Anti-Smoking Commercial Aimed at Youth
Re Shawn Hubler’s column, “Fighting Joe Camel With a Foul Mouth,” July 27:
I am an adult nonsmoker with no children of my own. And although I am generally pleased with the smoking ban in restaurants, I support the right of adults to smoke if they so choose, as long as it is done with consideration for those around them who do not smoke.
I was unpleasantly surprised and later incensed at Hubler’s sanctimonious and misguided remarks about a recent announcement on the Dodger radio station offering children prizes in an essay contest explaining “why smoking sucks.”
It seems apparent that Hubler finds the term “sucks” more offensive than children--some as young as 11--smoking. Here again is another example of someone with a skewed sense of morality harping on a harmless word and ignoring the bigger issue.
I would like to offer some definitions of things that suck:
Children having easy access to cigarettes sucks.
Schools encouraging smoking by providing “smoking areas” sucks.
Emphysema and lung cancer in young adults suck.
Tobacco companies having done research to broaden the market of underage smokers sucks.
Smoking children exposing nonsmoking children to secondhand smoke sucks.
Smoking children encouraging their peers to smoke sucks.
Given the above list, children using a mildly suggestive word such as “sucks” seems to pale in comparison, doesn’t it?
Finally, I applaud Dodger radio for its effort to discourage children from smoking.
Hubler’s column really demonstrated how low the media campaign against tobacco has sunk. There still are many families around who care about societal values. Gutter language like that used in the radio commercial she mentioned does not belong on the air, especially when it is aimed at children.
Another example of making it harder for parents who care about their kids is the television commercial in which the cigarette in a man’s mouth goes limp. I wrote to the media campaign unit of the state health department, complaining about the sexual innuendo, saying that it is very hard to explain to a child, when asked why this cigarette goes limp, what is meant by it. Do we have to bring sex into the smoking issue?
The answer I got was, we believe that any children who view this advertisement will simply perceive the visual message that smoking is not cool, without understanding the more mature nature of the advertisement. How naive can you get!
OTTO J. MUEKSCH