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The Reynolds Company Business Ethics Essay

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2020

Not All Companies Are Viewed As Equal

Reynolds American is a United States tobacco company with headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The public tobacco company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange Market. Reynolds American makes a profit of US$ 4.2 billion per financial year and holds a total of 42% of the United States market share. Tobacco production is the leading agricultural activity in Carolina. The Reynolds American is one of the companies that the consumers view to be more equal than other companies in the land of free trade. The Reynolds American Company is consumer defensive, and its management team believes that the consumers are unfairly targeting the company. As a consumer, I find it unethical to allow the Reynolds American tobacco company to operate at the expense of consumers’ health (Saloojee & Dagli, 2000).

The tobacco industry in the United States brings revenue of 44.5$ million per financial year in the total federal government revenue. The nicotine in tobacco has a devastating effect on the lives of the consumers, although the economic benefits of the tobacco industry are many. The Reynolds American has countless campaigns and bills in favor of the tobacco business. The campaigns and bills do not involve the consumers’ views on the health implications after consumption of the final products.

According to Saloojee and Dagli (2000), the Reynolds American Company has an ethical obligation of protecting the people and consumers of tobacco by implementing policies that favor anti-tobacco campaigns. The Department of Health and Human Services steers the anti-tobacco campaigns through mandating the tobacco companies in educating the consumers on the dangers of smoking tobacco (Saloojee & Dagli, 2000).

The anti-tobacco campaigns are facing setbacks due to the advertisement clause that protects personal attack on the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies have the legal rights of penalizing the anti-tobacco campaign groups that violate the advertisement clause. The advertisement clause makes tobacco companies more equal than other companies. The tobacco companies have the right to run controversial adverts on the major television networks (Saloojee & Dagli, 2000).

According to McMahon (2012), the senior executives of large companies have an enormous role to play in shaping the final decisions in the modern capitalistic society. The major corporate companies are privately owned, but the decision-making process does not focus on the public good. The decision-making aims at profit-making in the competitive market and also promoting social prosperity. The Reynolds American operational policies are continuously undergoing changes for the purpose of incorporating the aspect of catering for the consumer and the company’s interests. The changes in policies give the tobacco companies mandate of making contributions to supporting the anti-smoking adverts and sponsoring television programs that educate the public on the side-effects attributed to smoking tobacco (McMahon, 2012).

The decision-making process of business ethics involves tabling the facts in line with the company’s mission statement. Beschorner (2006) argues that ethical standards ought to incorporate the social responsibility of operating the business and the moral of manufacturing the product. The Reynolds American tobacco industry addresses more economic concerns than the moral aspect of running the business. Utilitarianism is the major business ethical theory that guides the decision-making process in the tobacco company. Utilitarianism’s business ethics theory is comprehensive since it is based on concepts of human nature, motives, and pleasures. The senior executives of the tobacco company have the mandate of choosing morally good motives that do not cause harm to the consumers (Beschorner, 2006).


Beschorner, T. (2006). Ethical theory and business practices: The case of discourse ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 66(1), 127-139. Web.

McMahon, C. (2012). Public Capitalism: The Political Authority of Corporate Executives. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Web.

Saloojee, Y., & Dagli, E. (2000). Tobacco industry tactics for resisting public policy on health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(7), 902-910. Web.

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