What is your understanding of the major social, political, and economic ratifications associated with findings of deception perpetrated by the tobacco industry and cigarette manufacturers?
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A smoker I know switched to loose tobacco as a result of the manipulation of tobacco product in the cigarette industry. This does not constitute a social trend, but one would hope that smokers will choose more wisely and that industry(ies) will act more ethically and responsibly.
The argument that so many smokers who I know use is that of personal choice. I agree with other editors that deception is pretty much worthless now, as everybody is aware of the health impacts of smoking. Ignorance just isn't a credible defence any more. People therefore justify their habits by saying it is their personal choice to smoke and accept any of the consequences that may come as a result. The interesting thing will be to see if increasing evidence about the dangers of passive smoking impacts this perception or not.
The other posters have pretty much covered the relevant answer: people will smoke as long as they are allowed. Tobacco is a legal product; hell, you can buy a simple kit and grow your own if you want! And as #4 points out, everyone -- EVERYONE -- knows that smoking kills. However, everyone also knows someone who's smoked two packs a day for fifty years and shows no signs of illness... so we mask our scientific knowledge with anecdotal evidence when it confirms our bias. Raising taxes on cigarettes, thus causing the price to increase, doesn't seem to help. At this point, there's really nothing we can do except STOP SMOKING. If very few people are buying their product, the companies will increase their marketing for a while, and then focus on other areas.
By the way, it seems to me that cigarette use is much, much higher in other parts of the world than in the USA. Anyone have first-hand knowledge of this?
With any luck, laws designed to protect "whistle-blowers" will make it less and less likely that people in any industry will be afraid to come forward when they know of illegal activities. I am guessing (but am probably very naive in making this assumption) that such laws have helped cut down on the amount of deception being perpetrated by all kinds of companies, the tobacco companies included. I have noticed that there are now ads actually promising rewards to people who report on software piracy. I wonder if such rewards could be established to give people an incentive to report illegal activities in other industries.
When this was discovered, the tobacco companies had to enter into legal settlements with the states and paid out tens of billions of dollars in payments. This had no real long term effect on the industry, because, for a long time now, Europe and Asia have been much better customers than America for their products, and they knew they would be able to pay off the settlements easily with profits from those regions.
I believe you meant "ramifications" rather than ratifications.
In any case, I don't believe misrepresentation by tobacco companies has any real significance. Sure, they will try to portray tobacco as safe. But we all know tobacco is dangerous. And yes, the tobacco industry has tried to hide from us such evils as purposely raising nicotine levels to increase addictiveness of their products. Big surprise!
Tobacco kills. You know it, I know it and we all know it. I expect tobacco companies to deceive. Likewise, I expect smokers to continue smoking, despite their knowledge of the danger.
I agree with #2. I will also add that when people get addicted to cigarettes they seem to not care if smoking is bad for them. And, I think the cigarette companies know that. So, they keep making cigarettes and selling them any way they can. As long as they put a warning on the package label, they figure the liability then falls on the consumer if they choose to smoke. I could be wrong, but I personally don't think the tobacco companies are ever going to have to worry about being put out of business by their deceptions.
It is hard to say if this will have much of an impact. There have been warning labels on tobacco products for years. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. The fact that many people continue to smoke cannot simply be due to deception on the part of the companies. Therefore, it seems likely that people will continue to smoke.
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