If cigarette advertising is banned from most mass media, why can beer and alcohol advertisers use these venues?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two major reasons for this.

First, we can say that tobacco is more harmful to people than alcohol is.  Smoking leads directly to serious health issues, including lung cancer.  Moderate use of alcohol, by contrast, does not have any major impacts on people’s health.  If tobacco is more harmful to people than alcohol, it makes sense to regulate ads for tobacco more strictly than ads for alcohol.

While the health factor may have something to do with the difference in how ads are regulated, it is more likely that political factors are a much larger reason.  Since we live in a democracy, the government typically follows the will of the people.  In this case, the will of the people says that drinking is much more acceptable than smoking.  The vast majority of Americans (about 82%) do not smoke. In contrast, very many Americans drink.  According to one of the links below, 71% of Americans drank alcohol in the past year and 57% drank in the last month.  The government is not likely to ban advertisements for a product that a large majority of Americans use.  If that many people drink alcohol, we can assume that a sizable majority of Americans does not think that alcohol is a particularly bad thing.  Given this attitude, it makes sense that the government would regulate ads for alcohol much less strictly than it regulates ads for cigarettes.

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