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Teens Smoking: Anti-smoking Advertisements Do Not Work

By kkvvnn Sep 23, 2014 2341 Words
Teens Smoking: Anti-smoking Advertisements Do Not Work
Smoking is a recreational activity in which a substance, most common tobacco, is burned and the smoke tasted or inhaled. Smoking is primarily done as a form of recreational drug use as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them available for absorption through the lungs. It can also be made as part of religious or non-religious rituals, to induce trances and spiritual enlightenment. The most common method of smoking today is through cigarettes, either industrially manufactured or rolled with loose tobacco and rolling paper. Other forms, though not as common are pipes, cigars, bongs and hookahs. Nevertheless, every year, thousands of people die because of lung cancer or other tobacco related illnesses. Everyone in the world becomes contacting with smoke from a cigarette at least once in their lifetime, whether it is at a restaurant or work. There are also some researches showing that millions of people are addicted to smoking, during which thousands more become addicted every year. Most of the addicted smokers started smoking when they were young. Nowadays, cigarettes and other tobacco products can be found everywhere. In the result, Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces in 2004. Other countries, such as, Norway, Italy, Britain, Portugal and Sweden, also establish the laws of banning smoking in workplaces and/or other public spaces later.(Eur. Pub. health Alliance) In the United Stated, anti-smoking advertisement campaigns have circulated since the 1960s. In the beginning, they were funded by private, usually socially conservative, groups who viewed smoking as more of a moral problem than a health concern. However, in 1964, a comprehensive study, based upon 15 years of research revealing the negative health effects of smoking, was released by the Surgeon General. Therefore, the medical dangers of cigarette smoking became more known and accepted, the anti-smoking campaigns began to focus more and more on the negative health effects of cigarette smoking. (Kowalski 65) In addition, Kowalski states that, in 1998, a comprehensive deal with 46 states and six U.S. territories was signed by the four largest tobacco companies in the United States (Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard) to settle the litigation that several states had brought against them seeking payment for increased Medicaid costs caused by cigarette use.(65)The settlement, called the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), requires the tobacco companies to pay the states named in the settlement about billions of dollars per year. And the funds will be used for anti-smoking campaigns, the creation and annual budget of the American Legacy Foundation. However, Anti-smoking advertising may not have been a contributing cause to influence teenagers to try or quit smoking. Teenager is a large group of valuable new acquisition of daily smokers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, “Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers." (CDC Par. 2)In order words, more than 90 percent of adolescents under 18 years of age try their first cigarette will become daily smokers every day in the United State. And many adult smokers might start smoking when they were preteens or teens. Therefore, according to the data above, smoking prevention Ads cannot reduce the number of increasing young smokers per year. On the contrary, watching these advertisements could make curiousness or ignoring for non-smoking teens rather than warning them to keep away from cigarette. On the other hand, it could not helpful for the daily smoker of teens to quit tobacco. In fact, there are many reasons that effecting teens try to smoke, because adolescence, which describes the teenage years between 12 and 18, is an amazing stage. Mannheim, who works for the department of psychiatry and behavioral Health, in Seattle Children's Hospital, points out that their physical and psychological changes occur in this time. Also, their independence and self-identity are developing, but they are not mature enough. (MedlinePlus) Therefore, outside factors might mislead them, such as imitating their parents, films and idols, peer pressure, and the longing to take risk and self-image. On the one hand, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS) asserts the scenes of implying smoking in ADs and movies are the main factors that encouraging teens become smokers. (American Cancer Society)Since teens are, who prefer to imitate idols in other to have a good self-image, difficult to resist the temptation that may come from advertisements, films and videos. One of them, Batchelor claims that “Watching popular movies is the No. 1 factor leading nonsmoking teens to light up... researcher found that film character smoking more persuasive than advertising, peer pressure or parents.”(Batchelor 57) Young people, especially secondary school students, take superstars as their idols. These young fans are keen to follow their idols, sometimes to the extent of craziness, even go to the extremes. Accordingly, some negative results are caused. Thus, young people smoke for similar reasons that their idols do – to change how they feel because they want to feel better or different. Also, some teens believe that smoking makes them more popular, "cool," attractive, sexy or rugged. On the other hand, advertisements from tobacco companies also is a part that inducing teens to smoke. In addition, Tobacco companies have aimed at marketing efforts on teens, because former smokers would die caused by tobacco-related illnesses, such as cancer, emphysema, and heart disease, and new blood is necessary for companies to join in the big family of smoking. According to a 1981 Philip Morris document, it points out that “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while in their teens.””(Kowalski 64) On the other hand, teens would ignore the dangers from what some anti-smoking advertisements warning about, because teens prefer to take risks. And they think they are young, strong and fearless. But they would keep short term perspective at their age and they believe that health threat is only at old age that is far off in the future. In addition, they may think that nothing bad will happen to them and few cigarettes cannot hurt their health. Therefore, they try to smoke without considering the result thoroughly. Also, peer pressure is one of the reasons that teens would ignore the warning from anti-smoking Ads and start smoking. Young people are more likely to use tobacco if their peers use tobacco. Teens are most influenced by others close in age or slightly older, including siblings. For example, a person is much more likely to try smoking if his best friends or older siblings smoke because he wants to be like them and fit in with the crowd. If not, he would be isolated. Therefore, teens try to smoke in order to suit his peer group. However, someone would argue that Anti-Smoking Advertisements are helpful, because they have caught the public’s eyes and help more than ten thousand smokers to quit every year. For instance, “Smoking kid”, released by Thai Health Promotion Foundation in 2012, generated more than 600,000 YouTube views in its first three days. And it captured 2,818,801 YouTube views until in June 2, 2014. It got the gold of The Spikes Asia Awards 2012 which is the region’s most prestigious awards for creative communications. According to a report from SpikesAsia.com which is a collaboration between Lions Festivals and Haymarket, “Smoking Kid” stimulated a 40 percent increase in calls to hotlines for smokers looking to quit in Thailand.(Par. 3) Therefore, for teens, this way also works. In daily life, people usually get information from media, such as newspaper, television, websites magazines and so forth. For advocating anti-smoking, those forms would be used in those media: statistical data and diagram, the pictures of smoking victims’ lungs, text description of medical dangers of smoking, video, etc. Therefore, many people know smoking is deleterious and carcinogenic. However, do anti-Smoking Ads actually work? The answer is yes but not for the smokers. The non-smokers may not try to smoke after watch anti-smoking Advertisements, but the daily smokers are hard to quit it. The anti-smoking Advertisement “Tips from Former Smokers” (the CDC, 2012) shows the preparation work before going out from home for a smoking victim Terrie missing half her jaw, who was diagnosed with oral and throat cancer at the age of 40. However, healthland.time.com shows a report “First National Anti-Smoking TV Ads Help 200,000 Smokers to Quit” from the CDC, the Advertisement “Tips from Former Smokers” spurred 12 percent of U.S. smokers attempting to quit (1.64 million people), but only 200,000 remained smoke-free at the end of three months. (Park) In order words, there are less than 0.13 percent of U.S. smokers can quit cigarette for more than three months. Although this report cannot show how many people become non-smokers permanently, it implies the anti-smoking Advertisements could not stop daily smokers to smoke because quitting cigarette is extremely difficult. This difficulty is not only the psychic issue, but also the physical problem---addiction. And the main factor of addiction is nicotine. The antismoking organization, SmokeFree claims that nicotine is a chemical in cigarettes that makes one addicted to smoking. Over time, his body gets used to having nicotine. However, the more he smoke‚ the more nicotine he needs to feel normal. When his body doesn't get nicotine, he may feel uncomfortable and crave cigarettes. It is called withdrawal. (smokefree.gov) And It is one of the main factors leading to continued tobacco smoking. In other words, shortly after one finish smoking a cigarette, his body starts to show signs of withdrawal. And he starts to crave another cigarette to overcome these symptoms, starting a vicious cycle of dependency. Moreover, although the percentage of the nicotine inhaled with tobacco smoke is quite small (most of the substance is destroyed by the heat) it is still sufficient to cause physical and/or psychological dependence. As a result, they do not serve to deter smoking given the immediate gratification offered by smoking. And watching a 15 minutes long video is impossible for daily smokers to quit. In addition, someone might argue the tobacco threat is exaggerated by Anti-smoking Ads, so smoking is not a big problem. Indeed, Torr asserts that the statics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are deceptive because the smoking-related deaths each year include the kills by smoking directly or non-directly. (26) That means a smoker who dies caused by heart disease or even an accident would be calculated into the statics. Furthermore, the statics are associated with old age. Torr also cited that “Nearly 60 percent of the deaths occur at age 70 or above; nearly 45 percent at age 75 or above; and almost 17 percent at the grand old age of 85 or above.” (27) Obviously, without the group of old age, the smoking-related deaths will become lower. However, we could say the statics of smoking-related deaths each year might be exaggerated, but we cannot deny the issue of tobacco threat completely. Many people surfer from smoking-related disease all over the world every day. Maybe someday, our lovers, family or friends would get the same problem. However, the short-term gain (nicotine) outweighs the long-term "maybes". If people dropping dead a few short weeks after smoking, no one would dare smoke. But smoking-related disease liked lung cancer would take a while to get going, and not all smokers get it. Therefore, people do not realize the dangers. All in all, we should check erroneous ideas at the outset to nip an evil in the bud. Do not let any tragedy occurs in us and our lovers, family or friends. In conclusion, watching anti-smoking advertisements does work. However, it is not an effective method that persuading teens to keep away from cigarette or quit smoking. Because of teens’ curiousness, the features of adolescence and the addiction of nicotine, anti-smoking do not work effectively. Therefore, a new method should be created. For non-smoking teens, although teens are the large group of “tomorrow smokers," they are not daily smokers yet and still can encourage them to keep away from tobacco through school, family and themselves. But once they smoke, they are difficult to quit with spiritual control. So for daily smoking teens, we still do not have an effective method to quit cigarette. It is a long road for scientists to explore.

