Tobacco, alcohol, and gambling organizations pay millions of dollars a year on advertising for their products. The advertisement of potentially addictive substances including alcohol, tobacco and gambling are a constitutional right, that if is targeted towards a legal demographic, is appropriate and not linked to the increased usage of these substances and activities. The US prides itself on being a nation founded on freedom, but this right allows our citizens to make potentially harmful decisions, which is their right in the case of tobacco, alcohol, and gambling.
A ban of the sale of alcohol would not result in a decrease of the purchase and use of the product. Alcohol is already prevalent in modern society, and advertising is not the reason that people choose to drink. Ads for alcohol serve the purpose of swaying viewers to choose their product, not convince people to begin drinking. A study by the Federal Trade Commission found that “There is no reliable basis to conclude that alcohol advertising significantly affects consumption, let alone abuse.” (Alcohol Problems and Solutions) The consumption of alcohol is a voluntary life choice, that won’t likely be made based off of a TV ad or billboard. The public is exposed to images of drinking several times a day through TV, movies, books, music, social networking etc. Ads will do little in the decision of people to choose to consume alcohol. One argument of advocates for the ban of alcohol advertising is that ads are aimed at the youth. They argue that there are images of increased attractiveness, social ineptness and relaxation, but this argument is invalid because these qualities are attractive to every age demographic. Studies have been conducted by valid organizations that support the argument of the minimal effect of advertisement on drinking. “The US Department of Health and Human Services in its report to congress concluded that there is no significant relationship between alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption. It did not recommend banning or imposing additional restrictions on advertising.” (Alcohol Problems and Solutions) Although it can easily be argued that alcohol is a harmful substance, it is legal, and alcohol companies have the right to advertise their product. Companies that advertise gambling operate under strict regulations that assure that the advertisement is legal and morally upstanding, and the ban of this advertisement would be a violation of constitutional rights. Strict laws assure that gambling is advertised to an appropriate audience. “The rules make it clear that advertising should not be aimed at children and young people and that it does not leave vulnerable people open to exploitation or harm.” (Gambling Commission) Gambling is a safe activity when done in moderation, and can not lead to health risks. There is no need to ban gambling ads if they continue to abide by the moral expectations set on them. It’s a legal pastime that can be enjoyed by responsible adults. In our society, the blame is often placed to the organizations offering the “harmful substances”, although it is the consumers that allow the continuation of sale by buying them. Our society needs to hold its citizens accountable for their poor lifestyle decisions, instead of always blaming corporations. The court case Players International Inc. v Unites States emphasizes the importance of the government holding its people accountable to making their own decisions. “Such concerns are not sufficient to warrant the federal regulation of gambling any more so than concerns about overeating would justify federal regulation of the purchase and sale of food.” (justice.gov) The government can only intervene so much in attempt to prevent the continuation of harmful behaviors; it is US citizen’s right to freedom to make poor decisions regarding their health and how they spend their money. This concept is shown in Sherman Alexie’s work “Superman and Me.” He emphasizes the