The tobacco industry seems like a beneficial addition to our economy. It has basically been a socially acceptable business in the past because it brings jobs to our people and tax money to the government to redistribute; but consider the cost of tobacco related treatment, mortality and disability- it exceeds the benefit to the producer by two hundred billion dollars US. (4) Tobacco is a very profitable industry determined to grow despite government loss or public health. Its history has demonstrated how money can blind morals like an addiction that is never satisfied. Past lawsuits were mostly unsuccessful because the juries blamed the smoker even though the definition of criminal negligence fits the industry's acts perfectly. Some may argue for the industry in the name of free enterprise but since they have had such a clear understanding of the dangers of their product it changes the understanding of their business tactics and motives. The success of the industry has merely been a reflection of its immoral practices. These practices have been observed through its use of the media in regards to children, the tests that used underage smokers, the use of revenue to avoid the law, the use of nicotine manipulation and the suppression of research. Tobacco companies have relied on the media to lure children. They quickly realized that the company that dominates is that which most effectively targets young"(Imperial Tobacco document.) To counteract the idea of disease and other negative aspects of tobacco, the industry used imagery in the media such as natural settings and healthy actors doing active things. This helps them to insinuate that smoking leads to success, romance, sophistication and other advancements in their lifestyle, which was easily imprinted in the minds of children. A document found among Imperial tobacco files described their priority: "
having our imagery reach those non-reading young people who frequent malls should be our chief goal."(1.170) Unaware of how important the under 18 market was to the industry, the government could only attempt to lengthen the distance between schools and billboards because they're ineffective attempts were ignored by the large corporations. With many billboards concentrated in small areas it put the idea in children's minds that smoking was socially acceptable and that the majority of people were smokers. In the Mangini case, the plaintiff's lawyer's goal was to show how RJR was desperate to compete with Marlboro for the 14-21 age group so they created the Joe Camel campaign. Even though they blame its success on peer pressure the companies internal documents show otherwise. (2.a) Most of the evidence was industry studies on new smokers and how to attract them. One expert testimony showed that 90 % of six-year-olds recognized the popular characters on cigarette packs like Joe camel to be as familiar as Mickey Mouse and other childhood heroes. (3) Media advertising has a very subtle yet powerful effect on people and the tobacco companies have taken full advantage of its tools. The tests using underage smokers reveal the industry's disrespect for the law. In an experiment called Project 16,' Imperial Tobacco hired smokers as young as 16 who were interviewed and observed through closed circuit cameras. This revealed popular smoking conventions and traits of young smokers that was an asset in classifying different targets into sections which are reflected through different brands. This practice was pretty common among tobacco companies and are expressed in documents such as Imperial's "Fiscal '80 media plan." (1.169) They pursued this project further with another one called plus/minus, which had success in finding that cigarettes targeted to kids should be more bland since irritation would turn them off to cigarettes. Later another project called starting' had similar types of psychological probing but was a lot more effective. (1.166-175) Imperial Tobacco, along...
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