E- Cigarettes: Legal and Ethical Controversy Essay

Nova Southeastern University
Wayne Huizenga Graduate School
of Business & Entrepreneurship

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Date of Submission:September 14, 2012

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Title of Assignment:E- Cigarettes: Legal and Ethical Controversy (Professor F. Cavico)

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E- Cigarettes: Legal and Ethical Controversy
Nova Southeastern University
Wayne Huizenga Graduate School
Of Business and Entrepreneurship

E-Cigarettes Legal & Ethical Controversy
Table of Contents
1.Social Responsibility ()4
2.Is it Legal? ()7
3. It is Ethical? Utilitarian Approach ()10
4.It is Ethical? Kantian Approach ()13

Social Responsibility

Electronic Cigarettes were “originally manufactured in China beginning in 2003, E-cigarettes are born from the idea of creating a better way to inhale nicotine, either to quit or to sustain a nicotine addiction without the many health effects of smoking” (Bejzak 2013). In order to mimic and penetrate the tobacco market, the inventors of E-cigarettes created an “electronic cigarette that is a battery-powered electronic nicotine delivery system that looks very similar to a conventional cigarette and is capable of emulating smoking, but without the combustion products accountable for smoking’s damaging effects” (Bejzak 2013). The release of the combustion of the liquid nicotine creates a vapor that is known as “Vaping”.

The marketing campaign of E-Cigarettes includes less nicotine intake, cheaper than cigarettes, safer for the environment, the greener and healthier way to smoke. E-cigarettes promise their consumers that it will help them quit the bad habit by gradually reducing the nicotine intake. After mentioning all these attributes to smokeless tobacco, we need to remember that the liquid nicotine used in the E-cigarettes is addicting and could be encouraging for teenagers to initiate smoking.

E-cigarettes release vapor not smoke. Since smoke is not release to the environment and surroundings, E-cigarettes manufactures are encouraging their consumers to use this product in a smoke-free environment, such as smoke-free bars, workplaces or airplanes. “This messaging may encourage dual use of smokeless tobacco and cigarettes among smokers, which raises significant health concerns. Dual use is associated with several negative health outcomes, such as increased rates of cardiovascular disease and pancreatic and esophageal cancers and greater risk of inflammatory bowel disease” (Popova ; Lin 2013).

The tobacco industry is one of the most irresponsible social industries; it has claimed over 100 million lives and polluted the environment for many years. This industry keeps on growing by using marketing strategies that attract young prospect clients that will become lifelong addicts.

The E-cigarettes are becoming a popular fad amongst smokers all over the world. Consumers are buying them to find an alternative to quit smoking, reduce cigarette consumption, to relieve tobacco withdrawal symptoms due to workplace smoking restrictions and to continue to have a smoking experience but with reduced health risks.

The ultimate goal of any company is to increase the stakeholders’ equity but in order to increase its profits the company needs to introduce products to the community that will be safe to the consumers and the environment.

Social responsibility is defined as the responsibility that a company has toward its consumers and the environment. A company that is socially responsible is involved with the community and the environment, therefore will be more accepted by its community.

We will suggest the following recommendations for the manufacturers of Electronic Cigarettes in order to be in compliance and become more social responsible to their consumers and environment: 1.Recycle the E-tubes and batteries in order to create a better and safer environment. Recycling boxes should be place at the tobacco stores and all distributors in order for the consumers to participate in the recycling program. 2.Create a rebate incentive program that will be applied to your transaction when you purchase a new E-cigarette and return the old E-cigarette tube. 3.Work with the school system and local government agencies to develop Educational Campaigns at the school level to teach the future generation of America that “Vaping” is as dangerous to their health as “Smoking”. 4.Manufacture warning labels on all the E-cigarettes products in order to teach the public that E-Cigarettes are not safe to the human body and will create different illnesses and diseases. 5.List all the different chemicals that are used to manufacture the liquid nicotine. Inform the consumers that liquid nicotine can be addictive. 6.The Government should apply the same rules, requirements, regulations and restrictions of cigarettes to the companies that manufacture and distribute E-cigarettes. 7.The manufacturing companies should donate a percentage of their profits to a research ; development
company under the supervision of the government to analyze the risks or benefits of the usage of E-cigarettes. 8.Allow the FDA and Government agencies to regulate, analyze and decide if the use of E-cigarettes is an alternative to quit smoking.

