Tobacco Advertising Policy Research Papers
Tobacco advertising policy research projects focus on how advertising has changed over the decades. Policy regarding tobacco advertising has also evolved to encompass the various target markets that tobacco companies focus on.
The evidence that cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products was a cause of major disease and posed a serious public health problem began to emerge in the 1960s after cigarette smoking was well entrenched in American society. In addition, the heavy consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by the American public during the first half of the twentieth century had positioned the tobacco manufacturers as a powerful lobby with significant resources to influence governmental policy. As a result of the large number of tobacco consumers and the financial position of the tobacco industry, the health lobby faced a formidable challenge in reducing tobacco consumption by placing tobacco issues such as advertising on the political agenda. The health care lobby focused primarily on educational efforts through the use of a large number of studies establishing the harmful effects of tobacco and demonstrating the financial costs to society that result from tobacco product consumption.
The tobacco industry attempted to maintain the status quo during the 1970s and 1980s through emphasizing the legitimacy of the industry to the public and to political leaders. They did this through the following ways:
- Tobacco Advertising
- Public Relations Campaigns
- Political Lobbying
This effort focused heavily on the use of advertising as the primary method to maintain legitimacy. This approach was based on the premise that advertising supporting the segment of the public that used tobacco products by legitimatising the habit and attracted new users to this population segment. If a significant portion of the public used tobacco products, it was unlikely that the government would alter its existing policy towards tobacco and the industry. In addition to this use of advertising as a component of a broad public relations campaign, the tobacco industry also strongly supported politicians from states in which the industry was an important factor in the economy. As a result, the members of Congress from these states generally opposed any attempt to alter the status quo due to fears that it would produce dissatisfaction among their constituency that was dependant on the tobacco industry for their livelihoods. The tobacco industry was also supported by the advertising industry due to the large amounts that were spent on tobacco advertising.