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Discussion-Smoking and Health

Discussion

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a. The surgeon general report in 1964 was highly evidence based backed by science, which wasn’t the case previously. According to the author of Major Tobacco-Related Events in the United States, George Grob, the report Smoking and Health was released. This report took thousands of studies focused on illnesses that cigarette smoking caused such as lung cancer and emphysema and presented them with scientific facts. After this report came out cigarette consumption was reduced by 15%. A big event that I believe “turned the tide” was the fact that insurance companies were offering discounted rates to nonsmokers. This is a big incentive to abstain from tobacco use. This report gave policy makers grounds to regulate the way ads presented smoking to the public, and create an advertising code that companies needed to abide by.

b. In 1968 Philip Morris released the Virginia Slim cigarettes. These had a great impact on woman, and they used the media to feed off of insecurities than women face on a daily basis. They used marketing strategies that emphasized “slim” and “thin” as a means of connecting with women who may have image issues. The ads even went to the extent of showing a woman dressed as a pharaoh, as a means to show power and control. This obviously caused a rise in the number of women who used tobacco, having a negative impact on the overall health of women. According to tobacco free kids, smoking still causes more than 80% of deaths in women due to cancer, and is also associated with spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and SIDS. This marketing strategy would still work in society today. I know as a young woman I have always struggled with body image. In my early 20’s I too smoked as a means to curb my appetite. There were even cigarettes that were created specifically for women in mind. They came in a sparkly pink box, and the paper the tobacco was wrapped in was pink. This to me was a more of a modern day marketing tactic that was largely related to what Philip Morris did with Virginia Slims.

c. In 1995 an article was released by JAMA that showed that tobacco companies knew about the adverse health effects and addictions caused by cigarette use. According to Robert N. Proctor, author of “everyone knew but no one had proof” :tobacco industry use of medical history expertise in US courts, 1990-2002, the argument placed blame on the consumers not the companies themselves. The companies claimed that, everyone had known there was an issue, but there was not sufficient scientific data to back it up. This most likely had an impact on all people who were smokers, but especially those who were middle aged to elderly. When they first began smoking they were under the impression that it was doing no harm to them, only to find out when it was too late that their health was significantly altered.


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