Sample Management Essays on Controls on Tobacco Advertising and Corporate Sponsorship

Part A

Question 1

In The Coca Cola Company case study, there is a clear performance-expectations gap given that stakeholders at the company had high expectations on the quality of products as well as the processes involved in producing these products. The company’s Indian operations failed to meet these expectations for various reasons. Firstly, they utilized water, a scarce resource in the region, in a matter that was not sustainable. Secondly, they failed to undertake due diligence in quality control, which would have made it possible to rid the water used in manufacturing beverages of chemicals and impurities. Thirdly, despite setting an agenda to safely return water to nature, they set a long-term goal, meaning that they would continue to use more than they returned before 2020.

Question 2

By applying the strategic radar screens model, it emerges that the geophysical and social environments are the most significant. The geophysical is relevant because the company relies on a natural resource and is supposed to utilize it in a sustainable manner. The social, on the other hand, is relevant because the set of actions by the company directly affect the communities in their areas of operation.

Question 3

In my opinion, TCCC did not respond appropriately to this issue. It is unjustifiable for the company to continue utilizing water in an unsustainable manner based on the promise that it would operate sustainably in almost 2 decades-time. The company ought to have put up measures that would bring instantaneous results to the benefit of communities and the environment.

 

 

Part B: Controls on Tobacco Advertising and Corporate Sponsorship

Section 1 – Context

In order to stay profitable, the tobacco industry uses various direct and indirect strategies to promote tobacco products and their usage. These strategies come in the form of advertising and promotion, as well as sponsorships. Together, these strategies are defined by the umbrella term “Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship” (TAPS). These advertising and promotion strategies play an important role in encouraging non-smokers to start smoking and on smokers to continue using tobacco products. TAPS strategies are particularly aimed at the youth, a group that is at an age when most people initiate smoking. Women are also regularly targeted, especially with the client base comprising of men diminishing in recent decades.  According to research findings by Emery, Choi, and Pierce (1999), up to 33% of youth experimentation with tobacco products occurs as the result of TAPS. Tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship is also known to mislead the public into perceiving tobacco products as being harmless, just like other legal products (Emery, Choi, & Pierce, 1999). With tobacco usage being widely socially accepted, it becomes difficult for governments and health organizations to fight the tobacco industry. It is also worth acknowledging that the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars on TAPS, a significant portion of which goes to the media and entertainment industry. Influencing the media is important for the industry, as the media plays a key role in communicating the ideals that come to be accepted as norms in society. Having an influence on the entertainment industry, on the other hand, helps the tobacco industry to implicitly advertise their products. For instance, it is not uncommon for movie characters to be depicted smoking on a regular basis, something which influences the viewers to perceive the habit as being “cool”.

In spite of the limited limitations on the tobacco industry, which give it the capacity to utilize TAPS to influence other industries, and in turn consumers, tobacco usage is associated with a wide range of adverse health and environmental outcomes. Tobacco use increases the risk of coronary disease by 10 times and the risk of lung cancer by 20 times (NSW, 2019). Smoking also increases the risk of stroke and peripheral vascular disease; various cancers (mouth, bladder, and cervical); emphysema; and osteoporosis (NSW, 2019). These risk factors stem from the fact that tobacco products use up to 4000 chemicals, 250 of which are known to be harmful (National Cancer Institute, 2019). Some of these chemicals are hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and carbon monoxide (National Cancer Institute, 2019). Tobacco usage is therefore harmful to both smokers and passive smokers. It is also worth noting that a majority of the chemicals and other raw materials used to make tobacco products are detrimental to the environment. For instance, the plastic used to make cigarette butts is non-biodegradable so it ends up in oceans with wide-ranging negative outcomes on marine life (WHO, 2017). The agrochemicals used in the growing of tobacco have also been known to adversely affect the quality of the soil. Other adverse environmental outcomes of tobacco growing include an unsustainable utilization of water, large-scale deforestation, and contamination of water systems.

Finally, it is worth noting that tobacco is grown in developing countries, where farmers have little awareness of the adverse effects of farming tobacco on the environment and on the well-being of those directly involved in tending the plants and harvesting. It is reported that tobacco growing has such health effects as birth defects of offspring, malignant tumors, and brain and neurological disorders (WHO, 2017). In light of these factors, it is imperative that the tobacco industry is heavily regulated. Doing so would not only protect the health of smokers but also that of victims of passive smoking, including infants whose respiratory organs are delicate, making them susceptible to suffering life-long respiratory conditions. An important starting point in this effort will entail the wholesome abolition of all forms of TAPS. Not only should the tobacco industry be banned from marketing ready products, they should also be heavily taxed for encouraging tobacco farming. Governments ought to play an active role in all this. For instance, it is necessary for governments to prohibit media and entertainment companies from collaborating with the tobacco industry and to revoke the licenses of tobacco companies. Finally, it would be in the best interests of the governments and other institutions to illegalize tobacco products altogether. This would go a long way towards bettering health outcomes and protecting the environment.

