Criminology- Tobacco Industry

In-spite of various studies, researches and awareness among people on the ill effects of smoking and tobacco manufacturing companies being construed under the corporate crime, there are various aspects of tobacco still continue to make its presence felt among the people in the form of different kinds of snuffs and cigarettes because still people love smoking. One of the reasons behind it is stimulant and intoxicating and addictive effects. Secondly few years back smoking was considered as cool, fashionable and sign of modernity. Next many people had false notion that smoking could give them protection from illness and was not harmful.

This notion was construed in their minds by the advocators of the tobacco industry who formed a committee to promote various products of the tobacco industry. They were using various strategies like media advertisements, hoardings, literature etc to make people remain attracted towards their smoking products and luring the youths towards it showing the macho image. Tobacco industry adopted several strategies to counter the medical community reports on the ill effect of the smoking and tobacco related products and brought before people its contribution towards government exchequer in form of the taxes.

But when people began to realize the effects that tobacco was causing on the health of the people, the same media and literature with the language that touches the heart people began to despite it with new campaigns propagating how smoking can cause lung cancer and several other harmful effects not only on their health but also on whole society. Criminology theorists began to bring the company promoting or manufacturing tobacco products or trying to be part of its marketing under the category corporate crime or white collar crime and now the literature is replete with these cases.

Introduction Where several industries are making their niche in the globalized market of today, place of tobacco industry also cannot be ignored. In 2002, more cigarettes were being traded as compared to any other product with trillion sticks crossing international borders. This caused American cigarette brands to reach every corner of the world with only four companies having monopoly over 70 per cent of the global market. Top United States tobacco firms were earning more from the international market than from the local market.

This fact was revealed by the investigation team of the Nation, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the PBS newsmagazine show NOW With Bill Moyers. (Schapiro 2002: Online) They discovered how the companies were undergoing multibillion-dollar trade business from smuggling of cigarettes. Smoking- In Historical Perspective Historical evidences revealed the fact that tobacco plant was first grown in America around 6000 BC and around 1 BC, American Indians were using tobacco for variety of purposes including ceremonial and medicinal.

On 15th October 1492, American Indians offered Christopher Columbus tobacco leaves as gift and it is believed since then its popularity grew among European sailors who introduced these leaves in Europe and subsequently all over the world. (Royal College of Physicians of London 2000: 1) It was only after 100 years, tobacco began to be burnt in pipes first in England and then in Europe. Slowly pipe smoking gave space to the tobacco to be used as snuff and then it got into cigars and ultimately cigarettes became the most pleasurable commodity in developed countries and then in developing nations as well.

Smoking and Culture Only few years back, one packet of cigarette was costing 50 cents, was easily available and every one was permitted to smoke anywhere and anytime. From the social point of view, it was considered as most respectable and leisure commodity especially for men. Without any stigma and without any realization of its consequences, people smoked and the simple reason was they loved to smoke. Cigars and dangling pipes from the mouths of royal genre inspired painters, sculptures and writers of the literary world making smoking as symbol of modernity, and strength.

Smoking was representation of rebel youths personified by the actors in the world of movies and advertisements through Marlon Brando, James Dean and Marlboro Man. Smoking took the most incredible place in literature with writers posing their characters as iconic figures as that of Sherlock Holmes with dangling pipe in his mouth solving dazzling mysteries. In short stories and novels too, smoking left an incredible image of male showing their masculine powers- a typical macho man. But by 1964, scenario changed when report of Surgeon General was released.

This report was an eye opener for people as then they began to realize the impact smoking was slowly creating in their healthy lives with its harmful chemicals. Realization of the gravity of risk began to daunt their sub conscious minds with the exposure to their habit of smoking. Reports after reports of the studies and research on smoking were bringing out the extent to which smoking was posing health problems among people and slowly and slowly link between the premature death and smoking was also established.

In 1980, many lawsuits were filed against tobacco industry for the harmful effects and politically ban on smoking was also being put with many public places putting strict restrictions on it. With these regulations, tendency of literature towards smoking and smokers slowly began to decline and censorship was imposed on movie makers, writers, advertisers and other artists for any display of smoker or smoking activity which could again lure youth towards it causing implications on their health and society at large. Smoking – Contradictory Approaches

“The tobacco industry is the greatest killing organization in the world. The harm done by all the armies in the world combined, will not begin to equal the damage inflicted upon the human race by the combined activity of the cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors of tobacco. ” (Gehman, 1943: 216) This fact has been realized by several nations and with the entry of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Industry, countries are in the process of enacting their legislation to put a partial or complete ban on tobacco industry.

