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Countries should ban tobacco advertising due to its effects on the smokers and the society. Tobacco is a product of an agricultural plant that belongs to the Nicotiana genus. Many people in the world mostly use it as a cash crop and as a drug for recreational purposes.
The advertising of tobacco and its products involves the use of the media such as television and newspapers among other media to create awareness to the public on the product. The tobacco industry has invested many of its resources in the advertising of tobacco products. Most countries around the world do not allow tobacco advertising, and thus they ban carrying out advertising of tobacco through their laws.
Historical issues of tobacco advertising
In the past, tobacco use was only associated with men. Women were therefore, not taking tobacco but the trend has changed currently. Women are as equally engaged in smoking as their male counterparts are.
Tobacco advertising through the media popularized in the 1990s in the developed world. Examples of countries that adopted this trend include the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and in Canada. Tobacco advertising became widespread due to the increased use of legal statements by tobacco firms and proof of tax compliance.
The use of financial resources to fund the extensive advertising exercise of tobacco by the respective firms made it possible for the tobacco advertising exercise to take place and in a legal manner. Through such media, the tobacco adverts have been able to reach a very wide audience (Chapman, 2007).
The media also gives a platform for campaigns against the use of tobacco, to create awareness on the negative health effects of the use of tobacco, and the unethical behavior practiced by firms in the tobacco industry.
Social issues of tobacco advertising
Several researchers have developed good papers on the impact of advertising tobacco. This is due to the negative effects of tobacco use, especially on the health of individuals. Tobacco advertising is meant to attract more people and convince them to start using the product or for those who already use it, to continue using it. The advertising of tobacco has misled many young people by encouraging them to use the product, which in the long-term, is addictive. Increasingly more young people are engaging in tobacco smoking after being convinced of its goodness.
A tobacco advert reduces the motivation and chances of the people who already smoke to quit. This is because the objective of tobacco adverts is getting more people to start smoking, and the current smokers to continue smoking or even increase their consumption rates. For example, if a person who takes two cigarettes per day to increases consumption to six per day, cigarette-manufacturing companies profit. This has adverse effects on the health of the smokers (Napier, 1992).
The advertising campaigns conducted on tobacco also acts to convince people who were previously smokers to resume the habit of smoking. This is because the adverts are flirty to the public and to the current and former smokers in order to market the product.
To the young people, tobacco adverts are in line with the modern trends that the youth admire just to make them envy that lifestyle and start using the tobacco products. They encourage the youth and other people of all ages to smoke, for instance, by showing smokers who express the nice feeling that comes with the use of the tobacco to lure other people to adopt the habit, which with time becomes addictive.
Young people even those below the age of eighteen years get lured to start smoking tobacco due to the attractive adverts through billboards and the media in general (Pampel, 2009). Past research has shown that racial minorities are prone to tobacco addiction, and thus tobacco advertising will affect Blacks, Hispanics, and other racial minorities more than their white counterparts in the United States (Shalala, 1999).
The society has been complaining of losing the young people to tobacco smoking. This is because increasingly more young people have engaged in tobacco use after due to influence by their friends who encourage them to use the product or after admiring tobacco use after seeing the catchy adverts through the media.
Tobacco use also encourages alcohol use. This is because most of the people who engage in smoking tobacco also take alcohol. It is common knowledge that the company of smokers goes well with that of alcohol takers. Therefore, when a person starts to smoke, they find themselves in the company of those who take alcohol and with time, they engage in drinking alcohol, as both are leisure activities.
Political issues of tobacco advertising
Tobacco advertising has brought many debates especially to the various governments in many nations. This is because most countries have put a ban on the advertising of the tobacco products due to their negative health effects. These bans serve as measures by the various political governments to protect their people.
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Examples of countries that have put bans on tobacco advertising include the United States (1971) through the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1966. In the year 2005, tobacco-advertising bans in Asia and Europe came up through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control endorsed by the World Health Organization.
Other political issues surrounding tobacco advertising include the government regulation that warning labels be put on all tobacco products. This is to notify all smokers and the public in general on the dangers of smoking tobacco. The major aim of putting the warning labels is to ensure that any person who takes tobacco products does so willingly and in an informed manner without the possibility of them not knowing the dangers of taking the substance. One of the countries that have enforced this regulation is the United States.
Technological issues of tobacco advertising
Tobacco advertising mostly uses technology for reaching a wide audience. Companies therefore, apply technology by using the internet and the World Wide Web to create awareness to the audience, either of the negative or positive effects of tobacco.
Other technological applications of tobacco advertising include the measurement of the environmental tobacco smoke through the use of wall and personal monitors, use of cotinine dipsticks for urine, development of new medicines to aid in curbing tobacco smoking, and finally, the use of electronic medical tracking systems for helping smokers in the process of stopping the smoking behavior.
