In today’s modern world, all the inhabitants have their rights to know about all issues. Tobacco is one of these issues that hall world is aware of its harm to human body. It is one of the key issue that gears lung cancer (thirty percent of all cancers are due to smoking), heart attacks and many countless diseases and quick deaths. For an example, tobacco use kills more than 440,000 people each year in the United States. This number is more than the total number killed by AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicles, homicide, illegal drugs, and suicide combined (tobaccofreekids. org ).
Moreover, smoking is responsible for 4.2 million deaths per year (in 2002) and that number will climb to 8. 4 million deaths a year in 2020 (www. no-smoking. org). However, besides its world known harm, there are still millions of smokers around the world which are continuing smoking who are being aware of its awful effects. As there is huge amount of these kinds of consumers around the world, there are many tobacco producers such as Philip Morris, The British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and many more. These companies are global companies and operating in different continents, in hundreds of countries.
These kind of firms are generally has a bad reputation on many groups. US Cancer Chief announce them as terrorist as killing and harm is the main issue in terrorism (Itzkovich 2005). For now, especially developed countries like UK, USA, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, there are huge campaigns are taking place to force smokers quit and to break the back of these kind of companies. Government and other social groups are also supporting these kinds of activities. Besides these points, tobacco companies are employing thousands of employees and enabling them to earn money especially in undeveloped countries.
The options they feature is very important. Also these companies pay huge amount of taxes to government. As an example, in Canada when one package of cigarette is sold, 7 % of its amount goes to government. Chairman of JTI announced that, as a tobacco company, they are not encouraging anyone to smoke and he added that everybody knows the effects of smoking and their company is just trying to capture the adults who like smoking (www. tobacco. org).
In the opinion of BAT, their only market target is the ones who really understand and notifies the harms of smoking which are adults in this case (www.bat. com). U. N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the number of smokers would grow to 1. 34 billion around the world by 2050 from the current 1. 28 billion due to normal population growth (www. no-smoking. org). In the opinion of these companies, all these billions of smokers do not wish to quit smoking and they are responsible from these ones and added that they are showing keen interest on preventing children from smoking and announcing the bad effect of smoking also in undeveloped countries (www. bat. com).
The aim of this report is to find out how tobacco companies are. In identification of this subject, this report is divided in to three parts. First one is stakeholder consideration of tobacco companies and second one is ethics of tobacco industries and the last one will explain the unethical action of tobacco companies. Including Tobacco companies, it is obvious that none of the business enterprises is an isolated thing. One business is always in interaction with many firms which has different responsibilities for each of them.
Enderle (2000) pointed out that, there are primary and secondary stakeholders around a company. Primary stakeholders are employees, customers, shareholders and suppliers. Second stakeholders can be explained as media, government, environment and other groups which are interested in business. Regarding to tobacco companies, all these stakeholders are also around companies’ environment. Take BAT as an example. They have responsibility to their customers. As a company they are responsible to fulfil their demands.
They need to continue producing their products to not loose their customers and also adding new ones to their customer portfolio. It is obvious that first reason of running business is making profit. No money means no business (Fisher and Lovell 2003). The other primary stakeholder is shareholders. This group can be explained as the real owners of the company who give money and time to run business smoothly and continuously. In case of any problem, they will be effected by the situation.
In terms of employees, BTA employs thousands of employees around the world. BTA’s profit rates, business situation also effects them. If business starts having some problems in terms of making profit or loosing reputation, this group will be under risk of loosing their business and they begin to worry about their future and also same problem will effect suppliers and their relationship with the company. In the opinion of Green (1993) all these bonds, stakeholders, primary or secondary, they are always link together and none of them can be thought separately.
As secondary stakeholders, in terms of tobacco companies, they are under a huge pressure from government, media, environmental and other related groups. Especially in developed countries, governments are restricting their activities in many areas such as in media advertising and increasing the taxation rates for these kinds of companies. Moreover, media and other groups which are interested in situation are making propagandas all around the world to lower down the sale rates of tobacco companies.
Recently, these activities definitely effect the company’s reputation and in worldwide. The number of adult smokers reduces by some 1 percent a year (www. no-smoking. org). Tobacco companies are now trying to make profit and also trying to face up with the problems that their secondary stakeholders make up. In one side of the coin, they are producing cigarettes which kill people but on the other side, they are featuring many opportunities to employees, governments and to their suppliers.
Furthermore than these points, British American Company announced that, they are making huge investment on health sector and they are building hospitals and related health institutes all around the world to fulfill their social responsibilities (www. bat. com) However Bhatiasevi (2001) argued this idea by saying that, ‘The cost of tobacco in, every country is higher than the gains added that the medical expenses of people with tobacco-related diseases was much greater than the income earned from cigarette sales’.