Time after time, I read news stories about tobacco, alcohol, pre-marital sex, and the connections between youth and advertising. It makes me question whether there isn’t just a couple of people writing the same info and passing it around.
The thing that really gets me about these stories is that in all cases, advertising is blamed for young people drinking, smoking, banging, and partaking. Its as if people believe that putting something on TV will compel young people to buy it.
Alcohol companies are bad because they advertise during Supernatural. Tobacco companies are bad because they put ads in Sports Illustrated. Cereal companies are bad because they advertise during morning cartoons. Of course, nobody really cares that there are 50 times as many commercials for personal injury attorneys, trade “schools”, and check cashing places during the daytime than there are for banks (I haven’t done the research, but I have noticed that daytime TV commercials seem to be targeting the unemployed).
My point here is this- Should alcohol and tobacco companies have their feet held to the fire if they target youth? Absolutely!! But what is targeting youth? Do young people still think cowboys smoking cigarettes are cool? Does the “Most Interesting Man in the World” really make young people want to drink more beer? And more importantly, don’t your parents and your friends have more of an impact on you than the others?
Don’t get me wrong, I like to think of myself as interesting, and I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I drink whatever is coldest. Actually, I very rarely drink beer. Don’t like the taste. I do happen to smoke, but whenever I think of cowboys, I can’t get Brokeback Mountain out of my head. Thinking of a dromedary with a stogie doesn’t make me want to emulate it.
If you are a smoker or drinker, and you are not yet of the legal age to do so, understand that you are just rushing your youth. If you are of age, understand you are wasting your money. Remember when I just mentioned that I smoke? Do you really believe that I don’t know EXACTLY how much my habit is costing me? I’m not talking about the price of cigarettes alone. I’m also talking about future healthcare, and everything else. But I’ve made my choice (and I reserve the right to change my mind when I’m ready), and I make sure that I’m not depriving my wife or family anything so that I can continue that choice.
Don’t blame the advertisers for doing their jobs. They aren’t (most of them) going after you, they don’t care who they attract. Don’t validate (some) adults view that you are stupid. Make intelligent decisions based on your own circumstances. Think of your goals, your budget, your willingness to part with hard-earned money for something that is truly a luxury you don’t need, and the cost in other ways of being irresponsible.