Prohibition of Tobacco Advertising

My question is that is it unfair to stop tobacco companies from advertising their product? Does this represent a contradiction of American economic traditions?

Personally I would think no considering their target demographic are teenagers. But I’m sure its a topic up for discussion!

There are many products marketed to teenagers, including some that are unhealthy and addictive (soda, anyone?). If there’s a reason to single out tobacco, age has nothing to do with it.

hrmmm very valid point.

Unfair? I don’t know about unfair, but it is stupid. Not a single study has ever demonstrated that advertising leads to an increase in smoking by teens or anyone else. Advertising does influence the brand of smokes that people choose, but the decision to smoke or not to smoke has nothing to do with advertising. So, if the goal of reducing tobacco advertising is to reduce smoking, it won’t work. Since the amount of smoking is not influenced by advertising, it doesn’t seem rational to limit the ability of tobacco companies to compete for their own share of the market, and therefore I conclude that such restrictions are a contradiction of American economic tradition.

See thats just the thing. Studies have shown that when companies advertise (like camel for instance) sales go up. Take their logo the camel cartoon. Their sales dramatically increased and many believed that it was because the cartoon figure resembled something that might intrigue a kid

Yes, their sales go up, but that doesn’t mean more people are smoking, or that the people that smoke are smoking more. Restrictions on advertising are not going to dent the net amount of smoking that goes on.


If this opinion is accurate, then advertising in general doesn’t work.

You might want to read some of the reports and studies here -


TITLE 15, CHAPTER 36, Sec. 1335.

After January 1, 1971, it shall be unlawful to advertise cigarettes and little cigars on any medium of electronic communication subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.


Well, this opinion is based on a paper I wrote in college, so I don’t have a cite perfectly handy, but my understanding is that tobacco products fall into what in advertising is called a “mature market” that is everyone is presumed to know of their exsistence and how they work. Think of it like toothpaste, there are ads on television for toothpaste, are these ads desinged to get people to brush their teeth? No. They are only designed to capture market share for individual brands of toothpaste. If Crest launches a new toothpaste and advertises it heavily, their sales may go up for that brand but the net sales of toothpaste are unlikely to change.

I’m not going to read all those articles, but if you have one in mind you’d like to point me to I will.

Ok, I’m not going to read this whole thing, but if there is a specific portion you want to direct my attention to, I’ll be happy to look at it.

Ok, this I did read, since it is short and in bullet form. There is nothing in this cite that stands for the proposition that advertising influences the decision to smoke or not, other than the second bullet there on the left that says:

I have not read the study they cite for that proposition, but even in bullet form this statement does not proport to prove a link between advertising and smoking. The cited study post-dates my college paper, so perhaps the literature has changed.

Still, all the other bullets on that page mearly point out that tobacco companies do a lot of advertising. This is not surprising, especially if advertising has no impact on the number of people that smoke. Since the number of people that smoke is more or less fixed and beyond the influence of tobacco companies, they have to fight very hard for market share.

Doesn’t this bolster the claim even more? No television or radio advertising since 1971; the most effective means of advertising, and yet smoking continues…

Rhum Runner: if their sales go up it has to mean that either more people are smoking or they’re normal smokers are smoking more. There really are no other explanations otherwise.

Be carefull when you make the claim that there are no other explanations. In this case I can think of at least one other explanation (and I think I said this before): advertising influences people to shift from one brand to another, it doesn’t influence the primary decision of whether or not a person will smoke.

To state it explicitly again since I’m not sure you are getting my point: The fact that sales for a brand go up when you advertise does not necessarily mean that either more people are smoking or that the peoople who smoke are smoking more.

Rhum Runner: Alright i understand, but still some habitual smokers have their preffered brands regardless of advertisements. Maybe the question would be better phrased if i asked Why are Tobacco companies singled out? Why are they not allowed to advertise when alcohol companies and other such products are permitted too

P.S. im kind of new how do you do the reply thing?

*Originally posted by roheat *
Why are Tobacco companies singled out? Why are they not allowed to advertise when alcohol companies and other such products are permitted too/


Because smoking is thought to be a major health problem, and an easy way for politicians to appear to “do something” is to come out against smoking and advertising.

As to hard alcohol, I believe that the television ban is a form of self censorship more than a government regulation. Booze is heavily advertised in print magazines. Certainly beer is heavily promoted on television. Interestingly, I doubt that beer advertising does much to promote drinking. Beer is probably another mature market, and beer advertising is directed at capturing market share, not growing the market.

The easy way is to click on the “quote” button under each post. Go over to the “About this Message Board” forum and you can practice posting skills.

Ah, well I see I need some practice myself!

If you can dig up any cites on this, it would be interesting to see. I’m not exactly following your logic: just because people know what the product is doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded to use it if they currently don’t. I know what a hamburger is, but advertisers know that if they show me a juicy hamburger right before dinner, I might be persuaded to go buy one, even if I hadn’t planned on it.

I assume you did some research for your paper - you claim that “not a single study” shows that advertising increases smoking. Does that mean you have read every study ever done? If so, do those studies show that advertising doesn’t increase smoking? It would be a stronger claim to say “studies show not x”, than to say “no studies show x” - the latter is simply argument from absence of evidence.

But is that really analagous? Brushing your teeth is a necessity; at least if you want to keep your teeth. Smoking may be an addiction, but it’s not a neccessity.

I thought smoking was on the decline. Am I wrong about that? And even if it’s not, you can’t claim that it proves the ineffectiveness of television advertising towards attracting new smokers unless you control for all other factors.

I’ll be happy to look into it more in a few days, but I can’t dig them up right now.

No problem. I’ll be here.:wink:

As long as tobacco is legal I think it’s unfair at best to ban cigarette producers to advertise. To give you a good example of how extreme the “anti tobacco advertising” thingy can get, here in Iceland tobacco ads are not allowed anywhere. Also, you can not see tobacco products in stores here; the stores have to keep the cigarettes hidden. God forbid children should see the tobacco, they’re sure to start smoking, right? You should have seen the lengths the local tobacco store had to go to, can you imagine having a store full of wares you are suddenly no longer allowed to display?

However, foreign magazines are sold here and they tend to have a lot of tobacco ads. Formula 1 racing is also fairly popular here and of course there are a LOT of tobacco ads there. So this law, like most other anti-tobacco laws, is just stupid, unfair and worthless.

As a smoker myself I would really not object if the government would simply ban tobacco, after all it is dangerous and with all the information we now have about the harm tobacco can cause we should have no hesitation to ban it. The thing is that there is a lot of money in the tobacco industry (duh…) and the government (here at least) is making a killing through taxes and tolls and whathaveyous…

The point I’m trying to make here is the hypocrisy (spelling?) of it all, if you want to help rid the world of smoking just ban it already. While it is legal it is must be our right to smoke where we want to as long as it doesn’t hurt others (and no, second hand smoking has never been proven to be dangerous as far as I know) and it is just ridiculous to ban smoking in bars and forbid a legal industry to advertise its products. But then again I have always been a firm believer in individual freedom…