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Daly 1 Tim Daly Cynthia Mazzant English 137H 28 October 2013 The Marlboro Who? We live in a changing world.

We have a changeable constitution, changing media role models, and changing global economy. TV shows and superstars come and go. Diseases devastate our populations but then are cured. We suffer, then learn, and then adapt. That is what makes us great. But one thing that weve suffered from, learned about, and still not adapted to is smoking. Years ago we smoked without knowledge of the dangers it presented us. We now know how bad smoking is for us, yet many Americans still engage in the dangerous activity. The perception of smoking has changed greatly in the past 50 years. Before its dangers were accepted, it was common to see in the workplace and in public. It was seen, and perceived in the media, as cool. Thirty years ago, almost 45% of American adults smoked. That number is stunning for someone growing up in a culture nowadays where far fewer make this bad decision. However, we all know people in our lives that have been affected by smoking or may die from it, and want to understand how they could make such a bad decision in their lives. The truth is, perception is key. The media portrayal of smoking over the years has changed with Americans change in smoking habits. When smoking was more popular and its dangers unknown, the ads for smoking were all over. One particular ad that is recognizable to almost all baby boomers and generation Xers is the Marlboro Man. I had heard of him and could

Daly 2 guess which company he was with, but had no idea what he looked like until I looked him up fro this paper. When I asked some random students walking around campus, they didnt know either. Lone Ranger? Was he from Cowboys vs. Aliens? Who was this figure that was known by all of our parents? Upon explanation, one student remarked, the Marlboro who? All of this just shows us how advertising has changed in the past few decades. The Marlboro Man is considered by some to be the most brilliant advertising campaign ever. CNBC has it 3rd in a ranking of advertising campaigns of the 20th century. Other ads from a few decades ago portray images of doctors smoking cigarettes, saying that doctors trust their health with them, so you should too. Another common theme is beautiful skinny women smoking in ads, so if you want to be like that you should too. Smoking was portrayed to the adolescents of America as cool, safe, and even something that can aid your appearance by helping you lose weight. One ad I came across shows Santa Claus smoking. This is an image I doubt youd ever encounter in todays world, but one that was shown in the past and affected the previous generation. These ads undoubtedly encouraged smoking for adolescents and lured them into the trap that is smoking. The event that triggered the change from 45% of Americans smoking to the 19% we see today was the Surgeon Generals Report of 1964. This report was the stimulus that provided the initial push to start changing the perception of smoking from being cool, to actually being seen as a stupid, worthless, and uncool activity. Along with this report came much more negative publicity and advertisements showing the negative consequences of smoking to the public.

Daly 3 Before the Surgeon Generals Report, we somewhat knew of the negative effects of smoking, but the Tobacco companies paid a lot of money to dispel these proofs. In 2007, a University of California study finally proved the second hand smoking link to cardiovascular disease that the tobacco companies tried so hard to cover up for years and years. This publication has proven to be the nail in the coffin for the tobacco companies. They could not argue that smoking has no ill health effects. Now they cannot argue that second hand smoking has no ill health effects. It only took many years and $20,000 of funding to dispel the claims of the tobacco companies. In this long process, millions of American adolescents fell into the trap of smoking and millions more lost their lives because of it. So if we now know how dangerous smoking is, then why do 60 million Americans still smoke daily? Well, it turns out that 44.2% of those smokers are under the age of 18. So why adolescents? Studies have shown that they value the perceived shortterm gain and little short-term consequence over the undeniable long-term negatives and little possible long-term benefits. Just as in a study where most Americans chose to have $50 now over $60 in a month, these teens are overvaluing the short-term benefit despite the choice being quite a silly one if you looked at it from the perspective where you got $50 in 12 months and $60 in 13 months. The problem is, once the teens start smoking, the nicotine addiction makes it very hard for them to stop. The current advertisements floating around portray the negative long-term benefits to adolescents. If you smoke, youll end up dying from it. Or, if you smoke, youll get wrinkly and smell bad. There are many graphic ads, some portraying former smokers who had their voice boxes removed because of the damage smoking did to

