Mike Disney’s Paper

Michael Disney

ENC 1101

Tobacco Companies: “Smooth Criminals”


            Ever since I was young, I have had the idea that smoking is terrible for you.  My parents have beaten it into my head.  They always tell me that smoking will kill you.  It is not good for your lungs or your body.  One quote that my dad always uses is, “If you want to be an athlete, you shouldn’t smoke.”  And honestly, I don’t see anything good coming out of smoking.  That is not what the tobacco companies want you to think though.  Tobacco companies want you to think that smoking is the cool thing to do.  Even if you’re throwing years of your precious life into the garbage, they are just worried about making some money.  They send out an image to the younger generations that smoking is the “in” thing to do.  Once the customers are addicted, the company’s job is done.

            Tobacco companies are making tons of money off their products.  They make billions of dollars a year!  Billions!  That is the one reason why they keep selling their products.  They are so greedy even when they know they are killing their customers (which sounds ironic).  One website called thetruth.com shows how tobacco companies lie and deceive their customers.  Here are some facts that this website provides:

In 1997, one tobacco executive pleaded the Fifth ninety-seven times in a disposition.

Much of the advertising is found at children’s eye level.

Nicotine increased 10% from the years 1998-2004.  Nicotine is what keeps the smokers addicted.

            Not only do the tobacco companies lie and deceive their customers, but they also try to produce advertising that makes smoking seem cool.  One company that is the perfect example of this is Kool.  They even have the word “Cool” in their name but try to be witty by spelling it differently.  I’m sorry but that is lame.  They have ads in all types of magazines that show young attractive people smoking at clubs, bars, and other popular places to hang out.  These ads show the young people enjoying a cigarette while in a social place.  This company is trying to make smoking look “Kool.”  The people that are in these advertisements are viewed by the general public as attractive people.  They pay models lots of money to model their cigarettes.  For some reason, this works.  People see these young attractive models smoking and want to be like them.  But this company is not the only one who does this.  It is done by every Tobacco company that has ever been around. 

            Another company that stresses the cool factor is Camel.  In one such advertisement Camel portrays a camel as a “smooth character.”  This “smooth character” has a cigarette sticking out the side of his mouth.  He is wearing dark sunglasses and a nice white suit which draws in on the cool factor.   The scenery is that of a beach which can also be portrayed as cool.      In the background of this scene there is a young beautiful woman leaning on a yellow sports car.  Any advertisement that has a young beautiful woman will catch the gaze of a young teenage boy (teenage boys are a large part of a tobacco companies audience). Both the woman and car are considered “cool” in today’s society.  Our society nowadays values material items like the one’s shown in this advertisement.  A message of this advertisement is that by smoking these cigarettes, you will get hot babes and cool sports cars. 
            The text in this ad says “Smooth Character” which seems to represent what the camel is.  By being smooth, the camel is then cool.  The adjective smooth also goes along with the suit and the sunglasses.  What this ad is also saying is that if you smoke, you will become smoother, or you will become a “smooth character.”  This is another way tobacco companies hit the audience of a young teenage boy.  A teenage boy typically wants to be smooth, especially around the ladies, hence the lady in the background of the advertisement.  So when a teenager pictures themselves smoking, they see themselves also being smooth.

            Another way tobacco companies sell their product is by using famous people.  Whether or not they are actually being used in an advertisement, it gets the point across.  Famous people are considered cool. Famous people smoke.  Therefore, smoking is cool.  Examples of famous people that smoke are Lil Wayne, Shia LaBoeuf, and even Barack Obama.  These people are walking advertisements for smoking.  When their fans see them smoking, it influences the fans to also smoke.  It is not a good image for the younger generation. 

            Not only is it a bad image, it is not good for their health.  Facts say that smoking kills.  The website, thetruth.com, has a long list of facts.  It says that around fifty people per hour are killed by cigarettes.  In 2006, over five million people around the world died from tobacco products!  Not only do the cigarettes kill you, they also are just plain disgusting.  This site has a list of what is found in cigarettes:

Acetic Acid is found in cigarettes. Acetic Acid is also found in floor wipes.
Acetanisole is found in cigarettes. Acetanisole is also an ingredient in some perfumes.
Toluene is found in cigarette smoke. Toluene is also found in dynamite.
Formaldehyde is found in cigarette smoke. Formaldehyde preserves the dead.
Geraniol is found in cigarettes. Geraniol is also found in pesticides.
Acetone is found in cigarette smoke. Acetone also removes nail polish.
Hydrazine is found in cigarettes. Hydrazine is also found in rocket fuel.
Toluene is found in cigarette smoke. Toluene is also found in gasoline.
Cadmium is found in cigarettes. Cadmium is also found in batteries.
Cinnemaldyhyde is found in cigarettes. Cinnemaldehyde is also found in pet repellant.
Methanol is found in cigarettes. Methanol is also found in antifreeze.
Urea is found in cigarettes. Urea is also found in Pee.

