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OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS & VIEWS : MY TURN : Alcohol and Tobacco Advertisements Are Beautiful Examples of Hypocrisy

January 13, 1994|June Chang | June Chang, 16, is a junior at Huntington Beach High School. This article first appeared in the student newspaper, the Oiler.

On flashes a commercial, with beautiful young men and women having the time of their lives at a poolside party, each holding a can of beer.

Every day in the media we are shown situations promoting the use of legal drugs, whether it's alcohol or tobacco. This glamorization of drugs is everywhere: on billboards, in magazines, on TV, on radio.

The media are extremely powerful influences in our society, and we must stop their support of drug use if we ever hope to win the war on drugs. People get the message that using drugs can change their image by making them more attractive or popular. In women's fashion magazines, there are Virginia Slims and Capri advertisements with beautiful models elegantly holding cigarettes.

This widespread promotion of tobacco becomes even more ridiculous in ads that actually portray athletic smokers! One cigarette ad shows a group of men white-water rafting. The ad is extremely hypocritical: Smoking actually inhibits athletic activity by damaging the lungs, and leading to diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema.

The "Alive With Pleasure!" slogan by cigarette manufacturer Newport tops them all. It flies in the face of the well-documented facts about the hazards of smoking and how it shortens lives.

And, as if nothing else in the world matters if you have your favorite beer, a commercial on TV shows a man stranded on a desert island who is unconcerned because he has his Keystone Light.

These ad writers are experts at their art. They know exactly what to do to make us remember their product. How many times have you caught yourself unconsciously singing that familiar "Nothing Beats a Bud" jingle?

What's even worse about all this advertising of legal drugs is that a lot of it is targeted toward children and young adults. The ads for Camel cigarettes have used an animated character, Joe Camel, that appeals to young children. Even in the popular TV show "Beverly Hills 90210," one of the main characters, Brenda, smokes.

However, there is still hope to end this blatant support of drug use. Many commercials now promote a drug-free America by urging parents to talk to their kids about drugs.

TV shows such as "Family Matters" and "Roseanne" address the importance of staying off drugs. Cigarette commercials have already been banned from television.

It may take a lot of time and hard work, but if we are truly willing to abolish the media's support of drug abuse, it can be done.

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