After the report of Surgeon General in January 1964, ‘World Tobacco’ magazine also printed two-page article on ‘International perspective on smoking and health. ’ This report ended in a review of by Dr. H Aschenbenner of W. Germany, who was also the Secretary General of the International Association of Scientific Tobacco Research who said, “before reports on smoking and health are taken seriously, those making the reports should have psychiatric certification that they are not suffering from pyrophobia (fear of fire).

” (Borio 2003: Online) He showed in his works that “I have proven that tobacco antagonism often springs from a morbid (and often unconscious) pyrophobia — a phenomena whose many manifestations include suppressed fear of the ‘big fire’ or atom bomb. ” (Borio 2003: Online) This shows that few years back scientists themselves had differing views on the effects of smoking. The ‘Tobacco Industry Research Committee’ was established which espoused the idea that scientists were themselves holding contradictory views on the ill effects of smoking for e.

g. in 1954, there was an article on the front page of New York Times which reported that all the doctors and scientists attending the American Cancer Society were of the belief that smoking causes cancer, but in the same article a representative of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee reported that the above poll taken from doctors and scientists was biased and unscientific.

But in the same year in 1954, when Doctors Graham and Wynder found the fact that tobacco tar if painted on the skin of mice could cause cancer, TIRC again posed counter allegation stating that, “Doctors and scientists have often stressed the many pitfalls present in all attempts to apply flatly to humans any findings resulting from animal experiments.

” (Borio 2003: Online) In whatever way TIRC tried to prove its validity but it is quite sure that they tried to retain public interest towards the smoking making them disbelieve the scientific reports. Tobacco industry also constituted the Tobacco Institute whose main purpose was to promote the tobacco industry by making people understand the role tobacco had played in contributing towards the national income and increase of the revenue.

Only in the first issue of the Tobacco News, the President of the Institute said, “The Institute and this publication believe that the American people want and are entitled to accurate, factual, interesting information about this business [tobacco] which is so important in the economic bloodstream of the nation and such a tranquilizer” (Borio 2003: Online) The Tobacco Industry Research Committee remarked in 400 newspapers titled A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers that the tobacco companies acknowledged their responsibility towards the public and they promise to know about all the ill effects of smoking and would conduct independent research on the same. (Borio 2003: Online) With these words and conducive language, Tobacco Industry Research Committee created false notions in the minds of people regarding positive relationship between health and smoking and acting as a spokesperson, tried every bid to promote the interest of the industry. Despite criticism from all fronts against smoking, the industry made efforts to mislead public on the gravity of the ill effects of smoking on health and over all society.

Their materialistic tendency and interest in profit making caused them to undermine the true scientific research and findings. Currently this committee is operating in the name of Council for Tobacco Research. In 1964 when first Surgeon General’s Report came out, it created spur among not only among the people but also politicians and whole industry. It was clearly stated in the report that smoking causes cancer. During that period, around 50 per cent of the Americans were smoking but as soon as this report came out, the smoking considerably reduced. Again in 1967, there was warning on the cigarettes packs itself regarding the ill effects of smoking. In 1971, there was a ban on cigarettes advertisements and these advertisements began to show ill effects of smoking.

How the institutes and organizations misled people is clear from this point when the Tobacco Institute of Australia gave their advertisement in the newspaper stating that there was no valid evidence not even valid scientific study or research that could prove the point that smoking causes ill health and diseases among nonsmokers. (Borio 2003: Online) Since the early 1980, due to the pressure of International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on developing countries to privatize state owned industries and liberalize foreign investment laws, it caused state and many entrepreneurs in the tobacco industry to sell their companies. This led to 140 mergers and acquisitions in the industry involving many multinational companies and in many cases, subsidiary of the most of these MNC’s replaced the incompetent and inactive state owned industries.

