Over the last five years, researchers have calculated that the teenage smoking rates have climbed tremendously. Graph number one shows a steady increase in the number of teenagers who smoke heavily. Graph number two shows how teenage smoking has made a comeback, and how the number of teen-agers smoke occasionally and who develop heavier habits has increased sharply in recent years. The tobacco industry and the critics have very different ideas why this rapid increase of teenage smoking is developing. The tobacco industry says the increase of teenage smoking is due to a broad range of social forces. The tobacco industry also notes that not only the use of cigarettes have increased, but also the use of marijuana and other drugs.
The industry also states that teenagers tend to rebel to the increasing efforts to stop them from smoking. Tobacco industries say that the critics over exaggerate the effects of their marketing. They also point out that teenage smoking is also increasing in countries where most forms of advertising have been banned. The critics of the tobacco industry agree with the industry that rebelliousness and other forces are a contributing factor, but say it is not the prime reason of the increase in teen smoking.
The critics say the industry is the most important factor to the upraise. The industry s spending on domestic advertising and promotions have soared form $361 million in 1970, to $4. 83 billion in 1994. That is a 250 percent increase. A big part of the reason for the surge in teenage smoking was an expansion by both Reynolds and Philip Morris in giveaways. Items like T-shirts were given out in return for coupons accumulated by buying their cigarettes.
Some critics say it is Hollywood s long love affair with smoking that seems to be heating up. Cigars, they say, symbolize success as portrayed in movies like The Associate. In conclusion whether the increase of teenage smokin is due to the tobacco industries giveaways, or it s just a matter of wanting to fit in, there are serious consequences to smoking. The increased smoking rates since 1991 are expected to translate into tens of thousands of additional early deaths because on out of three teenage smokers is expected to develop fatal tobacco-related illness.