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How Does Tobacco Influence American Culture

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The role of tobacco in Western Culture

Do you know that tobacco was once used as money to pay for the fine and taxes?You may not get a lot of knowledge about the economic aspect of the tobacco. Do you ever noticed that how much latent advertisement the tobacco company has put in the market?The result may surprise you. In this article I will introduce you the important role of the tobacco in American culture. Due to the economic role of the tobacco in the history and the way it influences people especially those young people nowadays, tobacco has occupied a very important position in American Culture and it is changing people's attitude toward tobacco.

Tobacco played an important role for the economic aspect during the Colonial Period in American history. Due to the huge profits from exporting tobacco to England, tobacco was planted almost everywhere in Jamestown. According to Fite and Reese(1973),as a crop planted for money, tobacco was so valuable that it became a substitute for gold and sliver to pay for wages, debts, fines and taxes.(p.49). On the other hand, tobacco, a profitable product which was planted in such a large amount, provided a lot profits to the colonial government as well. According to Tobacco.org, "a duty of two shillings, or about 20 cents, levied on each hogshead of tobacco exported from those colonies yielded Virginia $9,082 during 1758-1762." As a result, the tobacco "affected the colony's law more or less"(Tobacco.org) because the government tried hard to protect the tobacco industry in order to maintain their profit source. To sum up, tobacco has occupied an important position in American history the Colonial Period for the economic aspect.

Until now, the tobacco is also the most valuable cash crop in the US. For instance, Hunker (2010) said, Phillip Morris International, the world's largest private tobacco company reported revenues of over $64 billion in 2008. Because of the huge profits the tobacco company had owned and the desire to capture more revenue, those companies came to put a large emphasis on the advertisements in both direct and indirect way, which is also influencing the American Culture nowadays.

According to Jacobs(1995), the tobacco companies spend 4 billion dollars a year or 11 million dollars a day on magazines, newspapers and billboards to try to get people to buy cigarettes.(Chapter2 )Meanwhile, they also take great effort to put huge amount of latent advertisements on the market to attract people, especially the youth. According to Ferry, the tobacco companies sponsor sporting events, music concerts, college events and art events which are favored by the youth to foster a good image of their company. They also invest money in the movies to let smoking look more tempting and to make the youth model the smoking behavior as the characters do in the movie. As Dalton et al. (2002)



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