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Shifting cultural attitudes towards smoking - Essay Example

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Shifting cultural attitudes towards smoking

Attitudes towards smoking have undergone considerable changes over the past six decades. In the 1950s, there was minimal, if any, awareness amongst the population regarding the effects of smoking.In fact smoking became a common practice amongst physicians after the World War I. Doctors did not warn people against engaging in smoking, active or passive; some of them were even involved in the promotion of the tobacco industry without disclosing the deleterious nature of smoking (Novella). Advertising companies employed such tactics to make people believe that smoking was not harmful since a large proportion of the doctors smoked. In fact doctors used to recommend patients to smoke to pacify their nerves as exemplified by the advertisements of Camel cigarettes “If you are acting grumpy, then have a smoke and mellow out” (Hoover). Advertisements in the 1940s and 1950s used to reflect the same consumer trend. In one such advertisement, a doctor is questioned “what brand of cigarettes do you smoke, doctor?” (Novella). Novella observes that the 1950s represented a paternalistic relationship between the doctor and the patient. The doctor used to be the final authority and no one used to doubt his judgment. However the 1950s saw a change in the cultural attitudes towards smoking. This change is attributable to the completion of three significant epidemiological studies which concluded a strong relationship between smoking and cancer....
According to Job Fowles, a Harvard University Graduate, by analyzing six advertisements between 1940 and 2000, one can appreciate how subtly advertising has encouraged youth to initiate smoking. One of the reasons why such advertisements have been successful is because they tend to create the impression that smoking can provide what the youth are looking for. Typically, these advertisements have attracted the youth by promoting that they deliver prominence and a means of escape and affiliation to the youth; this has been at least the case for the earlier smoking advertisements. An advertisement of Philip Morris in 1956, for example, focused more on how younger generation, having “fresher, unspoiled tastes” are able to appreciate the “gentleness and delicate flavor” of the cigarettes (Media Awareness Network). Marlboro, in 1955, started featuring well-built men with tattooed arms and the 1960s saw the company showing cowboys and the American West. A lot of money was put into the advertisements of tobacco by tobacco companies, working towards making people believe that smoking was a trendy and fashionable thing. Smoking was classy and enjoyable and was expected to provide sex appeal, style and longevity (Chickenhead Productions). Indy Speedway reviewed the changes in cigarette advertisements over the past few decades. According to it, Camel cigarettes introduced the images of men and commercialized their toughness even in the 1970s. They emphasized on the uniqueness and physical appearance of the men. The advertisements of Camel cigarettes also featured women, admiring the men, and every advertisement used to have a different woman staring at the men. Indy ...Show more

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Attitudes towards smoking have undergone considerable changes over the past six decades. In the 1950s, there was minimal, if any, awareness amongst the population regarding the effects of smoking.In fact smoking became a common practice amongst physicians after the World War I…
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