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Tobacco & television

August 30, 2018

Email

IN many a Pakistani TV drama we see at least one character smoking and taking pleasure in the act, trying to show that smoking helps relieve stress. At the same time a sign ‘smoking is injurious to health’ flashes at the bottom of the TV screen.

I have always wondered if the TV channel managements are aware about the ill-effects of smoking. If they are, why do they show an actor smoking? Is this habit an unavoidable part of life? Such scenes only act as an encouragement to youth of impressionable age.

Smoking in TV dramas may well come under ‘subliminal’ advertising. Since tobacco companies are not allowed to advertise their brands, they may perhaps be practising this method of advertising.

Subliminal advertising may actually be more effective than conventional advertising, because the message hits your subconscious directly. This was practised decades ago in the days of 35mm films. They used to put a frame of the product after every 24 frames of the running programme. The ad was not discernible directly, but it did register. They called this subliminal advertising.

The portrayal of smoking on TV should stop immediately.

Maham Hussain

Karachi

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018