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Teenage Smoking

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Teenage Smoking

The smoking of cigarettes is said to be the most over-practiced

addiction in the world. According to the Federal Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, the number of teenage smokers constitute

nearly 40 percent of all teenagers. This percentage continues to

increase despite the fact the oral and medical complications that

arise from smoking are publicly exposed and taught in school. Why is

this so? Perhaps it is a result from peer pressure? Could it be an

emotional escape for teenagers dealing with difficult situations?

Maybe it is fun and exciting for a teenager to rebel and start

smoking, but whatever the reason, the advertisement of tobacco

products definitely play a role to influence teenagers to start


Tobacco products in the United States are advertised more than

automobiles are. It is also the only legal product that causes death

and disability when used as intended. Tobacco companies in 1993 spent

more than $6 billion on promotions and advertising, and in that $6

billion, $756 million was spent on novelty items such as tee shirts,

lighters, hats, free samples of tobacco, and product catalogs. In a

1992 Gallop Poll, 74 percent of the American public believed that

tobacco advertisements were meant to encourage children to smoke. The

tobacco companies are persistent in saying that their advertisements

are not meant for anyone under the age of 21. However, the largest

increase in teen smoking was in 1988, the year Joe Camel was

introduced nationally. Tobacco companies have also created things like

the Philip Morris Marlboro Adventure team, which depicts adventures

being no fun without cigarettes. A national survey found that about 86

percent of teen smokers who bought their own cigarettes preferred

Marlboro or Newport cigarettes; Marlboro and Newport cigarettes are

the most heavily advertised brands of cigarettes. Tobacco companies

have a reputation for misleading and often times beguiling

advertisements. By projecting images of fun, sexiness, glamour, being

macho, and healthfulness, smoking appears to be a normal activity that

everybody beautiful and popular should engage in. Tobacco companies,

along with advertising agencies and other print media, have had no

problem continuing to produce these misleading advertisements due to

the very powerful lobbying forces they have to represent them in

Congress. Tobacco companies are also allowed to deduct the cost of

promotion and advertising from their taxes as a business expense,

which saves them $1 billion a year in taxes. Saving this much money

allows tobacco companies to keep their advertising strong, and allows

them to reach even more teenagers across the nation. Thanks to this

mass promotion and advertising of cigarettes, it is no wonder teen

smoking has risen for the twelfth year in a row. Each year, smoking

kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes,

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