The Ethics Of Government In Regards To Smoking

1166 words - 5 pages

The government of India in 2001 was faced with, a conflict of interest arising out of their decision to place a on to place a ban on the advertising of tobacco products. This conflict of interest of interest would be dealt with later in this case study, but for now I will deal with the arguments in favor and in opposition of the ban on the advertising of tobacco products.
It was the Indian government that ignited the debate, by announcing on February 6th 2001, its impending ban on the advertising of tobacco products. The government’s official reason was its effort to safeguard the health of the populace by discouraging consumption of tobacco products by adolescents. The second reason for ...view middle of the document...

 Another argument against the ban on tobacco advertising stated that the lawful production and sale of tobacco should be accompanied by lawful advertising.
 The tobacco industry insisted that advertising assisted adults in making informed choices on tobacco brands.
 Tobacco companies argued that advertising of particular brands was focused on persons who already smoked that brand and was not directed at non smokers of teenagers.
 The tobacco industry claimed that the ban on advertising would not be very effective as big cigarette companies had only 16 percent of the market. They believed the sale of the products allowed people to purchase a safer more refined product.
 The industry analysts raised the concern that surrogate advertising would replace regular advertising thereby defeating the purpose of the ban.
 The tobacco companies argued the futility of the ban stating (i) foreign magazines and foreign TV channels would still be running cigarette advertisements (ii) auto racing (e.g.) formula one is sponsored by Marlboro.
 Economically there was the potential loss of millions of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.
 The tobacco industry stated that health care costs in India are paltry to start with therefore healthcare cost associated with smoking would remain low.
In the opening paragraph it was stated that the Indian government was faced with a conflict of interest. The government had to decide what was more important, the health of its citizenry or the potential revenue from taxation of the industry. The tobacco industry provides 12 percent of the excise revenue of the state exchequer. What should the government do should it give up source vital revenue that is needed for development? There is the possibility of also of millions of lost jobs to consider. Retaining the revenues would mean foregoing the ban on tobacco advertising, but what about health concerns and the deaths attributed to smoking. The Indian government would have attempted to answer several ethical questions: who will be harmed, who are the stakeholders, is this move legal and is it ethical. I believed that before making their decision the Indian government was confronted with an ethical dilemma, they considered the stakeholders then they made the decision to start by instituting a ban on tobacco advertising.
My opinion is that tobacco advertising should be given special attention by governments. Governments should implement these recommendations as follows:
 Revise the general laws relating to the consumption, sale and advertising of tobacco products.
 Tobacco ads usually end with...

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