At this particular point in time, the government does not have any control over the manufacturers of E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are advertised as the safest and a healthier way to quit smoking. They do not have any restrictions and this industry is growing by the second.

We do not know much about the damage that can be caused by the exposure to the vapors and the direct inhalation of liquid nicotine. Not too many tests and analysis have been made by the FDA in regards to the usage of E-cigarettes. “We hope that in the near future we can discover the benefits or harmful health effects of using electronic cigarettes, with consideration given to the acceptability, safety and effectiveness of this product to serve as a long-term substitute for smoking or as a tool for smoking cessation” (Caponnetto, P., Campagna, D., Papale, G., Russo, C., ; Polosa, R. 2012). As a conclusion, the tobacco industry has found another alternative to increase their sales by introducing to the market a new tobacco related product. The latest products available to the market are Electronic Cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and are sold to the public as the ultimate alternative to quit smoking in a healthier way. The FDA and local government agencies need to get involved in the regulation of E-cigarettes in order to make the manufactures more socially responsible. The manufactures of E-cigarettes need to be in compliance and follow the regulations of the tobacco industry. By labeling, recycling, marketing, educating and fomenting the benefits or harms of E-cigarettes the manufactures will create and develop new socially responsible products that help the environment and the community.

Is it Legal?
You may have seen some advertisements about electronic cigarettes, or perhaps you have even considered using this product yourself. If that is the case, then there is probably some point in time when you have wondered if it was
even legal. It is almost hard to imagine that they have now created something that is electronic in the cigarette realm. The use of a product like this is sure to raise eyebrows among certain circles of people, so looking into legal issues on this product is wise (Cavico). In terms of its legal status, the electronic cigarette is neither a cigarette nor is it a product used to help people recovery from cigarette addiction. This is despite that people may use it for both of these purposes in reality. Electronic cigarettes have only been available in the United States since 2006, so it is easy to see why legal questions still surround this product. For what it is worth, more than one million Americans claim to have used the product to help themselves recover from a nicotine addiction that they had. The electronic cigarette companies are not necessarily interested in advertising the fact that they can be used as a way to get off regular cigarettes. If they were to state this, then they would fall under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration, and that is not something that they necessarily want to do (Cavico). Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insist that the product is a drug device legally speaking. This means that the FDA is not necessarily going to regulate this product in the way that it regulates products that are used directly to help people stop smoking. The FDA has looked at several of the most popular products in this niche to test them to see if they contain anything that may be harmful to consumers. Despite not directly regulating these products, the FDA does take a hard look at them to see if they are going to look at a possible ban on the product in the United States. Believe it or not, this is still possible even without the direct oversight of the FDA. E-cigarettes are selling like inhalable hotcakes since their approval in the United States, but these “safe” cigarettes still face challenges from state and federal laws. These nicotine-vapor devices are currently regulated similar to other tobacco products, but there are some hot legal differences. For instance, FDA can’t control sales. FDA tried to get e-cigarettes regulated as “medical devices,” which would have placed the FDA in control of where they could be sold. But the FDA’s attempt failed after a federal appellate decision in 2010. Although the federal government can regulate the marketing of e-cigarettes under the same laws that govern other tobacco products, the standards are much lower than for medical devices under the
FDA. Another debate is about Flavored Cigarette Ban. In 2009 the FDA was successful in placing a ban on flavored cigarettes (excluding menthol) sold in the United States. This ban has not been lifted, and yet e-cigarettes, like the ones sold by Blu, are currently available with flavor cartridges like Pina Colada and Java Jolt (Trejos, 2013). Also, no one yet is verifying therapeutic claims against E-cigarettes. An American Cancer Society group approached the FDA in 2013 and asked them to re-evaluate the use of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cessation tools. Nicotine gum and patches have claims that are regulated by the FDA under their drug/medical device rules. But companies that sell electronic cigarettes may be hyping their therapeutic benefits without any oversight. Indoor Smoking Bans is the common myth is that electronic cigarettes are exempted from a slew of state and local indoor smoking ordinances. For instance, in New Jersey, smoking e-cigarettes inside a public place is illegal. Remember also that each business can choose to enforce stronger policies on e-smoking, even barring smoking outside as well as inside their stores. Potential health and safety risks with e-cigarettes are concerns among the government. As many regulators have been astute to point out, the long term health effects of e-cigarettes is still widely unknown. Depending on which electronic smoke you decide to purchase, it may very well blow up in your face, literally (Trejos, 2013). The federal appeals courts in the country have ruled in favor of the e-cigarette companies when they have been taken to court over various issues. The FDA has done what they can to get these products banned or at least regulated, but so far the companies have won their battles. Various state governments have also taken to trying to get e-cigarettes banned in their states. One example of this was in Illinois where a bill to ban the product died in a House committee. Electronic cigarettes are not subject to the tax levies that are put on other type of cigarettes. This means that many states are looking to try to regulate this product as a way of bringing in more revenue for their budgets. Although there is nothing that is legally requiring them to, the electronic cigarette companies have agreed to not sell their products to minors. If they were to lift this ban, there is a chance that the states would come down harder on them. All in all, electronic cigarettes are a legal product, but one that certainly comes under plenty of scrutiny from state governments and the federal government
as well. Those who are under the age of 18 are also not going to be able to gain access to this particular product. Other than that, people are currently going to be able to have access to electronic cigarettes (Trejos, 2013). Is it Ethical? Utilitarian Approach

