Every where we go, we are bombarded by the media. A single day does not pass where we do not see any media of some kind; whether it is on TV, billboards or those annoying pop-ups that we get on the internet. It would be a lie to say that our lives and decisions are not effected in anyway by this media. Of the many things we see in the media; tobacco, drugs and alcohol are very present. And thus comes the topic of my essay; the media influences us in a wrong way when it comes to making decisions about tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

Everyone has watched T.V at some point in their life. Everyone has watched a commercial on T.V. Up until recently; it was not unusual to see an ad for cigarettes during the commercial breaks of some of our favourite shows. And added to that during some of our favourite shows, it is still not unusual to see a character light up. Since first grade, our teachers have drilled it in our heads that we mustn't smoke, but what good does that do if when we come home, we see some of our favourite characters smoking. By airing shows on T.V. that show smoking in a not so negative light, from and early age, children begin to think that smoking is okay, and a normal part of life. By the time they reach their teenage years, and a friend offers them a smoke, they will not be as likely to refuse as they should be. By condoning the practice of smoking, the media condones a very dangerous and life threatening lifestyle. Lung Cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death, and yet still according to most things we see on T.V. it is a perfectly fine act. This is one of the reasons why I think that the media influences us in a wrong way when it comes to making decisions about tobacco.

Commercials not only influence us negatively through their portrayal of tobacco, but also through the image they create of alcohol. At certain times of the evening, beer commercials frequent the airwaves; full of below- average young men surrounded by half naked girls. This gives off the image that by drinking beer, you will become hip and popular. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Drunken young drivers cause the deaths of thousands of people in North America each year. Alcohol also kills brain cells and impairs thinking, often times leading to unprotected sex. By showing alcohol as being such a good thing, beer companies condone its use and cause teenagers to believe that it is a good thing. Because of this many teenagers believe that drinking is okay, and thus make the wrong decision, and in some cases end up ruining their lives. Although there are commercials warning people against the use of tobacco, one hardly sees a commercial portraying alcohol consumption in a bad way, the exception being when it is mixed with driving; there is never any mention of the other side effects of alcohol consumption, like the loss of brain cells. That is the reason why I believe that the media is a negative influence when it comes to making the choice to drink alcohol.

When it comes to the media and drugs, hard drugs (weed, ecstasy, cocaine, etc.) are always portrayed in a negative light. Commercial after commercial runs on the air with the message "Kids, don't do drugs". But there are many other drugs in this world beside the "hard drugs", for instance; caffeine. We constantly see commercials that give the message that caffeine is essential to get through the day, for instance; every single coffee commercial on the air. Added to that, caffeine is in a lot of things that we consume; such as Tylenol, Colas and coffee. Although that it is true that caffeine is fine in small amounts, addicts often need more and more, until the point that if they don't get their drug they will get the "shakes" and will also get headaches. After hearing over and over again that caffeine is good for us, teenagers tend to believe as much, and often over do it; at least once a year a teenager or college/university student will overdose on caffeine pills. Hardly ever are we told about the side effects of caffeine use; albeit through the media or other sources. This is why I believe that the media influences us in a negative way when it comes to the abuse of other drugs, such as caffeine.

The media influences us negatively when it comes to drug use; alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. It influences us negatively, but it does not make the decision for us. It is our responsibility to make our own decisions, and therefore the media cannot be blamed entirely for the increase in drug abuse amongst teenagers. Yes, we could take all of these pro-drug commercials off the air, give movies that have smoking in them an R rating, along with a whole bunch of other things; but to put it frankly, no matter what you do teenagers will use drugs. Since we were little, we have seen pictures of smoker's lungs, heard the horror stories about emphysema and lung cancer; and yet still, many of us make the decision to smoke. During the 1980's, it was uncool for teenagers to smoke, but in this day and age it is. Just like many things, the increase in drug abuse in teenagers may be just a passing fad. One can never tell, maybe in a few years it will be unfashionable to smoke once more and models will look like real human beings.

A/N: My head wasn't really in to this one. I ask you to kindly tell me what I may have missed in this essay. Thanks!