Not All Companies Are Viewed As Equal
Become an advocate for either the consumer or the industry. Prepare an argument explaining the major reasons why you support either the consumer or the industry.
Not all industries are viewed equally, as some industries happen to be harmful to their consumers. The tobacco industry is one such industry and continues to be a menace to the populace with their addictive products on to which people get hooked and have difficulty getting off it. Even though there is argument that the consumer should be held responsible for their decisions, this would not be fair as far as the tobacco industry is concerned. The tobacco industry goes out of their way to entice people into the habit of using tobacco related products; deception included is the image in Stanford Research presents (Stanford Research, 2015).
If people were left to their own devices, then it would probably make some sense to let them be responsible for their decisions. The challenge, however, is that is not the case. The tobacco industry is one of the most aggressive advertisers. It has a strong appeal that it has directed towards the younger generation. The problem is, even as the industry is aware of the dangers of their product; they keep luring in unsuspecting consumers. In the case where consumers are knowledgeable, they have sought to downplay the severity of the products harmful effects (Brandt, 2012).
The truth is, even with foresight about the harmful effects of tobacco products it is very hard to resist them. The industry uses cutting-edge advertisement and marketing of their products. These are designed to play on human weakness making it difficult to avoid the products. They now prey on the younger generation as they are more supple and easier to redirect. Their products are given an appeal that is hard for these youngsters to avoid. In the end, they throw caution to the wind and are eventually hooked, some of them for life.
The fact that the tobacco industry hides the truth from the public for years as they kept reeling them in goes to show they cannot be trusted. They are in it for the money and have no qualms as to who is being hurt in the end. Tobacco-related illnesses, on the other hand, contribute to some of the highest preventable health costs that the world has to shoulder.
Explain the role capitalism plays in corporate decision-making
Capitalism is a major tobacco industry driver. One of the primary reasons an industry gets into business is to make profits. Sadly, these profits do come at a considerable cost to their clients in terms of their health, shorter life terms, and cost to government health facilities from unnecessary causes as tobacco. The Reader’s Digest in 1952 specified the dangers of smoking in an article they published titled Cancer by the Carton. It had an enormous effect as other periodicals also got on track to designing comparable reports, and those that smoked finally noticed. Cigarette sales declined the following year, the first in over two decades (CNN, 2000). Because of this the tobacco industry lost lots of revenues.
Tobacco is a multi-billion industry. It is a serious cash crop for some of the third world countries in which the industry leaders like British American Tobacco (BAT) have invested heavily in its production. It makes humongous contributions in taxes in many countries making its ban a challenge. Doing so would deny the governments the much-needed funding, in so doing complicating the tobacco problem.
According to Brandt (2012) powerful expansions and findings, consolidation of scientific methods, all demonstrated smoking caused lung cancer, cardiac diseases, and acute respiratory problems leading to death. When the health concerns about the harmful tobacco effects came out in the early 1950s, the industry took a beating and resorted to misinformation.
The confusion as to who was telling the truth was a while in coming out. Considering they had the financial influence, the tobacco industry was able to delay the true revelations about tobacco.
Discuss if you believe it is possible for a company to cater to both its best interest and that of the consumer conjointly or if one always has to prevail. Justify your response.
It is not practical for the tobacco industry to care about their consumer’s interests. Even if they desired it would kill their business, as happened in the early 70s when proof that smoking causes lung cancer came out. Tobacco is addictive, all they need is to hook their clientele on to the product, and they are likely to stay loyal. Smoking has been found to be harmful if consumed. Worse still is that its effects are passed on to the innocents (passive smokers) who are not partaking of its ills. That said, the better-informed people are about the dangers it poses them, the more unlikely they are to consume the product.
Consumer growth depends heavily on their level of ignorance or recklessness about the dangers of tobacco. The producers knew this and for several years, they doctored research to return results that presented tobacco as not being harmful to consumers (Brandt, 2012). There have been so many legal battles that they have vested lots of funds to steer the judgment in their favor; in a sense to hide the truth from their unsuspecting clients.
When public opinion exceeded their influence, it has since brought about decisions that tobacco-related advertising be reduced, they are now required to write the dangers of smoking on their products. Though it does not stop smoking per se, it at least acts as a deterrent reducing the
number of would-be smokers. Even then, the strategy remains to reel in their consumers young as they are bound to remain hooked to the products longer. Aside from that, the tobacco ads are skillfully and cleverly designed to minimize the truth of its harm as a Stanford research discovered. In one ad it states; “20679 Physicians say, Luckies (a cigarette brand) are less irritating “Its Toasted.” And right below is written, Your Throat Protection against irritation against cough” (Stanford Research, 2015). A singular example of the deceptive modes the industry uses.
In as much as logic posits, the consumer should be responsible to make their decisions on the products they consume. Producers usually withhold information from users, which information would help their informed choices. Producers, therefore, should share all knowledge on products to prevent consumer choices out of ignorance. After the tobacco sponsorship, advertising, and promotions ban. There was a 7% reduction in smoking, a position Blecher (2008) agrees with, showing the power and influence of the tobacco ads (WHO, 2013).
The other reason consumers need protecting is these industries command millions of dollar and invest heavily in psychological marketing that is apt at getting the customers soft spot. In so doing, they are no match against these conglomerates who are several hands ahead of them. It is therefore not ethical to expect consumers in all fairness to be able to make wise choices. The advertisements force their decisions.
The tobacco industry, as history has already proven, does not have consumer protection as one of their interests. They distorted information to keep the industry thriving. It is presently one of the most regulated industries, and a major health hazard at that to both consumers and passive consumption as well.
Blecher, E. (2008). The impact of tobacco advertising bans on consumption in developing countries (1st ed., pp. 2-30). Cape Town: University of Cape Town.
Brandt, A. (2012). Inventing Conflicts of Interest: A History of Tobacco Industry Tactics. Am J Public Health, 102(1), 63-71. doi:10.2105/ajph.2011.300292
CNN. (2000). CNN Interactive – Tobacco under attack. Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 13 April 2015, from http://edition.cnn.com/US/9705/tobacco/history/
Stanford Research. (2015). Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising. Tobacco.stanford.edu. Retrieved 13 April 2015, from http://tobacco.stanford.edu/tobacco_main/index.php
WHO. (2013). WHO | Ban tobacco advertising to protect young people. Who.int. Retrieved 13 April 2015, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/who_ban_tobacco/en/
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