Section 2 – What does this mean to my family?

It is at the family level that morals and values start being instilled in individuals. Thus, an individual’s decision to smoke later in life may be somewhat linked to the behavioral mannerisms instilled by other family members. A dysfunctional family is likely to weigh down on the mental wellbeing of an adolescent, something that is likely to promote the initiation of tobacco usage. In my case, I am fortunate to have a loving family which taught me the importance of having self-worth and of taking care of my body. Members of my family are well aware of the negative impacts of tobacco and they were kind enough to share this information with me from an early age. Thus, although I have encountered my peers initiating smoking and struggling to quit after prolonged usage, I have never had the desire to smoke.

Although none of my family members smokes, they are not satisfied with the state of affairs in legislations targeting the tobacco industry. Smoking in public spaces may be banned, but my family feels that the laws are not comprehensive enough to protect both smokers and non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoking. It is for this reason that 13% of the youth still smoke, several years after the ban was enforced (Arrazola, Dube, & King, 2013). Tobacco products are still readily available for sale in retail outlets and the guidelines on packaging have barely had the desired effect on regulating smoking. A successful approach would eliminate cases of non-smokers initiating the habit altogether. The tobacco industry still enjoys a foothold on the media and the entertainment industry, which explains why the media is rarely talking about the harmful effects of smoking. My family will feel at ease until a wholesome ban on all forms of TAPS is implemented. The senior members of the family have occasionally voiced concern over the future of younger family members in an environment that is constantly polluted by among other things, tobacco smoke. If these individuals had the opportunity to speak to a policymaker, one of the key agendas of the discussion would be protecting future generations by ridding society of all harmful drugs and substances, tobacco being among them. These individuals find it unfortunate that tobacco is not treated with the same level of meticulousness as marijuana, yet it causes greater harm to the health of the individual and the environment.

The issue of tobacco controls and corporate sponsorships is of great importance to my family. Many other families across the world likely share my family’s sentiment on the importance of regulation. Thus, legislators ought to consult with members of the community as they prepare future legislation targeting the industry. This is relevant in creating laws and guidelines that will protect the interests of the public.

Section 3 – What does this mean to my company?

As a tobacco industry executive, I acknowledge that profitability is a key motivation for us to conduct business. Therefore, the industry has, in the past, attempted to bypass various legislations in order to stay profitable. In recent years, our target has been the youth and women. The youth has always provided a ready and reliable market for our products, so we have been keen on keeping this segment with implicit marketing and sponsorship efforts. Women, on the other hand, comprise a relatively new market for our products. We have been able to take advantage of the feminist wave by helping women to associate tobacco usage with power and liberation (Amos, 1990). Tobacco brands have created the image of luxury and sophistication; confidence and style – in turn bringing women (particularly those who are single) on board (Amos, 1990; Pathania, 2011).  The results have been positive – the rate of smoking among women has risen as the result of tailored marketing, strategic branding, and creating tobacco products specifically for women (Pathania, 2011). In markets where this has failed, the industry has shifted attention to the developing world, where there are barely any legislations in place. As a result, the rates of smoking have diminished in various markets but they have increased in others. In turn, the tobacco industry has remained profitable going into the new decade.

While I pride in the aggressive approach that has helped us to remain profitable in face of the challenges encountered in recent years, I do not take pride in the adverse health and environmental outcomes associated with farming of tobacco, usage of tobacco, marketing and sponsorship programs by the industry, the health outcomes of tobacco usage, and the wide-ranging environmental effects of tobacco products. While we stand to benefit from selling tobacco products to consumers, every year, more than 7 million succumb to illnesses associated with tobacco use globally (CDC, 2019). Up to 10% of these cases are the result of health conditions stemming from secondary smoking (CDC, 2019). Thus, from an ethical standpoint, the negative impact of our industry far outweighs the positive impact, as only tobacco companies stand to benefit from marketing and selling the products. Unlike other industries that can participate in socially responsible behavior to the betterment of the communities and the environment, our industry can hardly do this without portraying tobacco products in a positive light. As such, there is not much that the industry can do to justify its practices.

