In the movie Thank You for Smoking two contradictory points of view are presented: while Nick Naylor is certain that smoking needs to be brought back on the screens (because it will impact the tobacco sales), Senator Finisterre presents a ‘new’ way to fight the tobacco industry and protect the children from its harm. However, none of the strategies seems to be efficient, although Nick’s approach can be seen in modern-day ads and movies where smoking is not always connected to psychopaths or Europeans (Thank you for smoking 2005).
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The advantage of Nick’s strategy is that it offers the consumer a role model to follow: if smoking is considered to be ‘cool’, more people, especially young ones, will try to become ‘cool’ using cigarettes. Such an approach was used by Marlboro in their recent campaign (2014) that targeted young adults. However, ethical considerations about the tobacco impact on people’s health are completely neglected by Nick (and Marlboro, too). Nick’s approach is most likely to be effective, but it will be quickly met with indignation from non-smoking parents that will be afraid for their children’s health.
As to Senator’s suggestion, it has proven to be ineffective in our real world. Pictures that can be found on cigarette packages are far more frightening than skulls and crossbones; however, they do not seem to have a huge impact on chain-smokes or others. Moreover, teenagers regard this as the forbidden fruit: if it is dangerous, you should try it. Although such a campaign could be helpful to non-smoking adults who hesitate if they should try smoking or not, it will have zero impact on smokers and teenagers. Moreover, some smokers might point out that these pictures could be spared since they are already aware of the possible risks of smoking.
Beugg, M. (Executive Producer). (2005). Thank you for smoking [DVD]. Century City, CA: Fox Searchlight.