Tobacco Advertising for young people Everyday 3,000 children start smoking, most them between the ages of 10 and 18. The 90 percent of them are new smokers. In fact, 90 percent of all adult smokers said that they started smoking when they were teenagers. These statistics show that young people are the best target for the tobacco company. The tobacco companies deny object to selling cigarette to teenagers, but their advertising seem to propose for them. Camel is the one of the top selling tobacco company in the U.S.. Camel uses cartoon character called Joe Camel for their advertisement. Joe Camel, the “smooth character” from R.J. Reynolds, who is shown as a dromedary with complete style has been attacked by many Tobacco-Free Kids organizations as a major influence on the children of America. Cute cartoon characters are good way to get young people’s attention, so they know that their advertisements are influencing the young people under 18 to begin smoking. Every teenagers and even under teens can recognize Joe Camel as know Mickey Mouse. Like in “Master of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising” Jack Solomon said, “For children, there is the Ronald McDonald campaign, which presents a fantasy world that has little to do with handburgers in any rational sense but a great deal to do with the emotional desires of kids” (126). Their cute symbols are harmless, but cigarettes are not harmless. The company denies that their symbols target people under 21 and claim that their advertising goal is to promote brand switching. I disagree with this statement because young people are the best purchasers to the tobacco company. People start smoking as young age because most adults are trying to quit, therefor, tobacco company’s profits are gotten in from young people. In 1993, one research found that the three popular advertising brands Marlboro, Camel, and Newport were purchased by 85 percent of young smokers. If we can reduce the number of young smokers, the tobacco companies will be in trouble. So how the tobacco companies can keep their industry alive and well? They target more to increase new smokers than to promote brand switching. I have asked my friends who are smokers about smoking. They are five male and five female between the ages of 19 and 23. When I asked why they started smoking, they gave me two reasons: They wanted to be a part of a peer group. “When you party, 90 percent of their friends are smoking. It makes you feel like you belong,” says Masahumi Kato, who is student at Harlold Washington College. They also think of smoking as a sign of independence. Their parents tell them not to smoke, and resistance to them is sign to be adult. The surprising thing is that they know that they are being influenced by cigarette advertising.
If they know that the advertising is affecting them, why do they still keep smoking? The advertisement are everywhere, especially in teen magazines, such as Rolling Stone and Spin. The advertisement are also the reasons for the children to start smoking. Tobacco company promote campaigns with free T-shirts or caps, and give them to young people. The young people begin smoking because of the correlation between the promotional campaigns and young people. They represent independence and happiness, whom are all young people need to have between childhood and adolescence. In “Master of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising” Jack Solomon describe, “young people fear loneliness and so they quickly respond to the group appeal of the commercials” (126). The advertising, which give children peer pressure, are increased number of young smokers. How do we stop the young people from smoking? It is impossible to stop looking at tobacco advertisement because they are everywhere. Here are three things that I recommend. First, try to convince your children that smoking is not cool. Your appearance is affected by smoking. You will get bad smell on your hair, clothes, and breath. Second, talk to your kids at a young age about the dangers of smoking. Young smokers are easy to have asthma, lung cancer, and high cholesterol. Third, ask family members who smoke to stop. Many children whose parents is smoker died from SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome caused secondhand smoking. Young people are the most valuable commodity we are given in life. They are immature and easy to be seduced by peer pressure. Let’s try to educate them while they’re young to be independent thinkers and to not be swayed by the tobacco companies who are trying to take advantage of their mind and body.