’s Society Essay, Research Paper
Effects of Media
In today?s society the media has a great effect on what people buy. The media has been telling us what to buy since the beginning of the printing press. There is only one problem now; industry is trying to target certain groups that are more susceptible to buy their products. The most publicized of these big corporations are the people of the tobacco industry. What does one think of when asked; name a company that targets mostly underage kids? Most everyone would say the tobacco industry. They have been accused of purposely targeting minors in most of their cigarette ads for almost five years now.
More recently the allegations that our government has made toward the tobacco industry have been in the news. We all remember the government hearings that were held not too long ago where the people of the tobacco industry denied having any knowledge that nicotine was addicting and that smoking causes lung cancer. So how are we to believe them when they say ads are targeted toward people of the legal smoking age group? As John Madigan, a spokesman for the cancer society puts it ?Adults respond to claims of low tar and nicotine whereas kids respond to the Marlboro man and Joe Camel.?
What do kids see when they look through a magazine, I know as a young man the ads that catch my eye the most are those with the pretty girls or hot cars. What are these ads trying to say? Smoke my cigarettes and you?ll have a party twenty-four seven, hot girls begging for a smoke. No, but that?s exactly what some younger more impressionable teens think. After all the tobacco companies know that the average age when lifetime smokers start now is 12.5.
A study done by Dr King of the American Medical Association found that all the magazines patronized by young impressionable kids are the magazines with the highest saturation of these infamous ads. Surprisingly the highest concentration of tobacco ads was found in Sports Illustrated a very popular magazine with children as young as ten. Sports Illustrated is also the magazine with the highest number of youth readers (about 5.2 million). It was found that in fifty-one Sports Illustrated issues there were four hundred and one pages devoted solely to the point of advertising cigarettes. Coming in a close second was the glamorous People magazine. This magazine reaches about 3.0 million children a year and in only eight issues there was found to be over one hundred seventy pages of cigarette ads.
After reading these mind-boggling statistics I decided to do a little detective work of my own. I am a patron of Maxim For Men a magazine devoted to ?sports, clothes, gadgets, beer, and sex.? Actually it is a magazine full of pictures of hot women and hilarious articles about nothing. Kind of like Playboy with ought the naked ladies. I know this magazine reaches kids that are under the age of tobacco consumers because all my little brothers? friends have subscriptions to it too. After paging through the April 2000 issue I found that there were over six different cigarette ads, four of which included a male with one or more beautiful females, and having a great time. What is my little brother supposed to think when he sees these ads? I want to smoke so the ladies will love me. I bet most of the girls in these adds don?t smoke. I also noticed that all the ads are for cigarettes that are most popular with the younger crowd. They are the cigarettes I see my friends smoking.
I know right now this issue does not seem like a big deal but in the long run it will turn out to be a problem. The only reason these adds are a problem is because they are targeted toward an age group that is more libel to start smoking just because it is the ?cool? thing to do. I know it is not the cool thing to do because I know how hard it was for me to quit. I have been there I once thought I was cool because I smoked. But after loosing both of my grandfathers due to smoking it opened my eyes and a saw everything for what it was worth. I?m mot saying everyone should go through a traumatic experience like that but kids need to know smoking is something that every person can do with ought. There is no person that needs nicotine to survive. We need to help tone down the cigarette ads. Make them adds for a brand names and nothing more. No hidden messages and no slogans like ?what a ladies man?; just a picture of a box with some phrase about how smooth Newport cigarettes are and nothing more.
JAMA, ?Tobacco and advertisements in Magazines: Are Young Readers Being Targeted?? The Journal of the American Medical Association, April 26,2000 v283 p2106
?Cigarette makers still targeting teens.? Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, May 29,2000 v12 i22 p8