According to (Cavico), so-called “E-Cigarettes” a smokeless, nicotine-filled electronic cigarette that a growing number of people are trying to help them quit smoking “real” cigarette, but also to avoid bans on smoking in public. Electronic cigarettes, the Wall Street Journal reports, typically consist of a metal tube, containing an atomizer, a battery, and a cartridge filled with liquid nicotine. When a user sucks on an E-Cigarette, a light-emitting diode causes the tip to glow, and then the atomizer turns the liquid nicotine into a vapor. The magazine which reports the findings of the National Consumers’ Institute said it tested ten different rechargeable and disposable models for carcinogenic and toxic properties. Editor Thomas Laurenceau wrote: ‘We detected a significant quantity of carcinogenic molecules in the vapor of these cigarettes which have thus far gone undetected. ‘In three models out of ten the levels of the carcinogenic compound formaldehyde come close to those of a conventional cigarette. ‘The highly toxic molecule acrolein was also detected in the vapors of e-cigarettes, sometimes at levels even higher than in traditional cigarettes.’ Several anti-tobacco and smoking organizations have demanded that E-Cigarettes be banned because the product has not been proven to be safe and that children may also be attracted to the product because of their use of flavors such as chocolate and strawberry (Cavico). “Normative systems that base their moral evaluation of an act on the consequences of that act good consequences make an act morally acceptable, bad consequences make an action morally wrong are called consequentialist or teleological ethical systems. This part of the paper will attempt to address the ethical controversy regarding E-Cigarettes. The Utilitarian approach and the following questions will be used to determine if E-Cigarettes are a moral product pursuant Utilitarian ethics. Is it moral for companies to promote and sell e-cigarettes as an alternative consumer replacing product for smoking? Cigarette smoking diseases are caused the burning of the numerous chemicals found in traditional tobacco cigarettes as research have found.
E-cigarettes companies claim that their product is a safer choice for permanent use and that replaces the dangerous smoke with a clean nicotine delivery system. Furthermore, e-cigarettes only supply the nicotine without the smoke and the tobacco. Who is affected directly and indirectly by the use of e-cigarettes? Companies that manufacture and sell e-cigarettes are affected negatively by the pressure of consumer groups and activists pushing for regulation and banning of e-cigarettes and positively by the recent growth, popularity and sales of the product. User of the product is affected positively as e-cigarettes serves for many as an alternative way to nicotine consumption, a way to avoid the ban of smoking in public and an alternative to the harm caused by cigarette smoking. The negative effect is that e-cigarettes is an alternative to smoking and are not primarily intended to treat nicotine addiction. Countries like Canada, Mexico, Israel, Brazil, Hong Kong, Panama, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have completely banned e-cigarettes. They are also regulated heavily as medical products in Denmark, where they are technically illegal but none have been licensed so far. Some places, such as Finland and Australia, have rules where they can technically be sold, but can’t contain nicotine. Many countries also have marketing bans on all nicotine products, which cover e-cigarettes (Fox, 2013). Do e-cigarettes and vaping produce the greatest good for the greatest number? Recent studies, as mention earlier have brought to light evidence that e-cigarettes have negative health effects similar to those of smoking regular tobacco. It’s also fair to say that the e-cigarettes have not been studied in depth. The lack of definite research on the product and the uncontested evidence of the adverse health risks found with cigarette smoking where nicotine addiction are the same of e-cigarettes, provide a justified reason to propose government regulation. Full product disclosure from manufactures would help in order to further studies and disclose to the public adverse health effects if any found in research. Under the Utilitarianism doctrine e-cigarettes would be considered morally wrong even though e-cigarettes can provide much pleasure for many and society can benefit from the revenues, tax dollars and jobs generated by the company’s manufacturing the product. The insufficient evidence provided by the manufactures that demonstrated the overall usefulness and benefits of e-cigarettes, and lack of evidence that e-cigarettes are not harmful to
one’s health as smoking regular tobacco could be made as the main argument. In addition, the negative effect on society with possible pollution of air caused by the vapors released from e-cigarettes, the potential life lost and the economy cost and loss of productivity due to illnesses and major health complications in the long run places a bigger burden and uncertainty on the many. The doctrine chooses to protect and over-protect its citizen and the lives of billions with laws and bans and ignore the freedom of few.

