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To what extent does the print-media influence young people into smoking, in relation to the recent restrictions on tobacco advertising?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

To what extent does the print-media influence young people into smoking, in relation to the recent restrictions on tobacco advertising? Introduction Media messages in our modern society are endemic. They are projected through television, film and radio, by way of advertising, via newspapers and magazines, on the internet and through books, brochures and posters. It is near impossible to escape the constant messages fired from the media, and the extent of its influence upon society has been frequently questioned throughout the years. Despite the deteriorating reputation of smoking, images of it can be witnessed daily through the media, particularly within celebrity magazines. In February 2003, a law was passed banning tobacco companies from advertising their products on billboards, in the print media and even through sport sponsorship. Regardless of their questionable effectiveness, these laws do not forbid images of smoking being printed in newspapers and magazines. Some celebrity magazines may illustrate famous people as 'common' when they are photographed with a cigarette; however the picture is still sold to the masses. This may have a detrimental effect on society, particularly to young people, who may be susceptible to influences from the media. This dissertation aims to provide a study of the literature connected with media influences on tobacco and attempts to relate these to the rise in youth smoking. It will concentrate on and summarize some of the concepts by which these images might influence the uptake of smoking among the youth. Chapter One The dissertation will present information on the UK ban of tobacco advertising and promotion, which occurred on 14 February 2003. The dissertation will investigate the terms of the UK Act in regard to tobacco advertising in the print media and on billboards. Regulations determining the implementation of the sports sponsorship ban will be covered, along with the ban on television cigarette advertising. Other forms of advertising and promotion will be investigated, including internet publicity, cigarette branded clothing and accessories and tobacco sports sponsorship.

Middle

In the chapter, written by David Buckingham he describes the way a child is viewed by society: "Since ancient times, the idea of childhood has been invested with far-reaching hopes and anxieties about the future." Buckingham, D. (1997, 32). With regard to the media, Buckingham explains: "The combination of the two is therefore bound to invoke profound concerns about the continuity of the social order and of fundamental human values." Buckingham, D. (1997, 32). Although the chapter is concerning the effect of violence in the media on children, this theory still supports the notion that media can and does have negative effects on its recipients, especially children and young people. In the eighth chapter of 'Ill Effects', Ian Vine (1997) writes: "The whole point of communicating is to influence one another by conveying information, whether transmission is reciprocal or un-directional." Vine, I. (1997, 125). This point highlights the fact that the media is simply a form of communication which transmits messages to the masses. All of these influences could play a part in encouraging young people to start smoking. Chapter Three Media Representation of Smoking throughout the Years "For decades, Hollywood and the tobacco industry have walked hand in hand, promoting and glamorising tobacco use," states Erin Abraham. "Many of Hollywood's most glamorous stars have smoked, on and off screen." Abraham, E. (1999). According to the Anti-smoking Lobby, it was Hollywood that first taught women to smoke. Famous stars, throughout the Forties and Fifties, such as Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Lauren Bacall helped make cigarettes appear sexy and sophisticated. In a primarily male-dominated society, Erin Abraham claims that "smoking represented a feeling of independence, liberation, power and rebellion for these women." Abraham, the College Smoking on the Rise author, claims that these actresses were role models for women, "who took up smoking to emulate that feeling of independence and sexual attractiveness that appeared on screen."

Conclusion

Abraham, E. (1999). Theories from the book 'Ill Effects', edited by Martin Baker and Julian Petley, (published by Routledge, 1997), support the aforementioned ideas. Extracts taken from the chapter written by Buckingham he describes the way a child is viewed by society: "Since ancient times, the idea of childhood has been invested with far-reaching hopes and anxieties about the future." (Buckingham, 1997, 32) With regard to the media, Buckingham explains: "The combination of the two is therefore bound to invoke profound concerns about the continuity of the social order and of fundamental human values." (Buckingham, 1997, 32) Although the chapter is concerning the effect of violence in the media on children, this theory still supports the notion that media can and does have negative effects on its recipients, especially children and young people. Ian Vine also highlights the point that the media is simply a form of communication which transmits messages to the masses. Vine, I. (1997, 125). If we are to take in to account the theories of Dave Hitt (The Hittman Chronicle, 1999) and Erin Abraham (A Closer Look at the Media's Influence on Tobacco Use on College Campuses, 1999), who believe that young people are affected by the media, then the idea that the media is influencing smoking in young people is a very plausible one. I believe that, although the government has attempted to curb the rise in teen smoking, by issuing the ban on tobacco advertising, there are still images of smoking prevailing through the media, which can never be restricted, governed or banned. In some ways I believe the images of celebrities smoking to be more powerful than some of the advertising campaigns which have been banned. The image of a glamorous celebrity is persuasive and seductive and for some young people, celebrities smoking could definitely prove more influential that tobacco advertising. Having said this, I feel that celebrities and the media can only influence young people to a certain extent, as direct influences from peers and the family are much more influential.

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