These third world companies produced highly priced and poor quality tobacco products, which were limited to old people but the transnational tobacco industry replaced it with jazzier and fancier international brands targeting young people including women. Along with this, new markets for them emerged in America and Asia inducing these companies to start their manufacturing plants in these areas. These areas were not only the leading markets of their products but also had low tariff making them the most profitable venture for these companies. The acquisitions, mergers and opening of the barriers gave boost to smuggling. It was estimated in 2002 that one quarter of international traded cigarettes were entering the black market, making cigarettes the world’s leading smuggled product. All benefits of this smuggling went to the tobacco manufacturers and wholesalers.

(Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 43-44) The smuggling and increase in trade increased the consumption of smoking again in almost all over the world and with serious health consequences. In this literary work Globalization and Health, writers disclosed that, “Early political lobbying by tobacco companies, and the subsequent U. S decisions not to establish standards over tobacco products, has had global implications. The lack of regulatory mechanisms in the United States has certainly influenced the fact that tobacco has also existed in a regulatory “no man” land internationally. ” (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 45) Industry tapped Asian market by spreading the trend so prevalent in the European nations by employing the ancient strategy of associating cigarettes with modernity, internationalization and prosperity. For e. g.

India was traditionally using bidis and chewing tobacco but by getting exposed to the cigarettes through the marketing global strategies of the companies, Indian youth began to use cigarettes. Industry makes the use of every medium like television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and the new generation medium of communication- Internet to promote cigarettes. Industry is also using number of indirect methods of advertising like sponsoring of national and international level sporting and entertainment events to increase the popularity of their cigarettes brands. (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 47) Efforts of the industry to deny the ill effects on account of the smoking and their efforts to spread the same could not reduce the declining health of the people all over the world.

Scientific observations over a period of fifty years by doctors in United Kingdom proved that cigarette smoking for a longer period of time increase the mortality rates. Lung cancer among the males also increased from ‘5 to more than 75 in 100,000, a 1. 4 % increase in fifty years’ (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 52) and lung cancer became the most common form of cancer. The increase in the international trade of cigarettes encouraged many advocators to formulate cooperation and coordination to initiate actions for the control of tobacco. Conferences were held at the international level like World Conference on Tobacco or Health held in 1967 and this international interaction also increased with the emergence of the Internet. For e. g.

when United States trade representative filed its complaint against Thailand to allow their cigarettes to have a free access in their market, Prakit Vateesatokit, a Thai Tobacco Control advocate attended the Asia Pacific Association for control of tobacco and met Greg Connolly, a tobacco control advocate from Massachusetts. Vateesatokit, Greg and along with his colleagues with the support of the Thai government got themselves appointed at the official delegate to plead for the case of Thailand to the multilateral forum of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Connolly and other international level experts drafted and put into practice the world’s strictest control policies over the trade of tobacco. With the help of the Internet too, advocators of anti-smoking and public health activists were able to know the real persons engaging in the trade of tobacco.

Following the example of Thailand, several countries were able to file individual law suits against tobacco industry for the grant of compensation against the health care costs and posed challenge to the illegal trade practices which had taken the form of corporate crime culture. (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 54) Increase in the cooperation among NGOs also helped to increase the lobby against tobacco industry and subsequently media, which had once made smoking a symbol of power, endurance, pleasure and fun also started portraying its ill effects. For e. g. World No Tobacco Day has emerged as a very large international event. On the same day in 2000, new legislation was passed in Brazil, South Africa, European Union, Lebanon, Switzerland and Malaysia. In Pakistan, cricket star Imran Khan called upon all associated with sports to stop accepting sponsorship from companies associated with tobacco industry.

In Thailand, 10,000 people took a march singing songs against use of any form of tobacco. (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 55) There was a whole new language and a new idiom to create a lobby against consumption of tobacco. For e. g. California’s counter advertising campaign displaying “Don’t be duped”, exposed the behavior of tobacco industry. (Kawachi & Wamala 2006: 57) The facts regarding ill effects of any form of tobacco consumption and efforts of all over the world to put a ban on the entry of any tobacco related substance and the manner in which many tobacco companies carry out smuggling made a cause for the complete tobacco industry to fall under the category corporate crime. Literature Review and Perception

There are various works of literature and perceptions regarding the concept corporate crime and criminology depicting and analyzing the various factors that constitute crime and criminology. Academic literature displays what is crime and what factors constitute criminology and crime theories. Tim Newburn’s Criminology written in 2007 is a thought-provoking book on crime and criminologists depicting theories effecting crimes. One of the few criminologists to expressively display his theoretical disposition about crimes and criminologist is Sutherland. He began his explanation by stating the fact that classical and individualistic explanation about the crime is not much of greater help.