It is Ethical? Kantian Approach
Electronic cigarettes, is pretty similar the old fashion smoke, it, looks like the real but it is completely different. Actually, the only thing that they have in common is nicotine. Instead of tobacco however, e-cigarettes are filled with liquid nicotine. When smokers draw on the business end of the tube, a battery heats the nicotine, which creates a water-based nicotine vapor that is inhaled into the lungs. The excess cigarette-like “smoke” vapor is then emitted from the end of the e-cigarette, completing the cigarette smoking illusion. (2010, 08). Retrieved 08, 2013, from http://quitsmoking.about.com/b/2009/08/03/tobacco-in-the-news-32.htm. Since the electronic cigarette is a new product in The United States and its sales are growing fast, the FDA is focus in the safety of this healthy alternative to smoke. The electronic cigarette is a smoking alternative that is relatively new to the market here in the United States. It is a product that is not regulated by the FDA at this time, though that may change in the future. According to the founders and distributors the e-cigarettes is as a healthier alternative to traditionally manufactured cigarettes, which contain thousands of chemicals, are poisonous, and carcinogenic. Also, electronic cigarettes have had little testing done to conclude the dangers they might pose, so the word of mouth that e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative is unclear. Even though not all companies clearly label their ingredients, electronic cigarettes include water, nicotine, scents or flavorings and propylene glycol, a common ingredient used in hand sanitizers. For this reason, Federal regulators and antismoking groups are taking steps that could get rid of e- cigarettes, the smokeless nicotine products embraced by a growing number of smokers trying to quit the habit or avoid bans on smoking in public. The American Lung Association, along with
the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, recently called for e-cigarettes to be removed from the US market. This association claim that e-cigarette hasn’t proved to be safe and that kids may be attracted to it, some of which come in flavors like chocolate and Vanilla. According to Erika Sward, director of national advocacy at the American Lung Association “Nobody knows what the consumers are actually inhaling.” Most of the electronic cigarettes companies say that the devices are safer and do actually help tobacco smoker to quit. On the other hand, critics say that their statements are unsubstantiated since science has proven that electronic cigarette does harm one’s lungs. It’s been clear for years that Nicotine itself is harmful to the human body and very addictive. Also, without proper regulations, it is difficult to quantify how much of nicotine can be found in each e-cigarette thus showing inconsistency. (2012, 08). Retrieved 08, 2013, from http://casaa.org/uploads/ECA_The_Facts_About_Electronic_Cigarettes.pdf. Some smokers claim that electronic cigarettes can help a smoker quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. As electronic cigarettes are unregulated by no authority or even enclosed by any tobacco laws, they are sold online and in shopping malls. In some instances they are even cheaper than the normal tobacco cigarettes and with this they get to be easily available to young adults and sometimes children too. There is a lot of controversy surrounding electronic cigarettes in the USA. Mainly because manufacturers and sellers of e-cigarette have been questioned on business ethics. As it is stated and proved over the years any kind of inhalation of nicotine is harmful for humans. So it is here the question. Is it ethical the sale of e-cigarettes claiming that it is safe and not harmful? One principle of ethics according to Kant, says that an action, even if it produces a greater good, such as an exploitive but profitable overseas is nonetheless disrespectful and demeaning and treats people as mere means, things, or as instruments, then the action is not moral. Instead everyone should be treated with respect. Following Kantian ethics, it is not ethical to sell a product that disregard consequences just to make profit out of it. (2011, 08). Retrieved 08, 2013, from http://jbsq.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/March-2011-8D.pdf. However following Universal Law if a company is selling a product that kill, that
action would be immoral because ultimately no one will be left to buy anything. On the other hand, it is been proved that not every smoker die because of cigarette, so if the consumer has the chance of not buying the product because it is harmful; selling e-cigarette become a choice, so it will pass Kant’s Law, therefore it would me moral for companies to sell electronic cigarette.

