Teenage Smoking

.. en 20 percent” (Judon, 1997). Thus illustrating that much work must still be done to decrease the number of teen smokers. Psychologically, tobacco companies target teens through advertisements. This plays an important role in the increase in teenage smokers. Though many teenagers feel as though advertisements have no influence on them, they, in fact, do. Advertisers are experts at reaching the unconscious of teens.

The unconscious often rejects common sense and allows people to do whatever “feels good” regardless of the consequences. Advertisements emit the impression that more people smoke than actually do. The ‘Marlboro Man’ and ‘Joe Camel’ are two of the greatest contributors in tobacco advertisements, and in the rise of teen smokers, because their ads are directed specifically to teenagers. The reason for this is that advertisements do not tell the truth about smoking, because if they did, tobacco companies would not be as successful as they are today. In Marlboro advertisements for example, the viewer sees a beautiful country scenes, wild horses galloping and cowboys around a fire or on horseback.

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The Camel cigarette advertisements on the other hand, take a different approach in their advertisements. They advertise using a cartoon figure, Joe Camel. This camel is a jock, who wears sunglasses, drives a sports car, plays the saxophone, and has a girlfriend. The Camel advertisements fail to show what Joe Camel would look like if the advertisers told the truth about smoking. If the truth were to be told in Camel advertisements, Joe Camel would probably be seen in a hospital bed, with yellow teeth, dying of lung cancer, as he smoked for so many years and smoking is a life threatening habit.

The truth about smoking would lead to repulsive advertisements. Psychologically, teens become addicted to the relaxing, familiar sensation of handling a cigarette, the taste and watching the smoke. (Reynolds, 1999) Also, another important factor is that, more than 50% of adolescents between the ages twelve and thirteen think that there are benefits to smoking such as, being accepted amongst their peers or just “looking cool”. This is due to advertisements targeting and misleading teens. (Neergaard, 1999) Heath activists are accusing the tobacco companies of lying when they say that they do not target teenagers.

Much research has been put into cigarette advertisements to prove that they are lying. They aim at snaring teenagers into their trap. To do so, they use role models such as Jacques Villeneuve to aid them. Teenagers see him as a young man driving a fast car, leading a risky life, yet being very successful. Conveniently for the tobacco industry, he is sponsored by Rothmans cigarettes.

Jacques Villeneuve is looked at as the modern Marlboro Man, as car racing fits the rugged, individualistic, heroic image of the Marlboro Man (the tobacco industry’s greatest salesman). This leaves teens looking up to Jacques Villeneuve even more and teens wanting to be like him. These advertisements also give teenagers the impression that if they smoke the brand of cigarettes advertised on his helmet, they will end up being just like him. (Scott, 1997) Another psychological factor involved in the increase in teenaged smoking is that female teenagers consider smoking a relaxing and an enjoyable substitute for eating. These females smoke in order to be thin, and are concerned that if they gave up smoking, they would eat more, and would therefore gain weight.

This fact led to overweight female smoking more and more. (Barnaby, 1997) The factor that increases female smoking; to stay thin, is also the leading reason that more females smoke than males do. Smoking is appeared as socially acceptable in advertisements. From 1988 to 1996, there was a jump in teen smokers. The reason for this was that during these years, there was an increase in smoking in films and television shows and also an increase in cigarette advertisements with the introduction of the Joe Camel character all targeting youths.

Camel campaigns utilized “peer acceptance and influence” to motivate the youth audience to take up smoking. (Scott, 1997) The main sociological reason for teens to start smoking though is that is perceived to be something that is considered ‘fun’ or as something for teens to do while they are together. (Barnaby, 1997) The increase in teen smokers is due to the fact that the government has not yet succeeded in convincing teens about the dangers and risks involved in smoking. (Toupin, 2000) Family life also plays an important role in the increase in teen smokers. When a teenager witnesses their parents or family members smoking, they often assume that they too are allowed to become smokers.

This shows just how large the influence that parents have on their children. Among teenagers, there is a great deal of influence between them, and therefore, the most important influence on them to stop smoking must come from other young people. Statistics that have to do with parent smoking and the use of cigarettes at home show that 46% of teens end up being smokers themselves. Cigarette smoking is of interest to the National Institute on Drug Abuse both because of the public health problems associated with this form of substance abuse and because this behavior represents a prototypic dependence process. In the past few years the U.S.

government has made every effort to reach the masses, in an attempt to curb the exploitation of tobacco use, and its acceptance among Americas Youth. The premise that the behavior of adolescents is influenced by the behavior of their parents is central to many considerations of health and social behavior. Many teenagers begin smoking to feel grow-up. However, if they are still smoking when they reach 30, the reason is no longer to feel like an adult; at this point, they are smoking from habit. Goodwin, D. W., Guze, S.

B. (1984).Young children who see older children or family members smoking cigarettes are going to equate smoking with being grown up. Patterns of both drinking and smoking, which are closely associated, are strongly influenced by the lifestyles of family members peers and by the environments in which they live. Minimal, moderate, and heavy levels of drinking, smoking, and drug use, among family members are strongly associated with very similar patterns of use among adolescents. To conclude, one can look economically at the cost of cigarettes, the accessibility of cigarettes, and the amount of money put into advertisements for tobacco. Also psychologically at the effects and real meaning of ads and at females ideas and misconceptions about smoking.

And, finally sociologically, peer and family influence play a huge role in the increase of teen smokers.