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The Ethical Dilemma Of E Cigarette Regulation

2401 words - 10 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 an ethical dilemma is 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 server another, or you must deny of 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” signed into law by President Obama in 2009. This policy gave legal authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), which is charged with regulating the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products in order to reduce tobacco use by children under 18 and protect public health. The CTP was charged with establishing its own credentials as a regulatory authority based on science, where the facts could help shape policy. The complexity and interesting dynamic of E-cigarettes (E-cig) has presented problems for FDA to regulate under this policy, although many health organizations are pushing for immediate action. The ethical dilemma in regards to this policy as it relates to the regulation of E-cigs is the focus of this paper.
It is important to provide a brief history of the Tobacco policy and a comprehensive description of the ethical dilemma before going into the examination of the dilemma, which will be provided in the following paragraphs using Gortner’s Framework for Analysis of Ethical Dilemmas . First, the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” will be explained. Next, the political restraints of the policy will be discussed. 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 usage, tobacco began to gain momentum on the political agenda. Research in combination with years of rallying by the health community finally equated 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...

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