Ethics in the Tobacco Industry Essay by Coolpower

Ethics in the Tobacco Industry
Looks at the lack of ethics in the tobacco industry as they try to cover up the risks of smoking.
# 26223 | 2,301 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper examines the ethical dilemma that the tobacco companies find themselves in, now that it is almost universally accepted that smoking can cause grave health risks. This paper questions why a company would sell a product that it knows is harmful and whether this is an ethical practice or not. The paper shows the tobacco companies' irresponsibility in the fact that they hid the consequences of using their product

From the Paper:

"This whole argument that the tobacco companies are unethical in the way they do business is grounded in the utilitarian moral doctrine. This states that "we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our action. By good, utilitarians mean happiness or pleasure." (Moral Issues 59a) This is obviously the case. For example, thousands of people are positively affected in the tobacco industry: lawyers, employees, executives, marketing, farmers, and the receivers of the taxes placed on the product. To these people, tobacco and cigarettes bring much pleasure, from money, to a job, to a way to relax, and not just to them, but to those around these people who are affected by their lives. Many people benefit from its existence. However, many millions of people die every year from smoking. And many millions more are affected by the illnesses, deaths, and addictions of these people, it is a huge ripple effect. So while thousands, and it is probably hundreds of thousands benefit, millions suffer. But the biggest disparity is that employees work for the firm for many years, turnover is relatively low. So over say 100 years, a relatively small number of total people benefit when compared to the 500 million expected to die, and the countless millions who will become sick, because 5 million die a year right now; such turnover is not seen on the benefit side of the argument. This is the main reason that the way in which the tobacco companies do business is shockingly unethical. To put it even more simply, many times more people become unhappy when encountering cigarettes and tobacco than become happy."

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