Daly 4 them. These messages do work, only adolescents need those short-term benefits proven wrong and short-term consequences highlighted to keep them from falling into the trap of smoking. The role models previously given to adolescent smokers are no longer there, yet they still smoke. To combat this, fierce anti-smoking ad campaigns have recently overtaken the smoking ads, but they mainly focus on the long term negative effects of smoking. Im not saying that this wont work, but rather that there should be a larger portion of ads and education to teens about the short-term effects. I talked to a few smokers on campus, and what I learned was interesting. They certainly were not a representative sample size for Americas adolescent population, but still gave me some insight on their thought process. Some reasons for smoking despite knowledge of its many negative long-term risks include: relieve stress, someone in their family smokes, and it helped them fit in with a group. The first two answers make sense to me. Its the third one that is really concerning. One smoker admitted that he should probably stop, but its just so hard. Adolescents overestimate their ability to stop whenever they want to. They might think that if all of the consequences are long term, what damage does one time do? Or five? Or ten? Its after those ten and a buildup of the nicotine addiction in their system that they try to stop but cant. At that point its too late for many. What we can learn from these encounters is that adolescents know what theyre potentially getting into when they smoke. I doubt youll find a smoker who doesnt believe what all of the scientific world can agree upon regarding the damage of smoking. I do believe, however, that youll encounter young men and women who think that they can cheat the system and smoke for a short period of time to fit in, then stop when it

Daly 5 doesnt suit them anymore, and before they die of lung cancer. Youll also run into adolescents who try out smoking just like some college kids try out the party life or drugs, only to find out that its much harder for them to stop smoking than it was to stop going to parties. An overestimation of value plus an underestimation of the risk has resulted in the poor rationale used by many adolescent smokers. This topic upsets many people, including me, because the medical information that is available today about the dangers of smoking could have lengthened our relatives lives, yet adolescents nowadays who know how dangerous and dumb smoking is still do it. We are affected by the costs smoking has on our neighbors bodies and in our wallets. Billions of dollars are spent a year on the costs of smoking. Millions of lives are affected in some way. Our perception of smoking can decrease these numbers and make walking around outside Willard Building or the Library on campus more enjoyable by being less polluted by smoke. Advertisements have changed over the years along with the changing smoking market, and to prevent further tragedy, the advertisements and message to current and potential adolescent smokers must again change to fit the times. We must also support those who are battling to stop their addiction and advise others not to start. With a comprehensive effort, smoking in the United States can be lessened even more than it is today, and our world will be safer.

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Bibliography

"Adult Smoking in the US." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Sept. 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. This government website allowed me to gain insight on the impact smoking has on America and how deadly it is to those who engage in it. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Annual Smoking-attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses--United States, 1997-2001."NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 July 2005. Web. 06 Nov. 2013. This study showed me the negative effects smoking had on the lives of smokers and the consequences they and their surroundings (second hand smoking) had from smoking. Green, Matthew. "Who Smokes? The Stats on Lighting Up." KQED News. KQED Inc., 25 May 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. I found information on this resource about the demographic of smokers in America today. Healthy Living Solutions, LLC. "Is Smoking Still "Cool?"" Quit Smoking, Start Now!N.p., 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. I used this site to research the short and long-term effects of smoking and some reasons why people might still smoke despite these harsh realities. Song, Anna V., PhD, Holly E.R. Morrell, PhD, Jodi L. Cornell, MSW, MA, Malena E. Ramos, EdM, Michael Biehl, MA, Rhonda Y. Kropp, MPH, and Bonnie L. HalpernFelsher, PhD. "Perceptions of Smoking-Related Risks and Benefits as Predictors of Adolescent Smoking Initiation." NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. I used this study to research the effect that the perceptions and knowledge of short and long-term consequences that adolescents have on smoking had on their likelihood of smoking. United States of America. Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Samhsa.gov. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007. Web. 1 Nov. 2013. This government document allowed me to see some data on the demographics of smokers in our country and the decrease in smokers in the recent decades.