Of Politics, Morality, and Tobacco Regulation

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USFSP Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

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https://digital.usfsp.edu/honorstheses/35; https://digital.usfsp.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=honorstheses
Dimon, Karen Mae
University of South Florida St. Petersburg; Digital USFSP
thesis / dissertation description
The production, consumption, and regulation of tobacco is presently the subject of much discussion and debate. While the issues surrounding tobacco have been debated for decades, much of the current attention on tobacco is due to the many proposals to regulate tobacco, the state and class action lawsuits pending against the tobacco industry, and the damaging tobacco company documents that have recently been made public. Most tobacco control proposals are intent on expanding the presence of government in the tobacco industry through increased regulation and taxation. A majority of the controversy over tobacco regulation focuses on the role of government in a capitalistic market. How much regulation is allowed by law, or required by morality; How much regulation is too much? Or when it comes to a product proven to cause death, such as tobacco, is it ethical to allow it on the market virtually unregulated, as it has been for decades? Where do we draw the line between fostering capitalism and promoting public health when the interests conflict with one another? After tracing the history of governmental regulation of tobacco and the concurrent antitobacco movement, this thesis will emphasize the most significant aspects of the current proposals to increase the governmental regulation of tobacco products. As history and the facts present themselves, it becomes clear that the opposing sides in this controversy do not possess equally compelling arguments. However, the debate is not simply two-sided; there are many issues at hand, each of which intertwine with one's own subjective reality.