I honestly think ads for tobacco products are much worse then ads for prescription drugs, because at least prescribed drugs are completely legal. Not that tobacco products are not, but I feel when it comes to a younger person watching TV, the prescribed drugs are perhaps the less of the two evils.
Tobacco is widely available and can be purchased by anyone that is 18 years or older. Prescription drug advertisements are ads that peak interest, but ultimately people still have to request this prescription from a doctor by having the symptoms and the ability to take the drug. Also, tobacco ads support things like second-hand smoke, while prescription drugs are only harming the users physical health.
The percent of smokers in this country is going down. The number of people abusing prescription drugs is going up every year. People who would never consider smoking or abusing drugs would willingly seek out a prescription from their doctor. If you look at long term health rates, I also feel that the huge percentage of people on prescription drugs is more damaging to our nations health than smoking.
I believe prescription drug ads are worse than tobacco ads. Tobacco ads really aren't around, but prescription drug ads are all over the place. I don't think we need either of these industries advertising. Pharma is especially bad because they charge such high prices and now they invest some of that money in advertising. They should lower the prices and drop the ads and let doctors do their job.