Throughout history many industries manage to be successful enterprises, recreational substances like alcohol and tobacco have been under scrutiny in modern times. The detrimental impact on the health of our society has become a matter of concern of our government. Tobacco is responsible for more than six million each year. World Health Organization (2012) The origin of tobacco is ancient it is believed to have begun growing in the America’s in 6000 BCE. Borio (2011) Man has found inspiration with this long time leisure.
The industrialization and modernizations of farming and advances in technology has increase the proliferation of one of the most profitable industries, the cigarette industry. According to the World Health Organization World Health Organization (2012) tobacco related deaths have are could increase to more than eight million by 2030. During the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s Philip Morris was one of the giant Tabaco manufactures. They were called to testify in front of Congress as a result of the discovery of internal research documents.
During the testimony the Tabaco giant decline the accusations of unethical research involving children & young adults. The charges were address in front of congress, leading the investigation was the House of Representative Henry Wax D-California. Multiple charges including performing nicotine injections, studying hyperactive third graders as potential smokers to promote the benefits of smoking as a calming agent as opposed to drugs and electric shocks on college students to increase amount smoked were some of the charges against the Tabaco manufacturer.
Philip Morris executives denied the charges, Chief executive William Campbell testified in 1994 saying he has never seen such research. However, in 1969 the company records indicated that smoking was addictive stating: smokers need the “pharmacological effect” of tobacco. Company scientists wrote that the craving was so great, it “pre-empts food in times of scarcity on the smoker’s priority list. ” This was more than a full decade before the surgeon general deemed nicotine an addictive substance. San Francisco Chronicle (1995) In this instance there were several unethical research practices taking place.
The tracking of hyperactive third grade children involved obtaining private medical information without the knowledge of parents. This research was intended to be used to show that smoking was of a benefit to these children when they became teens as it would allow them to have the calming effects from the nicotine instead of taking the known proven medications. This research began in 1974 well after the addictive properties and dangers of smoking were known. The study of college students which involved shocking students to induce stress to determine if this increased the amount they smoked was once again involving a vulnerable population.
This research began in 1969 the same time that the company identified the addictive properties of tobacco. Since the company was aware of this fact studying ways to increase the amount an individual smoked was not only endangering the test subject’s health but resulting in a direct increase in product sales. In this example of unethical research practice identifying the injured parties is not as clear cut as to say Mr. X was injured. The college students in the study would be considered injured parties due to the increased exposure to cigarettes and the harm they cause.
The children in the study of third graders would also be injured parties. They may not have been physically exposed to the dangers of smoking directly by the company however their schools and pediatricians this would label the children throughout their childhood. The Philip Morris Company was impacted by the discovery of this unethical behavior through the many new laws passed by the government limiting the type of advertising that all tobacco companies are allowed to use. No longer are advertising that appears to children legal which brought the end to Joe Camel.
Also advertising on television and bill boards was also banned. Limiting the advertising type and location had an impact on sales. Additionally the laws requiring the cigarette manufacture to place health warnings on the packages this also impacted sales and expenses with the initial changes required. The specific studies were ended in the late 1970’s this resolved those particular unethical acts. Avoiding this type of behavior in the future is simple for the company by asking there selves are we targeting a vulnerable population in order to increase sales?
Are there known harmful effects to the study participants if the theory that is attempting to be proven is correct? ?
References Borio, G. (2011). The Tobacco Timeline. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from http://archive. tobacco. org/resources/history/Tobacco_History. html/ San Francisco Chronicle. (1995, July 25). Tobacco Giant Accused of Unethical Research. San Francisco Chronicle, p. A. 1. World Health Organization (2012). Tobacco. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from http://www. who. int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/index. html