Language Analysis – Smoking in Public

June 4, 2018 Law

In this analysis I will be talking about the different types of language used in the article “Time smokers were made to clear the air”, written by: Alice Clarke, published in the Herald Sun on February 11th 2013. The Headline tells the readers that it is a serious article about putting more bans on smoking. The writer starts the article with a humorous, but interesting sentence, she says “I say this with love, but people are stupid”. This opening sentence really catches the reader’s attention and makes him/her quite intrigued. The first paragraph has no facts, evidence or statistics what so ever, it is very opinionative.

The writer generalises the public, saying that a lot of people like to do things that are bad for them even after knowing how bad they are. She then inputs her own opinion by saying that “the Law needs to step in every now and then to stop us from hurting other people”. In the next paragraph she starts off her argument in a more cordial manner, saying “Sure, it sucks that the law stops us from doing things we like, but it’s awkward when something you do kills someone. She then gives an example for smoking in public places by using a metaphor.

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In the third paragraph she uses a persuasive technique called “Appeal to hip-pocket nerve”. She says “Although smokers cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year because of the strain they put on the public healthcare system, I have no real problem with people smoking”. In that sentence she uses a very cunning strategy to get a lot of the readers on her side. By saying “smokers cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year” she basically makes all the readers who are non-smoking tax payers angry at smokers because they feel that Smokers are affecting their financial wellbeing.

In the next paragraph she states an obvious fact telling the readers how smoking and inhaling second hand smoke can give you cancer. In the 5th paragraph she says, “I also have asthma and was hospitalised several times as a kid because of second-hand smoke, even though no one in my immediate family smokes”. This certain persuasive technique is known as “Appeal to pity/sympathy”; it makes the reader more sympathetic towards the writer, manipulating them to agree with their argument.

In the next paragraph she says “Asthma is ridiculously common. One in 10 people have it and more than 400 people died from it in 2009. Inhaling smoke isn’t helping those people”. In that second and third sentence she continues to persuade the readers that a ban should be placed on smoking in public areas, by using legitimate facts and statistics. In the next couple of paragraphs the writer expresses how she feels about the appearance of most smokers and how they reek of putrid smells and nicotine.

By expressing herself in this manner the writer creates a mental image in the reader’s heads, making them visualise the horrible effects of smoking. An example of this is when she says “The added lines on smoker’s faces from the years of wrapping their lips around a cigarette kind of makes their mouth look like a cat’s backside”. In the next couple of sentences the writer just talks about how bad smoking and cigarettes are, she also talks about how it’s a “selfish” habit. This just helps push the readers away from the idea of smoking.

In the 10th paragraph, Alice talks about how she’s glad that the Federal Government is proposing a clamp on smoking and that the State Government has proposed a law that stops smokers from lighting up in children’s sporting facilities, public playgrounds and public pools. But at the end of the paragraph she slightly contradicts herself by saying “But while I wholeheartedly support bans, I have a few problems with them. In the next paragraph Alice explains to the readers why she has a few problems with bans on smoking. She states that the main reason is that the law is not enforced well enough.

A lot of smokers simply disregard the fact that smoking in certain areas such as Train station and Bus stops is not permitted. This is more of an Appeal to injustice, where the writer is indicating to the readers that while there are such harsh penalties on small things, the law seems to not be doing anything about smoking in public areas. In the last few paragraphs the writer concludes the article by strongly restating the main contention and expressing her own opinion. Leaving most readers persuaded to support bans on smoking in public areas.


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