I almost didn't take the time to answer this question after seeing the answers that have already been given. Whether or not this question was asked with genuine intentions of meaningful discussion or not, a forum like this is not the place to ask it, unless one is either looking for support of their own opinion, or unless they are looking for volumes of uninformed, poorly-thought out answers.
But, since there is a great deal of misinformation on both sides of this issue, I felt compelled to answer.
1. No, advertising tobacco should not be banned, unless alcohol, automobiles, guns, knives, and any other consumer products than can and do harm people are banned from being advertised.
2. It doesn't matter whether or not it's bad for you. If you don't smoke or are not interested, chances are, the ads aren't aimed at you. Most tobacco ads are aimed at people who not only do smoke, but are also smokers of a different brand, or smoke whatever they can afford. If you don't smoke and/or don't like seeing the ads, ignore them. The ads are intended to either entice brand-loyal customers away from their brand of choice, to solidify the brand loyalty of addicts who smoke whatever they can afford, or to inform smoking customers of new products.
3. Guns kill more people every year than tobacco. Alcohol, whether by means of alcohol-induced disease and poisoning, or by drunk driving, or both, kills more people every year than tobacco. Heart disease kills more people every year. b****t cancer kills more women every day than tobacco. Overweight/Obesity kills more every year. While tobacco use is a contributing factor to many diseases, it is just that. A contributing factor. Not a cause. In some states, just walking outside and breathing the unfiltered air is a major contributing factor to disease. One average-emission-producing car with average use and mileage emits more carcinogens per week than a pack a day smoker does in a year.
4. Ignore the statistics you hear from anti-tobacco agencies as to how many people tobacco kills. Any statistic you hear about "Second hand smoking related deaths" is questionable, if for no reason other than the fact that every death caused by a respiratory-based ailment that has no clear cause, which number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, is cited by anti-tobacco organizations as a "second-hand smoking related death". Hell, my grandfather was listed as a "Second-hand smoking related death". Why? Because his youngest son, who after turning 18 he saw rarely, and only saw once a year in the last 10 years of his life, smoked. The actual reason behind his death? The skin cancer that started behind his ear didn't kill him until it hit his lymph node, spread throughout his entire body, and then destroyed his lungs. In his last hours, his breathing shallowed and slowed until he fell asleep and stopped breathing altogether.
So, in short, No, there shouldn't be a ban on any perfectly legal consumer product. This is a capitalist nation. While I am not the biggest supporter of capitalism, what you are suggesting borders on communism/socialism. Besides, the majority of tobacco ads are through mediums that aren't intended for minors. While those mediums can be and often are seen by minors, it isn't the job of the owners/publishers of them to make sure minors don't see tobacco ads.
Lots of people smoke heavily and end up dying for it. Lots more people eat fast food and don't exercise and die for it.
Oh, and just to put it out there, the biggest anti-tobacco organization known today, Truth, is funded entirely by Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboro and the largest tobacco company in the nation, just beating out RJ Reynolds, the makers of Salem and Camel.
But, Altria, the new corporate name of Philip-Morris, also owns Kraft Foods Company. I wonder when they're going to start an organization like Truth, but in regards to Heart Disease and high cholesterol.
Oh wait. They're not going to.
Answered By: k_shya - 11/24/2006