Delimma Of Regulating Electronic Cigarettes Essay

1918 words - 8 pages


Ethical dilemmas occur on many different scales. These dilemmas, and the complexity attached to them, range from personal to corporate conflict. Depending on the nature and structure of a particular situation and the values in conflict, personal definitions of what ethical dilemmas are may vary. Harold Gortner defines an ethical dilemma as “ a situation where two or more competing values are important and in conflict. If you serve one value, you cannot serve another, or you must deny or disserve one or more values in order to maintain one or more of the others”. Identified in this paper is an ethical dilemma anchored in the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” ...view middle of the document...

Finally, some intuition of possible solutions and alternatives of this ethical dilemma will be brought forth.

Tobacco Policy- A Brief History
The Surgeon’s General report of 1964 highlighted the deleterious health consequences of tobacco use. Luther Terry, then Surgeon General, made a bold announcement to a roomful of reporters that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and probably heart disease, and the government should do something about it. At the time smoking was very popular. There was minimal knowledge of health hazards prior to the Surgeon’s General report, therefore no sense of a need to regulate. As more evidence revealed that the rises in chronic illnesses were related to tobacco use, tobacco began to gain momentum on the political agenda. Research in combination with years of rallying by the health community finally LED to the passing of the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” in 2009. Although, thanks to the efforts of the heath community, smoking rates had declined prior to legislation, this legislation was desperately needed to curtail tobacco companies’ marketing strategies and campaigns which were targeted at youth and young adults; indeed, a significant number of smokers were dying and Tobacco Companies made it a priority to recruit young replacement smokers. The Tobacco Control Act: (1) Restricted cigarettes and smokeless tobacco retail sales to youth by directing FDA to issue strict regulations, (2) Restricted tobacco product advertising and marketing to youth by directing FDA to issue regulations, (3) Requires bigger, more prominent warning labels for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, and (4) gave the FDA authority over many additional areas of tobacco regulation.
The statistics show that 19.3% of Americans aged 18 and older were smokers in 2010, down from 20.9% in 2005. That translates to approximately three million fewer people smoking than if there had been no decline, according to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. However, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US. Yet, as cigarette usage reaches all-time lows, electronic cigarette (e-cig) usage reaches all-time highs. In September the numbers showed that the percentage of middle school and high school students who have tried e-cigs doubled from 3.3% in 2011 to 6.8% in 2012.
Tobacco companies have bought out smaller e-cig manufactories in efforts to mitigate the decline in conventional cigarette sales as a result of strict regulation. Unregulated, e-cigs allow tobacco companies to advertise and market to youth in ways that the FDA has prohibited tobacco companies to advertise conventional cigarettes. The lack of information and research regarding the content and long-term benefits or harms of e-cigs present uncertainty and ambiguity when trying to determine if e-cigs should be deemed a tobacco product and regulated as such.

The loophole in The Tobacco Control Act-...

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