Smoking in America

Smoking in America

In the United States today, more than forty six million Americans are addicted to cigarettes. More people have died due to cigarette smoking than from narcotic drugs, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War combined (Bailey 1). The annual death toll for cigarette smoking is more than four-hundred thousand Americans a year, and is the number-one preventable cause of death in the United States. If Americans are aware of the lethal effects of smoking, why is it still so popular? Guy Smith, a Phillip Morris Tobacco Company executive, claims that their research shows that advertising is the top reason people start smoking (Bailey 34). Most people will argue that this is not true because the do not like to be “sold” and do not like to admit advertising affects them. Despite their claims, more Americans buy brand name and heavily advertised products than any other country in the world (Bailey 33). Smoking in the mass media is advertised and portrayed in such a way that it is attractive to the public but does not warn about its harmful effects. The media also targets children and teenagers with cartoon advertisements and by putting them in areas that are attractive you young minds.

Tobacco companies recognize the harmful effects of their products, but deny that their advertisements play any part in creating a desire to smoke. William Hobbs, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Chief Executive Officer, explains, “Advertising played no part in encouraging people to smoke, so therefore I have no responsibility to urge them not to smoke” (Bailey 205). Phillip Morris Tobacco Company uses a “friendly familiarity” ploy to attract smokers and portrays smoking as a socially acceptable practice. In their advertisements, peopl...

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... these lost smokers, so they target children and teenagers. Studies have shown that ninety percent of new smokers are teens, proving that most lifetime smokers start smoking at a young age. Parents today should warn children about the harmful effects of tobacco and the advertising tactics the tobacco companies would use to draw them into this harmful addiction.



Bailey, William E. The Invisible Drug. Houston: Mosaic Publications, 1996.

“Bill Clinton vs. Joe Camel.” U.S. News and World Report. (September 2, 1996) 12.

Breo, Dennis L. “Kicking Butts-AMA, Joe Camel and the ‘Black Flag’ war on tobacco.“ The Journal of the American Medical Association. (October 29, 1994)

“Getting the Message Straight.” Behavioral Health Management. (July, 2000) 20:48.

Trillin, Alice. “Blowing Smoke.” The Nation (July 19, 1999) 269:6.

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