Smoking Versus Alcohol Advertising

How many times do we see beer commercials or other alcohol related advertisements while watching our favorite show? We see beautiful people having so much fun drinking and partying, with the small print at the bottom of the screen saying drink responsibly. Have these people ever been to a bar? All the crowds of drunken patrons, stumbling around each other tying to find the people they came with. Always someone is getting sick in the bathroom, or wherever they happen to find. It surely does not include people leaving the bars driving home plastered, some not making it home at all. The innocent people who are killed everyday by a drunk driver. It does not tell of the broken families that had to suffer through a family member being an alcoholic. The next morning you have the hangovers, doing things you cannot remember or just downright regret. This is just the sometimes, immediate effect of drinking, not to mention the health risks. It is not just on television, we have billboards, magazines, and posters everywhere. Let us face it the media makes drinking look very inviting, but only for the reason of selling their product.

The problem I have is why the government and the media chose to ban cigarette advertisements. In 1971 Congress but a ban into effect, that would not allow cigarette advertisements on the radio or television. Since then there have been warnings placed on all forms of tobacco, and Billboards have been replaced with anti-smoking messages. Camel cigarettes started a campaign trying to reach younger smokers (19-45); it was the introduction of Joe camel. They believed their cigarette was labeled “An old man’s cigarette.” A study was actually published showing that children between the ages of five and six could recognize Joe Camel better then Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Do not get me wrong, I do not agree with the advertising but I find that study a little hard to believe. My parents smoked my entire childhood and our home was riddled with Joe Camel gear and Marlboro signs. This did not make me want to smoke; it made me hate the shower curtain with Joe Camel on it because it seemed to be staring directly at me. After a long battle, the RJ Reynolds Company voluntarily withdrew the Joe Camel campaign. Next, we have The Winston Cup, which in the last few years has been changed to the Nextel Cup and now Sprint. These changes have been made to the media and sponsorships to get away from the cigarette advertising. We all want a healthy America.

I agree that smoking is harmful and that proper warnings should be in place so that everyone has the knowledge. I am a smoker and an occasional drinker. I just cannot see how alcohol is not as bad as smoking. Alcohol is very damaging to your health and can cause immediate death if abused. Smoking is more of a long-term health risk and with everything else may not affect you. I have had many relatives who smoked most of their lives and never had cancer or a breathing problem. I have also lost other relatives who suffered through long illnesses such as cancer and other smoking related problems. I have lost three friends to being hit by a drunk driver, and others who were driving drunk. As with everything we, do there is a chance of damage to ourselves. In my opinion, people with the right information can make their own, personal choice on whether they want to smoke or drink. The advertising needs to go both ways.

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