Most smokers start in their teens and for that reason tobacco companies are determined
to get them hooked. Many smokers drop the habit each year by either quitting or dying (How
Tobacco Advertising Works, 2002). Tobacco companies rely on the constant inflow of new
smokers to maintain profits and that is why advertisements especially target the younger
generation. For every smoker that quits or dies they depend on new ones to take their place.
Young people are perspective customers for many types of products. Young people are
interested in practicing their part as consumers and they spend billions of dollars each year doing
so. For many companies young people are the single most important factor to maintain or
increase their sales and profits because new customers often become long-term customers (The
Role of the Tobacco Industry, 2008). A company that attracts young people to its particular
brand has a high chance that they will become loyal to their company and maintain their profit
for many years to come. This concept applies to tobacco companies as well. A CDC (Center for
Disease Control and Prevention) study showed that 80% of smokers start before the age of 18,
which is why tobacco companies try hardest to attract young people the same as any other
company would, by advertising. Even though Canada’s Tobacco Act (1997) bans advertising of
tobacco products, tobacco companies get most out of an exception to that law that allows them to
promote through publications that maintain an adult readership of at least 85percent.
Unfortunately, this exception does not protect youth from exposure to their deadly products.
Between November 2007 and December 2008 youth have been exposed to reappearing tobacco
advertisements by over 400 ads nationwide worth roughly $4.47 million dollars. Examples are
Vogue, Sports Illustrated, People, and Sport. In addition to the advertisements published in
magazines and daily newspapers they also appeared in weekly entertainment papers, a free, curb-
side box magazine available to everyone, making it impossible to control its access to youth. In
2000, Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada found that 20,000 retailers in Canada put in view
some type of tobacco advertising and ACNielsen found that 4 in 10 retailers were willing to sell
cigarettes to children. (Teen Smoking – Statistics and Prevention, n.d.)Therefore, it is evident
that tobacco companies need to give this kind of unrestricted access to teens because the more
they see advertisements of cigarettes, the more likely they are to smoke and become regular
False advertising is common in tobacco ads. They show beautiful people being “cool”,
independent and rebellious. They target the new insecurities that teens have about appearance
and popularity and use those insecurities to make empty promises (Tobacco Advertising and
Teens, 2007). Companies use different ways to attract males and females to...