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Effectively Addressing a Counter Argument

Topic: Solutions for decreasing the number of young people who begin smoking.
Thesis: The media – particularly movies, television shows, and video games – should
take more proactive steps to mitigate their negative influence.

Steps:
1.) Identify and explain one argument opponents to your argument often use:
“Opponents of mandating health warnings about smoking in films will claim that smoking is not
the only hazardous activity shown in films and that it would be impossible to include a warning
about every behavior that is potentially harmful in a movie.”

2.) State your counter argument:


“Simply because we should regulate films with smoking scenes doesn’t mean we should also put
warnings in movies portraying car chases or shootouts to protect people from misuse of guns or
cars, for example.

3.) Provide proof and/or explanation supporting your counter argument:


“Cars and guns do not kill people; drivers and gun owners kill people, and the potential danger
inherent in each of them is well recognized. In contrast, the use of cigarettes in movies appears
deceptively safe and attractive. For example, Bruce Willis’ character in Die Hard chain smokes
Marlboro’s to enhance his “tough-guy-who- can- survive anything” image. This misperception of
smoking as harmless and cool has contributed to the increasing rate of young people who start
smoking (3% per year since 1991) (Brady 12); whereas the rate of young people who have died in
a car accident has remained relatively consistent since 1981 (Farnsworth 46).”

Opponents of mandating health warnings about smoking in films will claim that smoking

is not the only hazardous activity shown in films and that it would be impossible to include a

warning about every behavior that is potentially harmful in a movie. Simply because we should

regulate films with smoking scenes doesn’t mean we should also put warnings in movies

portraying car chases or shootouts to protect people from misuse of guns or cars, for example.

Cars and guns do not kill people; drivers and gun owners kill people, and the potential danger

inherent in each of them is well recognized. In contrast, the use of cigarettes in movies appears

deceptively safe and attractive. For example, Bruce Willis’ character in Die Hard chain smokes

Marlboro’s to enhance his “tough-guy-who- can- survive anything” image. This misperception of

smoking as harmless and cool has contributed to the increasing rate of young people who start

smoking (3% per year since 1991) (Brady 12); whereas the rate of young people who have died in

a car accident has remained relatively consistent since 1981 (Farnsworth 46).