Commitment and support

During the time when there was a huge and massive campaign regarding the health dangers that cigarette-smoking can cause, the cigarette industry leaders put their heads together and came up with a document through which they formally pledged their commitment and support for the research and studies regarding tobacco use and its effects on health. This written promise to aid and assist such endeavors was placed in a full-page advertisement that was printed in 448 newspapers around the country, which represented a total circulation of more than 43 million people in about 250 cities.

Even now, it is common knowledge that cigarette does more harm than good to the health, but most people do not even care. The author has cited in the case that far from discouraging people from smoking, the renowned clip that it is dangerous to their health – a required line to be made part of all advertisements of cigarettes – in fact served to attract people to try them out and to smoke, given their natural penchant for what is dangerous and not safe. Thus, what was intended to be a fair warning about the ill effects of cigarettes ironically appealed to the adventurous and even proud side of some consumers.

Though the internet age has enabled people all over the world and of all age brackets to gain access to all sorts of available information, promotion and advertisement of all products available in the market, I believe that there should be special restrictions on the advertising and marketing of products that are lethal like cigarettes, liquor and other hard drinks. The same restriction imposed by the Cigarette Advertising Code should remain to exist and should be attached with penalties so that it will be taken seriously and will be honored by the concerned manufacturing companies.

A legal challenge mounted against this opposition might use the “freedom of speech and expression” line. But as long as there are enough people to lobby such restriction, it will continually be enforced. A free market thinker would view the history of the tobacco industry described by the authors as communitarian. The industry’s history is a saga of the repeated attempts by concerned members of the community to educate the infiltrated portion of their community regarding the dire effects of cigarette-smoking.

In the same manner, community members who were convinced that cigarette does not really pose a threat to their health and instead actually made them feel good and confident would do the same thing and win other community members to their side. The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first world treaty dealing with public health, entered into force on 27 February 2005, thus making the provisions of the treaty legally binding for the first 40 Contracting Parties to the Convention.

Even now, almost three years since its inception, the treaty remains steadfast in its aims to advance international cooperation to protect present and future generations from the preventable devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. (Department of Health and Aging website)  With the growing awareness of people today about health and fitness and the general leaning toward healthy food, drinks and habits, the treaty’s prospects of fulfilling its goals are bright.

Starting with just 40 participating countries, the alliance for the Convention is now composed of 168 countries. As of January 8, 2008, the USA is among the 25 “countries that have signed but have not yet ratified. ”  (FCTC website) The jury awarded punitive charges against Ford because even if Ford lacked the “malice” literally required by the California Punitive Damages Statute as basis for such charges, numerous California cases already have interpreted the term “malice” to include conduct that is indicative of a conscious disregard of the probability that the actor’s conduct will result in injury to others.

On the basis that the prevailing criminal law and the business standards set for manufacturing companies do not effectively deter them from producing and marketing products that turn out to be defective, it is better that the punitive damages granted to the victim be a substantive and sufficient amount to totally discourage such malpractices.

Punitive damages will have to be paid by Smith & Nephew to Green for manufacturing and selling defective and unreasonably dangerous gloves without adequate testing and watching out for any adverse effect that they may trigger and for any form of allergies that they may cause. On the other hand, had Smith & Nephew expressly indicated on the packaging of their product that they will not be responsible for allergic reactions of clients to their manufactured gloves, then they could have used such argument against having to pay damages.