Tobacco Advertising is Illegal, but Alcohol Advertising is not. Is this hypocritical?

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Advertisements are the major component of a company’s marketing strategy, and are implemented in order to inform and persuade consumers regarding a certain product, service or institution. The average consumer is surrounded by hundreds of advertisements each and every day. Advertisements are displayed through various means to a large audience, found through the Internet, billboards, or even when listening to the radio. Advertisers use a combination of marketing techniques to draw the attention of the consumer, however, some of the techniques used are either illegal, unethical, or both. When a company attempts to promote a dangerous product, that’s where restrictions are put in place. In recent years, the Government of Canada’s rules and regulations on tobacco advertisements have become exponentially stricter, while alcohol advertisements are still fully allowed amongst the many media platforms. This directs us to question the difference in the two substances, and whether this political notion is actually hypocritical. Stakeholders examined in the paper are the viewers of the advertisements, plus the listeners of the advertisements, specifically the younger audience. Through a brief history of the tobacco advertising rules and regulations, this paper shall depict the ethical issues within advertising alcoholic beverages, and display evidence supporting that alcoholic beverages are no less of a danger than tobacco products, and ultimately should possess the same advertising restrictions. Evidence suggests that the majority of Canadians are actually in favor of restrictions on alcohol advertising. The hypocritical idea of allowing alcohol to be advertised, but removing all tobacco related marketing is further examined.

In 1997, the...

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...vention Into Priority Area Schools: A Media Literacy Approach. Health Promotion Practice, 12, 152S-158S.

Canadian Tobacco Advertising Regulations. OMAC. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from

Fleming, K., Thorson, E., & Atkin, C. K. (2004). Alcohol Advertising Exposure And Perceptions: Links With Alcohol Expectancies And Intentions To Drink Or Drinking In Underaged Youth And Young Adults. Journal of Health Communication, 9(1), 3-29.

Jiang, N., & Ling, P. M. (2011). Reinforcement Of Smoking And Drinking: Tobacco Marketing Strategies Linked With Alcohol In The United States. American Journal of Public Health, 101(10), 1942-1954.

McKenzie, D. (2010). Alcohol advertising and young people's drinking. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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