Tobacco companies are killing our youth with advertising. Over 3, 000 children experiment with smoking tobacco everyday. With hundreads of studies proving tobacco to be harmful, this is a large number of new smokers. The majority of new smokers are not adults, but are actually children. Although theses statistics seem to prove that tobacco companies target children, many companies still deny the advertising ploy.
Camel is a well known and obviously popular cigarette. R.J. Reynolds, the owner of Camel, created a cartoon figure for their advertising. This cartoon character, Joe Camel, is portrayed as a “smooth and hip” figure. During adolescence many people are very concerned with their physical appearance and manner of dress. In his advertisements, Joe Camel shows his viewer that he has this sense of style which attracts many teenagers. From his black sunglasses to his “cool” clothing, Joe Camel attracts children of all ages. To younger children a cartoon character is known as being harmless, which may give the idea that the product being sold is harmless. Many six year olds recognize Joe Camel when shown a picture, but they do not necessarily know what he represents. Joe Camel does not represent something innocent, but he does represent something harmful.
Tobacco companies have recently admitted to knowingly producing a product with many harmful effects, yet they still deny these symbols as focusing on today’s youth. The majority of new smokers are children, because many adults are aware of the health risks attributed to smoking. More adults quit smoking everyday than ever before in society’s history. The tobacco industry needs people unaware of the health risks in order so successfully promote their product. Children are not usually fully knowledgeable to the harmful effects of smoking, which is why they are targeted in advertisements. The companies will still say that they want to promote brand switching, but how many adults really are attracted to cartoons?
Many teenagers begin smoking at an age where they know the advertising is meant to manipulate them. Some start smoking to fit into a peer group, while others smoke as a way of rebelling. Many people wonder what initially attracted these teens to cigarettes, but they have seen it since they were children. It began with a cowboy called the Marlboro Man and then a cartoon figure, Joe Camel. When children reach their teenage years they are still seeing these advertisements in the most popular teen magazines. The advertisements seem to follow children as they grow.
With advertising targeting a younger audience, society may never rid itself of tobacco smoking. Many new addictions will continue and many health risks will be ignored if this advertising continues. More money needs to be spent on educating youth about these effects, than that which is spent of promoting smoking. Children should be made aware of tobacco companies misleading media ploys.
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