On behalf of the tobacco industry, I feel that it is time to accept responsibility for the negative contribution we have made to the human race and the natural environment. I acknowledge that tobacco companies should no longer promote their products, with or without legislation. The industry will readily welcome any directions given by legal authorities, even if these will necessitate exiting the market altogether. The industry will also offer financial support to every individual suffering a chronic condition as the result of long-term tobacco usage. Moreover, the industry will provide the resources needed to help nicotine addicts to overcome the habit. Finally, the industry will support efforts for restoring the environment so as to reverse the damage caused it has caused over the years.

Section 4 – What does this mean to my country?

On many occasions, the government has fallen short of serving its mandate in enforcing the range of regulations necessary to weaken the tobacco industry. Market-oriented administrations have particularly turned a blind eye on the industry, allowing them to continually produce and market their products free of interference from the government (WHO, 2017). This partly explains why the industry has continually operated profitably in the country for so long after it was revealed that tobacco usage is detrimental to human health. The government has also been reluctant in the effort to regulate TAPS, chiefly by failing to restrict the tobacco industry from using implicit marketing methods and sponsorship programs. Ideally, the government should also regulate the content showcased by entertainment outlets and media companies to filter the content that advocates for tobacco usage. This has not happened, as evidenced by the high frequency with which tobacco-related content appears on different media platforms.

As the only entity with enough authority to protect citizens from powerful corporations, the government ought to do better in the fight against the tobacco industry. To lessen the influence of the tobacco industry, the government ought to take a stricter approach to TAPS. The effectiveness of the Federal Tobacco Act of 1997 in lessening the rate of smoking among adults serves as evidence that further regulation will surely advance the interest of the public. Although the more recent Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (2018) seeks to protect young individuals from initiating smoking, it makes vaping products readily available to adults, thus continually accelerating the risk of nicotine addiction. It is recommendable that this legislation is amended to further lessen the accessibility of tobacco products. Ultimately, the government ought to focus on criminalizing tobacco products as it has no known benefit to the individual.

Section 5 – Media Impact

Traditionally, the media has played an important role in facilitating the success of the tobacco industry. Although media outlets have responded positively to the need to dissociate themselves with tobacco companies by declining to advertise tobacco products, they have not done enough to be part of the solution. Media-sponsored communications by the tobacco industry are still commonplace, as evidenced by the appearance of visual cues that portray smoking in a positive light. For instance, local media outlets will readily play music videos showcasing people smoking or vaping. These music videos appeal to a particular audience, which will, in turn, be inclined to associate smoking with style. Media outlets will also showcase films and television shows with occasional smoking, further giving the tobacco industry a much-needed form of publicity. Finally, magazines (particularly women’s) have been a popular platform for marketing tobacco products (Amos, 1990). By portraying glamorously-dressed individuals holding out cigarettes, these magazines portray tobacco usage in a positive light, thus undermining the effort to fight against the tobacco industry.

The media has also failed to promote the fight against tobacco usage by reluctantly airing government-sponsored communications on the dangers of smoking. While government-sponsored advertising on the same may appear at some point, it is always overwhelmed by the content that gives a conflicting message on tobacco. The right step for the media industry to take is to serve its ethical mandate of protecting the best interests of its consumers. This would entail declining to air or showcase any content that portrays tobacco usage in a positive light and instead, actively communicating its dangers. Considering the media’s ability to reach a broad audience, different outlets, including websites, television, magazines, and even radio should dedicate an important portion of their programs to communicate the dangers of tobacco, among other readily available harmful substances. All this would go towards improving health outcomes in the community, protecting the wellbeing of the farmers in developing countries who unknowingly support the industry at the expense of their health, and protecting the welfare of the environment.

 

 

References

Amos, A. (1990). How women are targeted by the tobacco industry. In World health forum 1990; 11 (4): 416-422.

Arrazola, R. A., Dube, S. R., & King, B. A. (2013). Tobacco product use among middle and high school students—United States, 2011 and 2012. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report62(45), 893.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019). “Smoking & Tobacco Use.” Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm

Government of Canada. (2018). Tobacco and Vaping Products Act. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-concerns/tobacco/legislation/federal-laws/tobacco-act.html

National Cancer Institute. (2019). “Harms of Cigarette Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting”. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet

New South Wales Government (NSW). (2019). “Harms of tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke”. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Pages/harms-of-smoking.aspx

Pathania, V. S. (2011). Women and the smoking epidemic: turning the tide. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.scielosp.org/pdf/bwho/2011.v89n3/162-162/en

World Health Organization (WHO). (2017). “Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview”. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/255574/9789241512497-eng.pdf?sequence=1