Module 4 Week 4 Discussion Post

September 17, 2015

Read Tobacco Marketing on the Internet then support or refute the following proposition:

  1. Given the broad access that minors have to pornography on the Web, it is hypocritical to have laws that are more restrictive for access to tobacco-promoting sites.

As always, please respectfully weigh in on someone else’s discussion as well.


This week’s discussion on minor access to what has been deemed by American society as adult-only, or appropriate for 18-year-olds and older, is specifically interesting and as the article shared, isn’t consistent across the various vices, visa vie alcohol.

It seems the fundamental question is whether the government should be gatekeepers or play the role of a nanny-state in the regulation of communication to both children and adults. With respect to tobacco and alcohol, the health and science has shown regular consumption to be harmful to general health, regardless of age. However, the government regulations vary, and in the case of the alcohol industry, much of it is self-regulated; think “drink responsibly” instead of “smoking cigarettes will kill you” package and advertising warnings by the U.S. Surgeon General.

With regards to the regulation, filtering, or gatekeeper role of pornography, the reasonable argument could be made that access is not as restrictive because it is not as harmful or detrimental on society as other substance use, misuse, or abuse. The argument has been usually one of two sides; that restricting access is to the benefit of the user and therefore society as a whole, or that restricting access only makes the desire to obtain it even stronger, and thereby creates other means, or black markets, of acquiring the content/information.

Keeping the above in mind, I’m not sure it’s hypocritical to have a different set of standards for pornography instead of tobacco-promoting websites. Where the hypocrisy may lie is in the legislative requirements between alcohol-promoting websites and tobacco. Where much of the alcohol industry has self-regulation, the opportunity for exposure to underage citizens, especially on television, is tremendous. While commercials are only supposed to be in shows with greater than 70 percent adult or legal age viewers, DVRs and time-shifted viewing can make that challenging for parents and guardians.

Based on the varying regulations across each country and community, this topic seems largely a society-based challenge where each community has the opportunity to deem what’s appropriate, of value, and beneficial to its population. I’m not sure any or all regulation would be hypocritical, but representative of what the legislators, marketers, and communicators of a community seem appropriate for their audiences and publics.

Post Tags:

Advertising, Advertising Standards, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,