The movie, ‘Thank You for Not Smoking’ has a theme that mainly revolves within the tobacco industry.
This industry faces challenges due to the obvious reasons that, tobacco smoking is harmful to health, a fact that has resulted in anti-smoking campaigns, which evoke a decline in the number of young smokers.
As the film opens, the Academy of Tobacco Studies lobby, through its Vice President, Nick Naylor embarks on a mission to revive the otherwise collapsing industry. They conduct research and come out questioning the health claims, which discourage cigarette smoking.
To improve product the placement, Nick comes up with an idea of using cartoons in cigarette packets to attract young smokers, which raises many ethical concerns given Nick’s stand.
Nick admits that smoking is injurious to health but disputes the need for more warnings since there is enough public awareness; there cannot be enough public awareness to serious issues like smoking.
He insists on personal choice and responsibility as the key determiners of the morality of smoking. Despite an effort by kidnappers to poison him with nicotine, Nick does not relent in his mission.
He engages in an affair with a news reporter to avoid negative press coverage, an effort that backfires later.
Naylor wants his son to emulate him and goes with him to a very important mission. The authority disbands this lobby organization later, and Naylor forms a personal lobbying firm. This essay brings out the ethical issues in this movie and arguments to consider them moral or not.
The first ethical issue comes out when Nick is on the talk show, which features a boy suffering from cancer at the age of 15 because of smoking. Nick overturns the situation by claiming they would not be making money from what takes people’s lives.
He thus says that it is not bad if there is no evidence to prove that smoking is addictive or harmful (Waxman, 2006, p.B9). Nick trains his son to believe that whether you are right or wrong, it depends on how you argue.
As such, nothing can ever have concrete proof. Ethically, this argument is counterproductive, and Nick knows this very well.
The second ethical issue comes out when Nick advocates for the use of teens in advertising that discourages smoking but persuasive. The persuasive nature of these advertisement questions whether the move is genuine in the first place.
Ethics surround Nick’s decision to take along with him his son on a journey whose motive is to bring back smoking to movies done by famous actors. The morality of this move depends on whether or not the inclusion of these smoking scenes in the movies convinces one to become a smoker.
The fourth ethical issue revisits Nick’s decision to involve his son in his lobbying fantasies. Accompanied by his son, Nick takes a bribe, which constitutes bundles of notes to the ‘Marlboro man’ who is dying of cancer.
He goes ahead to tell his son that it is a move to silence the dying man as this would serve as concrete evidence about the effects of smoking (Waxman, 2006, p. B9). The scene brings out the unethical practice of people giving bribes to others in return of the favor.
Moreover, the troubling moral question here is; should children be taught the ways of corruption simply because someone wants to meet his/her gains?
Finally, Nick’s lobbying strategies and ideas highlight the ethics of ‘lobbying,’ as a societal practice. Although it is important in the business world, lobbying can make one make the wrong decision.
When the issue involves one is choosing whether he/she should support an action in which the argument brought forward affects his/her personal decisions by the lobbying individual. As such, only people in the business arena should engage in lobbying.
The movie Thank You for Smoking is a campaigner for the use of tobacco products. It views smoking as a decision that one should make at a personal level and not from fear imposed by threats of death on cigarette packets.
The controversy surrounding the issue raises different ethical and moral issues that people can unravel after looking into all the facts involved.
Waxman, S. (2006, September 10). The Son Also Directs. The New York Times, pp. B9.