children than it does for adults” (Mizecki 58).
“In 1997,The Federal Drug Administration’s goal was to cut young people’s tobacco use in half over seven years. It would eliminate vending machines and would require purchasers to prove they are at least eighteen years old and close off underage access to cigarettes” (Brann15). The FDA plan also called for a restriction of cigarette advertising. “The FDA advertising provisions which would take effect in a year would: (a) Outlaw cigarette and chewing tobacco billboards within one-thousand feet of schools and public playgrounds. (b) Require all other tobacco billboards to be in black and white and use words only. No color, no pictures. Same for ads in and on buses. (c) Limit tobacco ads to black and white and text only publications with a significant youth readership. That would be any magazine or newspaper with either more than fifteen percent of its total readership under age eighteen or more than two million readers under eighteen. (d) Store check out counters and other places where tobacco products are sold also would be restricted to black and white text ads except in locations such as nightclubs where young people are not allowed. (e) Prohibit the sale or giveaway of caps, gym bags and other items bearing the brand name or log of a cigarette or smokeless product. (f) Ban teams or entries or entertainment events. Corporate names, such as, Philip Morris, would be permitted” (Brann 174). However, the FDA’s plan did not go unnoticed. A judge ruled that the FDA could not ban tobacco billboards within one thousand feet of a school or playground, limits in teen oriented magazines and a ban on hats, t-shirts, and other material with cigarette names.
Cigarettes are one of the most heavily marketed consumer products in the United States. “Tobacco companies currently spend almost six billion dollars a year to promote and advertise their products and have increased their spending by more than twelve times since 1971” (Holak 227). “The tobacco industry is the second largest advertiser in the print media, including magazines and newspapers, and the largest advertiser on the billboards” (Altman 104). “Through advertising and promotion, the tobacco industry targets one point seventy-five million new smokers a year to compensate for those who quit or die” (Altman 104).
Ninety-eight percent of teens recognize Joe Camel, which is slightly more than the percentage of those who knew the Marlboro Cowboy. Twenty-four percent of children were able to match the Marlboro Man with Marlboro cigarettes. Teenagers are three times more responsive than adults to cigarette advertising. It is readily recognized by children as young as three years old. “Recent studies have shown that older children have an even higher recognition of cigarette trade characters” (Mizecki 66).
The cigarette company portrays smoking as fun, sexy, glamorous, macho and mostly insidiously, healthful. “ Half the teens surveyed felt that Camel advertisements that featured Joe Camel and his friends hanging out, playing pool, did make smoking more appealing” (Mizecki 120). However, even though they found it appealing, it did cause them to go out and buy that particular brand.
The percentage of teens that felt the advertisements made it more appealing was greater than the percentage that felt the advertisements made them want the product. Teens found the advertisements made it a form of entertainment.
One of the main reasons why teens tend to take up smoking is that it tends to be the popular thing to do. Popular brand cigarettes are not determined by the advertising campaigns, but by which brands their friends smoke. In the end smoking is just an image thing. Depending on what brand you choose to smoke, can determine how “cool” you are. “Image makes brands popular, not advertisements” (Mizecki 125). Joe Camel is portrayed as cool and popular in advertisements.
A second reason teens take up smoking is because they see adults doing it. One of the surveys found that teens began smoking Marlboro’s because it was the more adult brand to choose from. Joe Camel is a cartoon, and therefore, not as “adult” as Marlboro. Advertising does not determine which brand of cigarettes is more “adult.” The people around the teen determine which brand is considered more “adult.”
The third reason that determines which brand is chosen by teens is the cost. What teens often want is the cheapest, or simplest available brand of cigarettes. The price of a pack of cigarettes is another determining factor in which brand a teen chooses to smoke. The fourth reason that compels teens to choose a brand is what promotional items can be received. Teens believe that What makes Marlboro so appealing are the promotional goods that smokers can get by saving up “Marlboro Miles”, not because of Marlboro’s advertising campaign.
The result from bans on cigarette advertising has not really done what was expected of it. For example, many teens take up smoking due to peer pressure. They see their friends smoking and think its cool, so in return they experiment too. Sometimes smoking is used to be accepted into a group. Another reason teens are smoking is to be an “adult.” Children want to be grown up, or act like older people, in return, they feel smoking will help them achieve this. Marlboro’s tend to be the more adult brand cigarette. People have made the correlation between advertising and smoking because Marlboro is one of the most heavily smoke brands in the United States and one of the most heavily advertised. However the correlation has no basis in fact. The only reason that Marlboro’s are the most heavily smoked brand in the United States is because they are considered more “adult-like.” People smoke for various reasons. Many of which are not from advertisements of cigarettes. Therefore, there are many factors that add to the problems of underage smokers, and campaigning.