Tuesday, September 03, 2002

We can always count on the tobacco companies to take the low road when it comes to protecting profits and protecting people's health. Phillp Morris pressured Dow to force Dow's Nicorette-manufacturing subsidiary to drop the health warnings about smoking from its advertising as a condition for sealing a big sale of chemicals used in the processing of tobacco.

One is tempted to berate the immorality of the companies involved. But we must remember that corporations do not exist to be moral. They exist to make profit. It is the job of the regulators of commerce to place limits on how they go about making that money. And the best way to influence corporate behavior is through monetary incentives be they positive or negative. The optimum plan for tobacco would be to restrict their ability to attract new customers. Perhaps require that they pay surcharge on their advertising that would go to care for people with tobacco-related diseases.

No comments: