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. A study by the Centre for Media Education on pro-smoking websites will be detailed in the dissertation, as will the sinister attempts to endorse smoking to teenagers by tobacco companies. The subject of anti-smoking campaigns, the latest larger health warnings on cigarette packets and the increasing cost of cigarettes will all be detailed in the dissertation.
Chapter Two The next issue to be covered is the rise of teenage smoking, throughout Britain, and the health risks involved. The dissertation will research into studies of young smokers that have been conducted and attempt to understand why the habit is adopted. The dissertation will look closely into the image of smoking held by young people and investigate into the suggestion that some see it as ‘cool’ and as ‘rebellion chic’.
Chapter Three The dissertation will then investigate the ways in which the media has represented smoking and the tobacco industry through the years. It will also cover the glamorous image of smoking in Hollywood through the decades, as depicted by movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn and James Dean. Chapter three will look at modern day Hollywood celebrities and discuss their presence in the media. The dissertation will then investigate the extent to which the media may influence children and young people and external theories will be included as evidence to support the supposition.
Chapter Four The dissertation will then provide an overview of some of the literature relevant to the study of media uses and effects. An in depth study will then be conducted into the way in which celebrity magazines, teen magazines, general magazines and newspapers feature images of celebrities smoking. Perceptions of ‘rebellion chic’ can be generated through the image of a supermodel, such as Kate Moss, or a Hollywood film star, such as Colin Farrell, being featured in a photograph smoking. The dissertation will include such images of celebrity smokers, taken from these sources of print media and analyze them individually, according to the attached article or caption.
The way in which the celebrity is portrayed and the image they exude to the reader will be studied. The dissertation aims to discover whether these images can influence a young person, who may be a fan of the celebrity in question, to start smoking, if they see it as ‘cool’ and chic. The dissertation will look at the photographs of celebrity smokers to discover whether they exude an image of rebellion and look closely into whether this may make an impression a young person.
The final section of the dissertation provides a further discussion on the experimental findings in the context of the aforementioned theories. The dissertation will then incorporate theories of media effects with the hypothesis that images of celebrities smoking in the print media may influence young people into smoking. Ideas from sections throughout the dissertation will be discussed in order to draw informed conclusions on the subject. The theories will then give an indication of the extent to which young people are susceptible to influence by the media and in particular the print media. Essentially, the dissertation aims to find a correlation between media images of smoking and the reputation it has with the younger generation as being taboo chic and identify issues of media influences.
Chapter One The Ban on Tobacco Advertising in the UK Over the past several decades, the limits of tobacco advertising have been heavily scrutinised. As a multi million pound industry, tobacco companies have been increasingly limited in the way in which they advertise their products. Ash (The Action on Smoking and Health) website, states that from September 2001 to August 2002, UK tobacco companies spent 25 million on tobacco advertising. This figure excludes sponsorship and indirect advertising. 11 million was spent on press advertising, 13.2 million went on out door billboards, radio advertising pulled in 714,550 and 106,253 was spent on direct mail. Ash. (2002).
For many years, sport has been one of the more popular investment choices for tobacco companies, enabling them to promote their brands. The most recent figures estimate that tobacco companies have pledged around ï¿½8 million a year, on the sponsorship of sport and an additional ï¿½70 million on Formula One in the UK. Extensive resources have been spent further, on shop front and point of sale advertising, promotional offers and brand stretching. This has led to the mainstream appearance of tobacco brand logos on fashion clothing and accessories. Ash. (2002).
Ash confirms that both tobacco advertising and promotion were banned in the UK on 14 February 2003, due to the passage of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act in December 2002. The Act will also be adhered to throughout the European Union, following an EU Directive. The terms of the UK Act state that tobacco advertising in the print media and on billboards will be prohibited from 14 February 2003, and direct mail and other promotions must end by 14 May 2003. Regulations determining the implementation of the sports sponsorship ban, the banning of brand sharing (indirect advertising) and point of sale advertising will be announced in the near future.