ESPN: Killing the Habit
When walking into my livingroom Sunday morning I notice my parents and two younger sisters flipping between reruns of the winter X Games on ESPN 2 and NASCAR on ESPN. Normally, this average American habit of channel surfing wouldn't stop my pursuit for breakfast, yet today I realize both sports are announcing tobacco companies as sponsors. Although the companies were hiding behind blinding anti-tobacco campaign slogans, this appalling presence of cigarette advertisement caught my attention. Taking a look at my little sisters lost in the world of public television I realized the true influence ESPN and its advertisers have on the youth of today. This is why I believe ESPN should not allow tobacco sponsors to advertise at their sporting events.
According to Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice-president, most viewers watching the X Games are in the 12 to 24 year old age group. In 2003's Winter X Games, this impressionable age of youth were exposed to sponsors such as Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Verizon Wireless, and...Lorillard
Tobacco Company. Hiding behind their "Tobacco is Wacko...If You're a Teen" advertising slogan, Lorillard was able to paste their name all over the Colorado Aspen mountain. But were they really trying to discourage the 80% of teenager smokers who smoke their popular Newport brand, according to poll featured on http://tfk.grassroot.com? Or were they simply trying to promote their product by offering it as the "rebellious" thing to do?
Another popular cigarette producer hiding behind ESPN broadcasted sports is RJR Tobacco Company. Their well-known Winston brand is seen and heard every time the popular NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) games are broadcasted. As NASCAR racing's popularity grows, Winston's advertisement in this family-orientated sport grows also. So it's highly probable that the little boy in...