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Tobacco Ads In India: Ethics Case Study

1190 words - 5 pages

Tobacco is used around the world, and its negative health effects are also public knowledge. Since everyone knows that tobacco can seriously harm people who use it, many countries face the ethical dilemma of allowing this harmful substance to be sold, regulated, and smoked. The case study “Ban on Tobacco Ads by the Government of India” addresses some of the effects of an advertising ban on tobacco in India, as well as the conflict of interest that the advertisement prompts. While I do strongly feel that smoking is harmful and dangerous, I do not think that the government should ban advertisements in India, because if they start by banning ads for one substance, they could move on to banning others. Would anyone like to see caffeine or alcohol banned, just because too much of those substances is harmful? I do not think that anyone would support that ban, so I believe that the government should not ban advertisements, while people should be the ones to regulate their own habits. I will return to this point after summarizing main arguments of the article.
There are many arguments in favor of banning tobacco advertising in India. The main reason for launching the ban was to try to reduce the number of teen smokers, as well as to build the beginnings of an official government anti-tobacco program. According to the case study, people also hoped that starting a ban would make politicians seriously think about tobacco and pursue other ways to make fair choices about tobacco and smoking in India. Reducing teen smokers was crucial, because everyone worried that enticing advertisements would persuade children and teens to start smoking, or at least experiment with tobacco products in order to replicate what they saw in advertisements. Caring about teen smokers was not the only reason for the ban: many people believe that governments have to protect the health of its citizens, and smoking can be deadly. The World Health Organization was quoted in the case study, and according to the WHO, over three million people died from tobacco-related causes twenty years ago, and the WHO predicts that over ten million will die from these same complications in 2030. That is an unacceptable number of people to die from preventable causes! Since these statistics are public knowledge, legislators thought that it was important to implement the ban for the sake of public health and the people who live in India.
On the other hand, there are also strong arguments that opposed the ban on advertising tobacco products. Most of these issues were related to economic facts, but some took the form of philosophical responses to the government’s role in protecting its citizens. People choose to smoke tobacco, and they know the risks when they start this behavior. By pretending that the government can make this choice for citizens, it greatly reduces the freedom people have. Another argument against the ban was because of lost jobs: due to the tobacco industry, and estimated...

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