He formulated the differential association theory with the notion that “offender has been subjected to a greater number of normative influences that support offending than those that reject or resist it”. (Newburn 2007: 385) Though this theory is not used now in describing the white colour or corporate crime but the social learning that he defined plays the most important part in understanding what is known as corporate misconduct. Geis study also predicted that in a bid to cope with the market pressure, companies resort to the activities that induce customers to buy products, which in turn causes harmful effects but still they have tendency to deny their responsibility. Not only this, they also deny the injury that their conduct may cause, deny the victims and above all they pose the appeal to higher loyalties.

(Newburn 2007: 385) To this, Garry Slapper and Steve Tombs too stated the fact that “dark figure of the crime that remains largely invisible in the statistical representations is the corporate offender. ” (Slapper & Tombs 2002: 105) It is absolutely true as corporate offenders cannot be easily identifiable. As compared to conventional criminals, corporate criminals cannot be easily maintained and retained and in this criminal activity, victims generally remain ignorant about the gravity of the crime and crime itself and they are away from the real offenders and tobacco industry is not an exception. Jim Fitzpatrick-A Victim of Smoking It’s a dreaded story of Jim Fitzpatrick whose family became victim of smoking. All family members got lung cancer and all of them were smokers.

This disease took the lives of his wife, mother, father, brother, grandmother, both of his uncles and an aunt. After this tragedy, he stopped smoking himself and also vowed he would never enter the pub-where drinkers’ freely resort to smoking. (McElroy 2004: Online) This is not one case but medical history of the world predicted that “Tobacco alone would be responsible for killing ten billion people in 21st century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, if current trends hold,” according to the Associated Press article Tobacco could kill 1B this century in The Detroit News published on 11 July 2006. The establishment and spread of tobacco companies itself account for corporate crime falling under the differential association theory.

Their conduct is not different than any other criminals as they can smuggle their tobacco products and resort to any means to attract them. Conclusion Since last two decades, researchers have been putting great focus on the concept criminology and criminologist theory focusing on the concept how the crime originates and the manner in which crime takes place but corporate crime is a recent phenomenon involving various kinds of crimes like frauds, embezzlement of funds etc. Lately, criminologist theorists are also focusing their attention on to what extent tobacco business can be considered as a corporate crime, and they found that any company producing tobacco for sale of products, which creates harmful effects on the lives of people is indulging itself in corporate crime.

Earlier literary studies were more depicting the tobacco and smoking as a cultural indicator, a symbol of macho man and a leisure activity but as studies began to show the extent to which it is harmful to the health of humans, literary tendency started to shift towards the depiction of its ill effects provoking people to disassociate themselves from any kind of smoking conforming to the legislative ban on tobacco industry in almost every developed and developing nation of the world. Reference List Associated Press. 2006. Tobacco could kill 1B this century. The Detroit News, p 4A. Borio, G. 2003. Tobacco Timeline [Online] Available: http://www. tobacco. org/resources/history/Tobacco_Historynotes. html [11 January 2009] Gehman, J. M. Smoke Over America. East Aurora, N. Y: The Roycrofters, 1943. [Online] Available: http://medicolegal. tripod. com/effects. htm [11 January 2009] McElroy, M. 2004. The heartbreaking story that every smoker must read.. DYING FOR A. [Online] Available: http://findarticles.

com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20040502/ai_n12893191 [11 January 2009] Newburn, T. 2007. Criminology. Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Kawachi, I & Wamala, S. P. 2006. Globalization and Health. New York: Oxford University Press US. Royal College of Physicians of London. 2000. Nicotine Addiction in Britain. London: Royal College of Physicians of London. Schapiro, M. 2002. Big Tobacco. [Online] Available: http://www. thenation. com/doc/20020506/schapiro [11 January 2009] Slapper, G. & Tombs, S. 2002. Corporate crime, official statistics and the mass media, in Criminology: A Reader edited by Yvonne Jewkes and Gayle Letherby. London: SAGE: 105-115