References

Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe? | corec.org.uk. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://corec.org.uk/are-electronic-cigarettes-safe

Bejzak, L. (2013, Aug 26). Enjoying the vapors. Intelligencer Journal / Lancaster New Era. Retrieved http://search.proquest.com.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/docview/1427854293?accountid=6579

Controversy Swirls Around E-Cigarettes – WSJ.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124390176699074609.html

Caponnetto, P., Campagna, D., Papale, G., Russo, C., & Polosa, R. (2012). The emerging phenomenon of electronic cigarettes. Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, 6(1), 63-74. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/ers.11.92

Cavico, F. J. (n.d.). huizenga.nova.edu. Retrieved 08 13, 2013, from huizenga.nova.edu/5015/cases_bySubject.cfm: http://www.huizenga.nova.edu/5015/Cases_CaseStudies/ECigarettes_Legal%20and%20Moral%20Controversy.htm

Etter, Lauren (2009). Controversy Swirls Around E-Cigarettes. The Wall Street Journal, p. B7.

FDA Issues Safety Alert for Electronic Cigarettes. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://quitsmoking.about.com/b/2009/07/27/fda-issues-safety-alert-for-electro
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Fox, L. (2013, February 07). ecigarettereviewed. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from ecigarettereviewed.com: http://ecigarettereviewed.com/countries-where-vaping-is-banned-and-why

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Popova, L. & Ling, P. M. (2013). Alternative tobacco product use and smoking cessation: A national study. American Journal of Public Health 103.5 (May 2013): 923-930.

Trejos, Nancy (2013). Do smoking banks apply to E-cigarettes. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com.

Retrieved from http://casaa.org/uploads/ECA_The_Facts_About_Electronic_Cigarettes.pdf.

Retrieved from http://jbsq.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/March-2011-8D.pdf.