HCBE Faculty Articles

Global Tobacco Dilemmas: The Clash of Freedom and Markets with Morality and Ethics

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Journal of Business Studies Quarterly



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Most people in developed economies are fully aware of the negative health concerns associated with the addictive nature of cigarette smoking. Furthermore, developed countries like the United States make it illegal to target children in their cigarette advertisements. However, there are often no such laws in many third-world and developing countries to protect consumers and the young people. Global political and economic forces often put pressure on the governments of these countries to allow cigarette imports since the distribution and sale of tobacco products can generate a great deal of business as well as produce substantial tax revenues for the public sector. The importation, distribution, marketing, and sale of tobacco products in these developing countries are typically legal activities. Nonetheless, the ethical question must be raised: Is it moral to sell these products, and thus to make money from cigarette smoking, which can cause health problems, addiction, cancer, and death? This case study supplies ethical analysis and provides moral reflections on the rightness and justice associated with cigarette sales and smoking juxtaposed with the freedom to market, advertise, and sell across the globe as entrepreneurs, manufacturer, suppliers, distributors, and retailers. In addition to the ethical examination related to cigarette selling, alternatives for nicotine users are explored. Finally, the authors provide three appendices. The first consists of a series of general discussion questions along with short discrete case studies, based on current events, dealing with recent controversies involving new and very controversial tobacco products. Specific discussion questions are also provided for the recent case studies.





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