Tuesday, March 26

Throwback Thursday: Cigarette ads in the Daily Bruin

No matter which page you look at, you won’t find advertisements for cigarettes in today’s edition of the Daily Bruin.

But during the 1950s, you could hardly turn a page without seeing a smiling face staring back at you, cigarette in mouth.

Before all the scientific data on the negative health effects of tobacco and nicotine on the body, celebrities and models hawked cigarettes in commercials, on billboards and in newspapers including the Daily Bruin.

These ads promoted the great taste, smooth texture and – believe it or not – even the potential health benefits of smoking a premium charcoal filtered cigarette. According to the hype, cigarettes were a great way to relax after a long day of work or school.

But today, Bruins are greeted on campus with “tobacco-free campus” and “no smoking” signs at every corner of the school. UCLA has officially been a tobacco-free campus since Earth Day 2013.

And it’s not just Bruins steering clear of smoking. According to the California Department of Public Health, only 11.9 percent of the state’s adults smoked in 2011, ranking California as the state with the second-lowest rate of adult smoking and making it one of only two states to have met the federal goals of Healthy People 2020, which aims to decrease the percentage of national adult smokers to 12 percent.

As medical technology continues to progress, UCLA has conducted more research on the effects of nicotine and cigarettes and how to better inform consumers of their health consequences. As you’ve probably already heard from decades of anti-smoking campaigns, research has continually found that both cigarettes and e-cigarettes contain toxic substances that may lead to various cancers. That information has gone from the lab to the label.

Almost 50 years after smoking ads dominated the paper, the UCLA community is now seeing cigarettes’ influence wane. Through voter action and legislation, the UCLA community has been able to voice its concerns with tobacco products. This year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.

This November, Californians will be able to vote on Proposition 56, which proposes a $2 tobacco tax increase to the already existing $0.87 tax. While the existing tax funds tobacco prevention, environmental protection and cancer screening and research programs, the additional $2 will funnel in money for physician training, dental treatments, Medi-Cal and lung cancer research.

If it passes, Bruins might be able to breathe a little easier – especially compared to their 1950s counterparts.

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Jasmine Aquino was an assistant Opinion editor in the 2016-2017 year. Previously, she was an Opinion and News contributor.

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