Teenage Smoking In Canada Essay

2178 words - 9 pages

     In a society where it is not unusual to see a ten year old child smoking a cigarette in public, where large tobacco companies sponsor all big sporting events and where smoking advertisements are everywhere you look, how can it be understood that what is going on is a form of suicide. Smoking is comparable to a serial killer; a cigarette acts as the weapon used by tobacco companies and its victims subjecting themselves by their own free will to participate in the crime.

     The governments of the United States and many other countries have chosen to regulate addictive substances, like cigarettes, via taxation; minimum-age purchase laws; restrictions on consumption in schools, the workplace, and public places; and stiff fines for driving under the influence of alcohol. The prices of these substances will rise because of taxation; other forms of regulation, and bans. Thus, measuring their responsiveness to price is important in determining the optimal level of taxation and the impacts of legalization. Contrary to conventional wisdom, studies find that the consumption of addictive substances is quite sensitive to price.

     Teen smoking has been increasing since 1991. There are economic, psychological and sociological factors that play an important role in this increase.
     
     Economically, cigarettes are highly advertised, extremely affordable and accessible to practically anyone. As for the advertisement aspect in the sale of cigarettes, tobacco companies spend billions of dollars per year to advertise their brands. This money is spent on the actual advertisement, and also on manipulating the subconscious minds of teenagers. (Reynolds, 1999) Billboards and magazines lure teenagers to smoke, by using teen idols and appealing photos in their ads. The Canadian Government has been attempting to put a stop to tobacco industries using teen idols in selling their products, by passing Bill C-71, a legislation that forbids tobacco companies from putting up signs for events in which they sponsor. The car racer and teen idol, Jacques Villeneuve can no longer be advertised in his car racing suit as Rothman's cigarettes advertisements are highly visible on it, as this would give off a negative message to teens who look up to him. The only exception to this law however, is that the signs may be put up at the site of the event, in bars or in newspapers which are read by adults. (Scott, 1997) An example of a sporting event is the DuMaurier tennis tournament held in Montreal, and sponsored by the DuMaurier tobacco industry. This event was, until this law was passed, advertised (on billboards, in magazines and on television) all over Montreal. Bill C-71 was an attempt at preventing teenagers from seeing these advertisements, as the government believed this to be an important factor in the growth of youth smokers. This legislation though, was not very effective as statistics show that more than half of Canadian teens have seen advertisements...

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