Thank You for Smoking

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John Bushman Bushman 1
3/19/2013 English 103 Mr. Anderson Thank You For Smoking: Rhetorical Analysis

The book/article Thank You For Not Smoking  is a 1994 satirical novel written by Christopher Buckley, and written as an e-article by Peter Brimelow. It was also made into a dark comedy film in 2005, written and directed by Jason Reitman and starring Aaron Eckhart, In the article, the story follows a tobacco industry lobbyist named Nick Naylor. Like most lobbyist, Naylor is a cunning, level headed support of the tobacco industry, with many arguments he provides throughout the article on why smoking is good. His claims are not always so simple and straight forward, but instead he uses many different tactics to convince people to agree with him and take his side. There are many good examples of rhetoric in the article, one of them being his argument against the skull crossbones death symbol on every pack, a symbol that causes each pack to not only have a warning label, but a potentially scary visual image to go along with it. This is done in front of a Congressional committee and an audience which includes his young son, during a hearing in Vermont. He defends a highly debatable idea with arguable evidence and support, whether it affects him positively or not. Pretty much all of the main points of rhetoric are in Naylor’s arguments. His argument has a relatively decent ethos, logos, and pathos. Naylor claims that there shouldn’t be warnings on products people already know is dangerous. More specifically, he thinks that cigarettes shouldn’t have a warning label. It would appear is warrant is that people should do what they want to do. If they decide

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to use something they know is dangerous, that is their personal choice. But, this is assuming they know it’s dangerous. Not everyone necessarily may know tobacco is harmful, or in another example, that radiation is harmful, which is why the warning labels are there, whether it’s a pack of cigarettes or a sign on a nuclear waste barrel. Regardless, this warrant is effective because the audience inside the court and the actual article already know that tobacco is harmful. Nick Naylor’s point is easily relatable for those reading the article or book. His argument comes off with some kind of general implied statement like “People can decide for themselves”. His sense of morality is questioned. The accuser points out an example of cigarette smoke results, a poor teen named Robin who has cancer. Naylor responds by going on to explain that tobacco industries have keeping smokers alive in their best interests, and to back this claim Naylor announces that, “We are about to launch a 50 million dollar campaign aimed at persuading teenagers not to smoke”. Then he go further with a second appeal to the logos of his argument with the statement, “No company would launch such a campaign to promote something they wouldn’t want.” It seems that Naylor has done well to defend himself, this time, but there is a flaw in these claims not clearly pointed out and maybe not noticed by some of the audience. The flaw is that Naylor in no way denies cigarettes harmful results to people, instead he only claims that the tobacco industry cares about its smokers health especially teenagers like Robin.

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Naylor’s second claim is that health services (the Ron Goodes) want smokers to die. Speaking again in firm confidence, he says health services want people to die because the deaths of smokers make their budget go up. The logical conclusion from that Naylor says is that the health services want their budget to go up, suggesting that its ok to want more smoker deaths because it means more money for them. Perhaps an ironic message from a lobbyist to suggest, though a good factor...
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