            This list is not only disgusting, but it looks hazardous.  Why do these tobacco companies lie about these products and deceive their customers.  Instead of the usual ads that you see from the tobacco companies, I have created a few anti-advertisements.  One such advertisement would be a crime scene.  The crime scene is in someone’s apartment, with the T.V. still on.  A person’s hand would be coming out the side of the picture, limp, as if they were dead.  A box of Camel cigarettes is lying on the floor next to the person who is portrayed as dead.  Next to the dead person would be a detective who is kneeling down near the dead body examining a still lit cigarette.  The detective is wearing a trench coat and wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat.  His partner would be shown through the door coughing from the smoke in the room. Behind the T.V., would be a tobacco company executive peering out at the scene.  The T.V. screen would have the words, “pleading the fifth” on it.  The executive is portrayed as if he is nervous and hiding. His pockets are overflowing with money.  The lighting of the scene would be dark to portray the evil that is occurring.  On the top of the page, words written in smoke coming out of the cigarette would say, “CAMEL: SMOOTH CRIMINALS.”  The letters would be made of smoke and written in a cursive type of font, showing the smoothness.

            I think this anti advertisement would be very effective in showing many of the values that tobacco companies and executives hide from their customers.  The crime scene would be an example of how smoking kills millions of people a year.  The T.V. represents pleading the fifth, and how the tobacco executives hide behind it.  The money, pouring out of the pockets of the tobacco executive shows how these executives only care about the money, and how greedy they are.  The words “SMOOTH CRIMINALS,” obviously plays off the words, “Smooth Character.”  They show how these tobacco companies are getting away with this awful tragedy.  I think a smooth criminal is an interesting way to represent the tobacco companies.  They are getting away with what seems like murder, and they are making money off of it.  No one can do anything to stop them so they are like “smooth criminals.”  The lighting of the scene also portrays smoking as evil and bad.

            Another anti-advertisement that I thought of is for the company Kool.  This scene would be in a hospital.  The lighting would also be dimmed in this scene.  In the hospital, there would be a bed where a young man is laying.  He would be wearing his leather jacket, blue jeans, and would have sunglasses on his lap.  His body would not be like that of the strong young man, probably like it used to be.  Instead, he would be withering, and his face would be sagging a little bit.  His skin would be pale and his hair would be graying.  His eyes would be closed and he would have tubes all over his body just so that he can stay alive.  Next to him, leaning over the bed would be his mother.  His mother would be seen weeping, holding her son’s hand.  The doctor would be standing over the mother, trying to console her.  Clearly, it is not working as you can see the pain in the mothers face.  On the bottom, would be only the word KOOL with a period after it.

            This anti-advertisement would hit people a little bit harder.  Not only would people see the effect smoking has on them, but it shows the effect on others who care for them.  The picture is obviously the young man on his death bed and his mother is crying because of it.  The word KOOL at the bottom of the page would be almost sarcastic.  The period at the end of KOOL would be put there to emphasize the sarcastic part of it.  Not only would people feel bad looking at this anti-advertisement, but hopefully it would make them realize what could happen to them. 

            Many anti-advertisements are created to make people laugh but I want my anti-advertisements to make the message clear; smoking is bad for you.  I want people to look at my anti-advertisements and feel changed.  I want them to see what I see, that smoking kills and can do no good for you. 

            My audience would be mainly for teenagers.  They are the group that can most easily be influenced and this age group is where most people begin smoking.  I think my anti-advertisements would be very successful at getting the points across, especially the second advertisement.

            People smoke because they think it’s cool.  Once they start smoking, they become addicted and cannot stop.  I hope that people do not get influenced by these false advertisements and I hope people do not become addicted to cigarettes.  It is bad for their health and it is also an expensive habit.  People need to realize the true meanings behind the advertisements of tobacco companies.  They need to see past the false messages of being cool and hip.  They instead need to realize what harm could be done from doing such a little thing.  Therefore, this is my message, smoking is not “KOOL,” smoking will not make you a “smooth character,” instead smoking will create problems for you in your life and eventually ruin it. 

Works Cited

Do you have what it takes to be a tobacco exec? Web. 16 Nov. 2009. <http://thetruth.com&gt;.

101 Smoking Facts – The Facts About Smoking. Web. 17 Nov. 2009. http://www.smoking-facts.net/.


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