Cited Work
"*UPDATED* European Smoking Bans - Evolution of the Legislation." - European Public Health Alliance. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2014. < http://www.epha.org/a/1941>. Kowalski, Kathiann M.. “Tobacco Ads Seduce Teens.” Teen Smoking. Ed. Stefan Kiesbye. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven, 2008. Print. 64-65. Print. "Spikes Asia - Festival of Creativity." Spikes Asia - Festival of Creativity. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 June 2014.

"Youth and Tobacco Use." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 06 June 2014. Mannheim, Jennifer K. "Adolescent Development: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 June 2014. < http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002003.htm >. "Why Do People Start Smoking?" American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2014.

Batchelor, Suzanne. "Teenagers Imitate Characters on the Big Screen." Teen Smoking. Ed. Stefan Kiesbye. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven, 2008. 57-58. Print. Kowalski, Kathiann M.. “Tobacco Ads Seduce Teens.” Teen Smoking. Ed. Stefan Kiesbye. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven, 2008. 64-69. Print. "Why Quitting Is Hard." Smokefree.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2014. . Torr, James D. "The Health Risk of Smoking Are Exaggerated." Smoking. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 2001. 26-27. Print. Park, Alice, and Alice Park. "First National Anti-Smoking TV Ads Help 200,000 Smokers to Quit | TIME.com." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. .

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