O'Neill Institute Papers


Are There Any Ethical Barriers to Effective Antismoking Measures?

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The tobacco industry and its allies often attack tobacco control measures as paternalistic efforts that violate smokers’ rights and interfere with individual liberty. Although these arguments have no constitutional or other legal basis, they still have considerable rhetorical and persuasive power. But logic and rational analysis can prevent others from accepting these flawed ethics-based attacks as valid. New ethical analyses of the tobacco industry are also needed. So far, tobacco industry product development, marketing, and sales practices have rarely been held to any ethical standards. By detailing how tobacco companies continue to act unethically, thereby causing enormous amounts of preventable death and destruction, new ethical analyses could increase support for more active tobacco control efforts. Tobacco control ethics should also go on the offensive and provide new ethical critiques of government inaction.