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Tobacco Advertising Makes Young People Their Chief Target

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Everyday 3,000 children start smoking, most them between the ages of 10 and 18. These kids account for 90 percent of all new smokers. In fact, 90 percent of all adult smokers said that they first lit up as teenagers (Roberts). These statistics clearly show that young people are the prime target in the tobacco wars. The cigarette manufacturers may deny it, but advertising and promotion play a vital part in making these facts a reality (Roberts).
The kings of these media ploys are Marlboro and Camel. Marlboro uses a fictional western character c alled The Marlboro Man, while Camel uses Joe Camel, a high-rolling, swinging cartoon character. 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. Dr. Lonnie Bristow, AMA (American Medical Association) spokesman, remarks that "to kids, cute cartoon characters mean that the product is harmless, but cigarettes are not harmless. They have to know that their ads are influencing the youth under 18 to begin smoking"(Breo). Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia report that almost as many 6-year olds recognize Joe Camel as know Mickey Mouse (Breo). That is very shocking information for any parent to hear.
The industry denies that these symbols target people under 21 and claim that their advertising goal is simply to promote brand switching and loyalty. Many people disagree with this statement such as Illinois Rep. Richard Durbin who states " If we can reduce the number of young smokers, the tobacco companies will be in trouble and they know it "(Roberts). So what do the tobacco companies do to keep their industry alive and well? Seemingly, they go toward a market that is not fully aware of the harm that cigarettes are capable of.
U.S. News recently featured a discussion of the smoking issue with 20 teenagers from suburban Baltimore. The group consisted of ten boys and ten girls between the ages of 15 and 17. When asked why they started smoking, they gave two contradictory reasons: They wanted to be a part of a peer group. They also wanted to reach out and rebel at the same time. " When you party, 75 to 90 ...

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