Electronic Cigarettes: The Ethical Implications of Marketing a Safer Cigarette

19 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2014

See all articles by Joshua Peterson

Joshua Peterson

University of Texas at Arlington; Texas Woman's University

Date Written: November 11, 2013


Free market and utilitarian ethics provide divergent frameworks to analyze the existing conditions and marketing campaigns of the electronic cigarette’s positioning in the US market space. Free market ethics encourages the aggressive use of any advertising promotions based on the ideology that the primary goal of a business is to do everything in its power to legally increase revenue for the organization’s shareholders. Marketing the e-cigarette as a “safer” solution to tobacco meets the ethical obligations of the organization and the consumer. Free market ethics places the responsibility on consumers to determine how the individual will define “safer” in their own contexts. In contrast, the utilitarian approach focuses on either the humanitarian or the economic welfare of the greater populace when determining its ethical positioning. On the surface, statements from the e-cigarette industry that promote a “safer” experience fail to meet the ethical requirements for a humanitarian-focused society. However, if the motivator changes from a humanitarian to an economic emphasis, utilitarian ethics allows an alternative approach that could defend the current marketing campaigns of electronic cigarettes.

Keywords: e-cigs, electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes

Suggested Citation

Peterson, Joshua, Electronic Cigarettes: The Ethical Implications of Marketing a Safer Cigarette (November 11, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2500600 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2500600

Joshua Peterson (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Arlington ( email )

415 S West St Apt no 205
Arlington, TX 76019
United States

Texas Woman's University ( email )

Denton, TX
United States

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