Other technological advancements related to tobacco and its advertisement include the development of the laser technology for carrying out and obliterating tobacco adverts whenever necessary, packaging technology that is used in the branding and creation of health warning labels on all tobacco products . Similarly, other technological advancements are useful in diagnosing and treating the diseases, which emanate from tobacco use. For instance, operations like surgery, radiotherapy, and telemedicine.
Technology is also useful in overcoming the negative effects of smoking tobacco. This is through the introduction of the electronic cigarettes to help those who are addicted to smoking.
Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes and they were introduced to curb the effects of tobacco addiction by producing some form of a mist, tobacco flavor and some mild nicotine to make the addicts feel like they are smoking the normal tobacco. The introduction of this electronic cigarette is a measure recommended by health professionals to help the addicts deal with the problem of addiction.
Geographical issues of tobacco advertising
The perception of tobacco advertising is different in different geographical regions of the world. For example, some countries have placed bans on tobacco advertising whereas others have not. In some countries, the government has not been keen on regulating the tobacco industry to the extent of putting a ban on the advertisement. Most developed countries have placed this ban whereas most underdeveloped countries have not.
Other geographical issues of tobacco advertising include the putting of warning labels on the packets of cigarettes and tobacco products. These warning labels differ with their country of origin, and they are a product of a wide range of socio-cultural and political factors.
This is because the language used to communicate the warning on the labels needs to be understandable to the citizens and therefore, an easy to understand and simplified language is used. This means that depending on the national language used in the particular country, the warning labels will differ.
Tobacco advertising also differs geographically depending on the competition levels in that particular country. This means that advertising may differ in regions of the world due to competition. In countries where there are many firms offering tobacco products in the same market, advertising is done on a wide scale in order to gain a favorable share of the market.
For example, if three brands operate in the United States and each wants to gain a favorable share of the market for its tobacco product, the firms producing these brands conduct numerous advertisement campaigns to lure the public to take more of their product (Saunders, 2003).
Tobacco advertising also affects the exportation of tobacco products from one country to another. This is due to the increased tobacco awareness, owing to the campaigns by different bodies such as the World Health Organization and the government. Countries may also ban poor quality tobacco products from exportation to other countries. This is due to health reasons, as they are of poor quality and can cause many health risks.
Cultural issues of tobacco advertising
Smoking has been part of people’s culture even in the past. Different cultures however smoked different things, which were not necessarily tobacco. Advertising was not much in the past days as it is presently. Due to the competition between different companies producing tobacco products, advertising has increased.
Culturally, mature men were the people who were associated with smoking, and it was not common to see the youth smoking. Advertising has changed this culture as the adverts try to show that smoking is ‘cool’ (Heath, 1997). This gives the wrong idea to the young who admire smoking and they end up smoking at a young age.
One big aspect that has changed in the culture of tobacco use is that in the past, women, especially African women, used tobacco by putting it in their mouth while the men put tobacco in their nostrils (Sheehan, 2004). This habit has changed a lot since today’s generation does not do that anymore.
Advertising of tobacco has been more on cigarettes and thus most men and women of today smoke cigarettes. Initiation ceremonies also used tobacco as a proof of manhood, and someone had to go through initiation in order to use tobacco. This has changed greatly.
Tobacco advertising should be banned since tobacco has the following bad effects on smokers; it cuts down economic performance of the smokers, it brings poverty, it causes harm to the environment especially due to the pollution caused by smoke and it causes diseases especially cardiovascular disease.
Tobacco, together with its advertising has a number of positive effects on economies and social lives of countries. The discussion above lists all the possible benefits of tobacco smoking and tobacco advertising. Some of these benefits include the fact that tobacco helps in dealing with asthma attacks especially in the absence of inhalers, some smokers gain acceptance from others when they engage in tobacco smoking, it earns the country a lot of revenue, it induces concentration especially for addicts and it is also a stress reliever.
Numerous countries practice tobacco advertising while a score of others ban the practice. From this discussion, it is vital to consider banning the practice of tobacco advertising in all countries due to the negative influence that it has on young people, its health effects and due to its ability to addict smokers. The latter is a big problem because it may cost many resources to rehabilitate addicted individuals.
Chapman, S. (2007). Public health advocacy and tobacco control: Making smoking history. Oxford: Blackwell.
Heath, R. L. (1997). Strategic issues management: Organizations and public policy challenges. Thousand Oaks [u.a.: Sage.
Napier, K., & American Council on Science and Health. (1992). Issues in tobacco. New York?: American Council on Science and Health.
Pampel, F. C. (2009). Tobacco industry and smoking. New York: Facts On File, An imprint of Infobase Pub.
Saunders, K. W. (2003). Saving our children from the First Amendment. New York: New York University Press.
Shalala, D. E. (1999). Tobacco use among U.S. racial/ethnic minority groups. Washington D.C: Diane Publishing Co.
Sheehan, K. B. (2004). Controversies in contemporary advertising. California: Sage Publications.