Late night anti-smoking ads disregarded, ineffective

Cassie Sullivan and Cassie Sullivan

One of my latest guilty pleasures at night has been watching reruns of various television shows on Nick @ Nite.

It doesn’t matter if it’s “How I Met Your Mother” or “That 70’s Show,” I’ll turn it on while I crank out a couple hours of homework and maybe even take an unplanned break and watch a little television because I want to see Eric mess up with Donna, or Barney tell Ted to “suit up” because I find that stuff amusing.

But what I have noticed without the amazing power of pause and rewind and skipping commercials is the advertisements. I’m not writing about any kind of advertisements; only the public service announcements targeted at the younger demographics [I’m assuming 16-year-olds to 19-year-olds or so] that are anti-smoking.

Personally, I never felt the urge to smoke. My step-grandfather died of lung cancer over 10 years ago.

Part of the cancer was caused by decades of smoking and when he was exposed to Agent Orange [a chemical weapon] during the Vietnam War, but I was unaware of the latter until years after his death.

So, naturally, I blamed his death on smoking and knew smoking was bad. It was something the D.A.R.E. [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] program beat into my head at a young age and also something I knew from firsthand experience.

So, it’s kind of natural for me to have an aversion to smoking.

Also, I work at a gas station and know the price, with tax, of a pack of cigarettes. That $6.04 for a pack of whatever, including tax, is a coffee and change, or a good portion of my phone bill for next month.

Or I can buy something else that won’t damage my body in horrible ways.

But I want to ask: is the money spent on these PSA commercials actually worthwhile, or are the anti-tobacco companies talking to glassy-eyed teens that are looking for a half hour of amusement before bed?

I feel like it’s the latter.

We have the power to skip commercials, or go back to doing homework while they’re on, or run to the bathroom or get something from the kitchen. The odds are the meanings of these commercials are getting lost on viewers who aren’t there.

I know the PSA advertisements have peoples’ best interests at heart, but there has to be another way to reach the younger people of the world.

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