Joe Camel: The Jolly Killer Essay

1894 words - 8 pages

Joe Camel: The Jolly Killer What's little, smelly, harmful to your health, and once caught it's hard to get away from them? No, it's not someone's pesky, younger brother. It's the world's worst enemy Mr. Joe Camel and his squad of cancerous friends. Thousands of teenagers are lighting up a cigarette for the first time every day. Some will not continue, some may never fall victim to peer pressure, though many will become addicted. Advertising agencies jobs are to compete with similar companies, sell their products, and entice new buyers. For years the tobacco industry has sensed the purchasing power of teenagers, and enticed America's youth with images of healthy, beautiful people ...view middle of the document...

In the early 1900's, men were more likely to smoke than women. With a rise of women smokers, the tobacco industry realized that they had a wealth of new consumers to draw in. A.D. Lasker, an advertising expert, was hired by the American Tobacco Company to create Lucky Strike advertisements. He printed images of slim women puffing away and inferred that smoking was an aid to diet control and weight loss. Lucky Strike's new slogan was, "Reach for a Lucky Strike Instead of a Sweet" (Gunther 102). Since then, advertisements aimed at women have been promoting the beautiful, sexy smoker image. Parliament promoted feminine cigarettes with so-called ivory or ruby tips that supposedly protected a woman's pretty lips. They neglect to include the yellow teeth, possible halitosis, and coughing fits that are often consequences of regular smoking. What is worse is that until the early 1950's, cigarettes were unfiltered. Filtered cigarettes keep many of disgusting chemicals away from the throat and lungs. This was an ingenious marketing strategy which brushed serious health claims aside. It made consumers think that smoking would not hurt them. The chemicals were still there, but smokers were convinced the harmful ones stayed behind the filter. Wrong. Then again, do smokers really want to know what is in a cigarette? No one ever lights up a cigarette because they want to inhale methanol, benzene and rat poison, do they? How about ammonia, cyanide, or formaldehyde? One would think that by adding coconut oil, fig juice extract, plum juice, coffee, and peppermint oil, that cigarettes wouldn't be half bad. But then they have to contaminate everything with urea? Yuck. There are thousands of chemicals in cigarettes which are barely even pronounceable. The health effects of those chemicals probably cause numerous health problems. With new regulation from the FDA, cigarette companies are required to include warnings on their advertisements and on the packs of cigarettes themselves (Federal Register 65350). However, these warnings are typically intended for pregnant women. Thus, teenagers rarely take notice. If one smokes menthol cigarettes they are putting fiberglass in their lungs. That's comforting, isn't it? With all the severe health effects that are discovered every year, why do thousands of teens try smoking every day? It may be that teenagers wish to look more mature. They want to imitate the sexy, powerful images portrayed in advertisements. Low self esteem may be linked to smoking, though this belief is not well supported. Self-image, however, is a major cause of smoking. The advertisements that show smokers as gorgeous women with flawless skin, sexy male companions, and enticing beach settings, make viewers dream of a similar fairytale life. Some teenage girls are coerced into thinking that by smoking they will be beautiful and men will like them. Teenage boys, who see the rugged cowboy smoking a cigarette in the mountain sunset, wish...

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