Alexander Sinton High School
By: Alana Bolligello
Nicole Paniplin
Lizelle Barnes

Alexander Sinton High School
20 October 1998

Tobacco advertisements convey a false message about smoking. They portray an image of people being happy, successful and most of all healthy even though they smoke. This image then influences people, not only adults but teenagers and children as well.

Children especially are influenced by these advertisements. They are subconsciously being manipulated into thinking that smoking is their key to being grown up. Their games generally center around them being adults who are rich and successful. This game often has them using pens which represents cigarettes. Is this an image we want our children to aspire to?

Tobacco sponsorship of sport creates the illusion that the sportsperson can enjoy a healthy, exciting and successful lifestyle while continuing to smoke. This conceals the incongruency in the relationship between smoking and sports. For example, the Camel adverts contradict itself by suggesting that one can be a healthy, adventurous person climbing mountains (e.g. Mt. Everest) and participating in iron-man competitions and after all this activity they still have the breath to inhale a cigarette!

Athletes at school see these advertisements and believe that they can do the same. This is wrong as smoking limits your physical and mental capacity. They are therefore manipulated by these false advertisements.

Tobacco advertisements present a facade that youngsters are ill-equiped to unravel. Smoking in schools has become part of the students academic and social life. We have interviewed a number of students at school who smoke and these are a few of their reasons why they smoke :
- Some started smoking due to boredom.
- Some due to peer pressure
- Others while experimenting with their peers
- A few wanted to rebel against authority.

In our class, 39,5% are chain smokers (15-17 years old). On average, many of our peers smoke about 15 cigarettes per day. This sample excludes the rest of the student body. Teachers are trying to combat this problem, but they are limited in their power to do anything due to the shortage of teachers since rationalisation took place in education.

In conclusion, some would argue that it is still the individual's choice, but are the youth allowed to make an informed, democratic decision when smoking is glamorised and portrayed as socially desirable? How free is the decision or choice that the youth is expected to make when being socially accepted by their peers and being acknowledge in a glamorous adult world are pertinent issues that we grapple with daily at this stage in our lives?