Essay on Advertisement: Anti-Smoking and Anti-Drinking Ads

Are Anti-Smoking Ads More Acceptable in Advertising than Anti-Drinking Ads?

Surgeon General Luther L. Terry, M.D., released the first report on smoking and its effect on the health of Americans in 1964. Multiple articles supported the concern citing that cigarette smoking could cause cancer. Congress went on to adopt the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965.[1] For the last 40 years, Americans have been inundated with the dangers of smoking while simultaneously being courted with the allure of drinking adult beverages.

From sexy models leaning seductively on sports cars to Clydesdales prancing proudly because of a vast history, or a Maytag serviceman promoting drinking your favorite adult beverage that has been securely stored for your pleasure, drinking alcohol is still an all-time American favorite.

There are three propositions that support the premise that there are no anti-alcohol ads. Anti-smoking campaigns have been considerably more successful because their marketing campaigns have been more efficient. The alcohol industry is considerably larger than the cigarette industry, having more money to market alcohol usage (with moderation) as an acceptable American pastime.

Groups such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and CPAP (Coalition for the Prevention of Alcohol Problems) have difficulty combating the alcoholic beverage industry. Existing organizations  don’t have the support they need to create effective public campaigns that better inform the general population of the hazards of alcohol and garner lobbying support to influence governmental policies that address excessive drinking.

A recommended solution, would be to join an organization such as CPAP whose agenda consists of such remedies as the:

  • Placement of rotating health and safety messages in all alcohol advertisements.
  • Equal time for health and safety messages in the broadcast medium.
  • Elimination of ads that promote the association of drinking and risky activities.
  • Reform of alcohol ads that associate drinking with sexual and social success.
  • Restrictions on the promotional activities of alcohol companies on college campuses.
  • Restrictions on alcohol advertisements that target youth.
  • Disallowance of tax deductions for alcohol advertising.[2]

In other words, the lobbying engine is there, an aggressive marketing strategy could be the fuel that would remedy the problem of excessive drinking.

Reference List

  1.  History of the Surgeon General’s Reports on Smoking and Health. (2009, July 6). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from
  2. Coalition for the Prevention of Alcohol Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from

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