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Tolulope Lawal

Period 6
November 6, 2015
AP Senior English
Ms. Hollins
Rhetorical Analysis on Ads
The New Age of Cigarettes
Tobacco has been used for centuries. The first most prominent accounts of tobacco use
date back to Pre-Colombian Central America (about 6000 B.C), where it was said to be used for
religious and medicinal purposes. It did not gain commercial popularity until its introduction, by
Christopher Columbus, to sixteenth century Europe. This popularity was due in part by its
reputation for stress relief, temporary relaxation, and its easy accessibility. Smoking was a way
for people, especially those in poor and working classes, to withdraw from their hectic,
burdensome lifestyles. Eventually, Cigarette smoking became a societal norm as almost 50
percent of everyone in the twentieth century participated. Advertisements displayed celebrities
and even physicians recommending the activity as a source of leisure. But as awareness of its
harmful, potentially cancerous, effects became acknowledged, cigarette use, and sales, declined
drastically. Today only about nineteen percent of Americans partake in the activity as opposed to
the forty two percent of participants during the twentieth century. Most advertisements in the
twenty first century display the dangers of tobacco, but new technology has begun to glorify
cigarette use. Though society has adopted a more critical view on the use of cigarettes, the
acceptance of their use has begun to re-manifest due to the emergence of e-cigarettes and their
high-class association.
A majority of modern media depict a more distasteful look of tobacco. One particular ad
is the FDAs Real Cost commercial which conveys, not the monetary cost of tobacco use, but

the real, more harmful costs to ones health. In this commercial, a young girl, perhaps between
the ages of fifteen to twenty, is attempting to purchase a pack of cigarettes from a convenience
store. As she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a paper bill to make her transaction, the
cashier declines the money and asks for more, as in a small layer of her skin. The girl looks at
the cashier with apprehension all the while prying off a piece of skin from her face. The cashier
then goes to tell the girl, See you again. And as she makes her way out of the convenience
store, the voice- over makes a claim about how smoking can have an aging effect on your
smooth skin. The audience in question is most likely young, impressionable teenagers. The
FDA intends to advise young people of the impact cigarette smoking can have on ones health
and skin through sources that they can relate to, and via a thought provoking idea. The young,
average looking girl is meant to appeal to the average teenager as one of their own. As she pries
the skin off of her face, young viewers experience a vicarious peeling of their own faces. The
cashiers uttering of the words see you again gives the action of the girl a cyclical effect. One
does not just pay once; the addicting nature of smoking makes it so that buyers continue to risk
their precious youth.
The commercial makes an appeal most apparently to logos. The FDA urges viewers, most
prominently young people, to re-assess their choices when smoking. The claim is backed up by
facts stating that smoking Menthols and other cigarettes cause wrinkles that age you prematurely. This claim makes it so that readers are able to make a logical decision about smoking.
There are also appeals towards pathos and ethos. The peeling of the girls skin has viewers to
empathize with the actor, thus provoking emotions of revulsion, distaste, and discomfort. This is
an appeal towards pathos. Ethos is seen in the ethical views on the acceptance of tobacco use. It

is obvious that the makers of the ad intend on dissuading viewers from tobacco use by making a
horrid analogy.
As traditional cigarettes lose popularity, e-cigarettes have been substituted in their place.
E-cigarettes made their commercial debut in the United States in 2007, and came about as a
healthier alternative. Though they have recently been proven to be just as harmful as regular
cigarettes, it has not halted their growing popularity amongst both smokers and previous nonsmokers. One popular e-cigarette brand is Blu Electronic Cigarettes. One of their ads in
particular features a beautiful woman of ambiguous age (perhaps 18-30) in a semi-sensual,
glamorous position holding what is most likely a Blu E-Cigarette. On top of the ad are the words
Smoke in Style and Freedom never goes out of Fashion. The audiences at hand are regular
Americans, most likely women. The ad resonates to them because of its claims towards the
American dream of wealth, glamour, and freedom. The womans chic countenance as she holds
the cigarette gives e-cigarettes connotations of elegance, making the audience want to be as
elegant as she is. The audience sees the ad and does not relate it to the repugnant notoriety that
previous cigarettes had. Instead, they see the e-cigs as harmless, trendy and cool. The ad also
reads: control when and where you want to smoke This statement is an attempt to increase the
acceptance of e-cigarette use. If smokers are able to smoke where they want, then traditional
cigarette smokers will want to purchase e-cigarettes themselves in order to partake in that
This ad mostly makes an appeal towards ethos. The company, Blu E-Cigarettes, attempts
to convince Americans of the validity of smoking by saying that an e-cig is an ultimate
accessory and smarter alternative. The makers of the ad intend on changing Americans
mindsets towards cigarette smokers, and make smoking an acceptable part of society. The ad

makes an appeal towards logos by stating facts such as: blu produces no tobacco smoke and no
ash, only vapor. This claim has the audience to deliberate the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes
vs. traditional cigarettes. This statement re-affirms the validity of smoking Blu by making the
audience feel as if e-cigarettes are a more logical choice. The ad also makes a slight appeal
towards pathos. By making e-cigarette smoking an acceptable, more ethical part of society, those
who switch to the brand do not feel ostracized; they no longer have to feel bad for smoking.

While the FDA antagonizes cigarette use through candid, vivid, and quite provocative
images, Blu Electronic Cigarettes glorifies the use of e-cigs through one subtle image that allows
for their audience to interpret it as they please. One makes an attempt at dissuasion while the
others intention is persuasion. The FDAs message is clear and concise: smoking is a harmful
activity that should be avoided at all costs. They urge viewers to heed their advice. Blu
Electronic Cigarette on the other hand is more subliminal. They give one vague fact (e-cigs
produce no tobacco smoke and no ash), but keep it at that, leaving off other information about
their product. Of course, the audience does not question this and only sees what the ad gives
them: a trendy, healthier alternative to smoking.
Works Cited
"The History of Tobacco." The History of Tobacco. Boston University MedicalCenter, 31 Jan.
1998. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
"E-cigarette History." Casaa. Casaa. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
"History of Tobacco." History of Tobacco. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
"The Real Cost." The Real Cost. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
"Electronic Cigarettes | Blu ECigs." BluNation. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.