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Business Ethics - A study on the tobacco industries in the United States and France

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  1. Situation
    1. Tobacco, its history
    2. How the situation came about?
    3. Ethical context, political dimensions, financial aspects, ethical challenges
  2. Interference of United States : business / protection of citizen
    1. A fundamental value: liberalism in business
    2. A duty of the State: protection of citizen
    3. An ethical challenge: how regulate tobacco industry?
  3. Tobacco policy in France
    1. The success of Evin law
    2. Regulation by taxes
    3. Difference with United States

US President Barack Obama promised to reduce tobacco consumption of the youth. He explained that he too was in their situation, and wanted to reduce influence of tobacco companies on young people. In consequence, on April 2, 2009, the United States Congress has voted a law to put tobacco products under control of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has imposed some advertising restrictions such as printing graphic warning on the top half of cigarette packages, banishing event sponsorship, substance control, and restriction of advertising media. This law has created a big hue and cry in the United States. While Obama has supported the last step, Massachusetts has denounced it in 2001. Consequently, this last one has created a polemic based on the values of the country. Thus, this situation is a little bit paradoxical coming from a liberal country. The United States has been a defendant of freedom of expression in the entire world and wants to employ force to prohibit marketing and communication. In consequence, the ethical challenge of this law is: should the state interfere in the business or does he should let people to choose? Hence it seems to be paradoxical with liberal values of the state. Marketing restrictions in tobacco industry touch liberal values of the nation and create a large polemic in politic, and can lead to losses in a profitable industry. This contradiction poses a new ethical challenge: should the state decide for the people?

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