Tobacco Industry Ethics Essay

961 Words4 Pages
Paper Topic: Are companies in the tobacco industry unethical? Ethics: while defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the discipline dealing with what is good or bad [through] moral duty”, this concise phrase does not seem to encompass the word’s full connotation. The way ‘ethics’ is defined in the dictionary alludes that there is a black-and-white answer to whether an action, belief, or opinion is ethical. Unfortunately, when applying this term to real life, decisions are almost never as clear cut as right or wrong. Why then, are we so quick to judge things as right or wrong, good or bad, ethical or unethical? As a race, humans are easily persuaded and quick to judge others who do not follow their beliefs. This leads to people not spending time evaluating whether something has both right and wrong facets. Many highly debated issues, such as abortion, drinking-age and religion, are controversial because there are ethical arguments for each side. These ethical dilemmas are not confined to personal situations, but spread to politics, governments, and businesses as well. A highly controversial debate in business ethics is the production and distribution of tobacco products. Many people will debate that the selling and promotion of tobacco products is unethical due to the threat these products pose to consumers’ health. While this health risk is of high concern, the emotional ties that people have to this argument constrict their ability to look at both sides of the case. To address the statement that selling cigarettes is unethical due to the danger associated with it, one must determine what separates this manufactured good from other harmful products. It is true that tobacco is a dangerous drug and can do damage to a person; how... ... middle of paper ... ...by consumers. The human race needs to stop viewing the term “ethical” as a black-and-white fact and accept that often ethics is a reflection of opinion. From the business point of view, the production and distribution of tobacco products is ethical. Tobacco is a legal product and a desired one at that. If adults are legally allowed to consume a product and are eager to do so, then companies are going to provide it. From a humane perspective, the marketing and production of tobacco may be unethical; it knowingly harms its consumers and produces a product that purposefully addicts consumers. By asking the question “Are companies in the tobacco industry ethical or unethical?” we are being encouraged to view the topic as a black-and-white argument. The truth of the matter is that no matter which side people choose to argue; in the real world ethics has shades of gray.
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