Philip Morris

Philip Morris is the worlds second largest tobacco company, and by nature has some serious ethical issues. Tobacco has been around since 6000 B.C. and was a cash crop that helped build America into what it is today. Despite all this, Tobacco is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths per year in the United States and Philip Morris is making billions of dollars off of it.

While an outsider can quickly look at the company and complain that there are unethical business practices going on, the situation at Philip Morris is more complicated than just selling a product that is highly addictive and responsible for 443,000 deaths per year.

Throughout the years the company has openly advertised to kids, added chemicals to make cigarrettes burn faster, and has admitted to using child laborers as young as 10 years of age. It seems to me that the company has become so accustomed to their unethical reputation and addictive product, that any further questionable actions will not affect their business.

In a blog post last week I wrote a bit on Megs comment about smoking in restaurants and why the government doesn’t ban cigarrettes all together. I found that the government makes a significant amount of money off of taxes from cigarettes, as well as through settlement money that is dependent on the big three tobacco companies remaining in operation.

In my opinion, the tobacco industry is a lot more unethical and corrupt than it appears on surface. I think this would be an excellent company to research for paper 2. Looking at the rise of the company and when it began to gain negative public light would show a lot more light on what is going on at their headquarters.










5 thoughts on “Philip Morris

  1. I always wondered about the relationship between cigarette manufacturers and governmental influence. It seems pretty obvious that the government is benefiting from the taxes on cigarettes… and yes this is extremely morbid but if people die earlier on if life as a result of lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking, maybe the government isn’t responsible for covering as many people on welfare?

  2. Hmmm this definitely gets me thinking… Is selling a product that is bad for you unethical? If that is the case, then there are plenty more companies that can be considered unethical, for example fast food companies, junk food companies, alcoholic beverage companies, etc. But then again, everything is fine in moderation, so is the fact that they are adding unhealthy additives what makes their company unethical? This should be an interesting topic for paper 2.

  3. I’d say that part of what makes a company unethical in this case is the fact that they are selling addictive products, not just unhealthy products. People consume all sorts of unhealthy products every day, but generally speaking have the will power to stop if they need or want to. In contrast, cigarette smokers have an incredibly difficult time stopping smoking habits because they become dependent on nicotine. Of course, this is more of a surface issue. I think your more in depth look at Phillip Morris is a great idea Rog.

  4. All human societies have forms of self-medication and/or ritualistic consumption of “drugs.” As you point out, tobacco has been around for a long time.

    Could PM simply shift and say- “Smoking will hurt you physically. But, it is worth it for what you get.” Just drop the attempt to make it cool, sexy or whatever. Just focus on the cost-benefit.

    And drop cartoons. Seriously. (Joe Camel…)

  5. Does the government really benefiting in terms of taxes on tobacco products when at the same time they have to spend heavily on medicare and cancer research? I think the link between government and tobacco and who is really getting better off in this deal will be a very interesting one indeed.

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