How Tobacco Advertisements are Over Exaggerating the Harm of Tobacco Use

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Tobacco has been around since the early 1500’s and has been used at all ages since then. But tobacco use in teens wasn’t acknowledged until the mid 1900’s when tobacco advertisement was big and teens were taking advantage of the system. After advertisement for the drug was banned in the 70’s, use in teens has gradually gone down significantly.

It began with the image of tobacco changing drastically over the past two decades to reduce teen usage. Smoking tobacco used to be politically correct in most situations, like in a lot of early Disney films there would be an adult smoking a form of tobacco at some point in the movie. For example, the Pink Elephant scene in the 1941 Disney film Dumbo, not only did Dumbo get intoxicated in the scene, but as he did the ringmaster in the background is seen smoking a cigar with a couple other people. This of course was not a big deal at the time the film came out because at that time tobacco was positively advertised. But now instead of the positive image tobacco used to have, you now see a very negative image to scare off not only teens from using, but also adults.

As a matter of fact advertising for tobacco now uses scare tactics like saying smoking will turn your lungs black and that using tobacco can give you diseases in most of your vital organs. They also have people come in that suffer from throat cancer to give their opinion and talk about their regret from smoking/using tobacco.

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However, the advertisements are factual they are also a bit extreme. The people that they talk about and use in their commercials smoked insane amounts of cigarettes. Theoretically, to get as sick as those people, you’d have to smoke at least three to four packs a day for 20 years plus. The average smoker can get that sick as well, it just takes more time for the sickness to develop as mentioned by “CDC - Surgeon General's Reports - 2000 - Smoking & Tobacco Use.”

Given these points quitting tobacco use is highly recommended in all circumstances, but wasn’t brought to light until the early 1970’s when death from tobacco induced sickness’ started getting more frequent. In the article “Deaths | Tobacco Atlas” it states “Tobacco use is responsible for approximately 430,000 deaths each year--one of every five persons.” which is a higher death toll than annual car accidents.

Although quitting is the best option, after smoking for 10 years plus your health is permanently at risk according to “Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking | CDC.”

Most people who quit before then usually don’t have many health problems and live long lives, but tobacco does not just affect your health, it also affects your appearance and hygiene. Smoking cigarettes can make your skin age faster making you look 10 years older than your actual age, and the burning chemicals in the cigarettes turn your fingers and teeth to a brownish yellow color as mentioned in “National Center for Health Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Aug. 2017.

Furthermore, tobacco has had its grip on many lives for decades and thankfully tobacco companies are now trying to promote awareness for the harm it can cause on a person rather than try to get more people trapped in the chain.

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How Tobacco Advertisements are Over Exaggerating the Harm of Tobacco Use. (2021, January 12). WritingBros. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from
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