Social Responsibility of Smoking

Introduction

One old habit, which has been practiced by a big population of people, is smoking. Smoking entails consumption of tobacco through burning it. Though burning of this substance, a person inhales the vapor that comes from smoking tobacco. The vapor is absorbed by the alveoli situated in the lungs and in turn causes the body to have chemical reactions in the nerves endings. After the nerves system is affected by this substance, a person’s memory, reaction time and alertness is affected. Men are notably known to have a bigger number of the number of smokers as compared to women. However, though there is a big gender gap between men and women, the gap lessens in the older age. Unlike men, women start this habit when they are of an older age.

Main Body

In every business venture, an organization aims at ensuring that they minimize the expenses they encounter, and at the same time increase the revenue they get from the sales they get. Tobacco companies are not an exception in achieving this goal. However, due to existence of anti-tobacco movements, they find themselves taking the responsibility of having social responsibility, which is actually an expense in their part. The reason behind having social responsibility is ensuring that these organizations get to good graces of the anti-smoking groups, who influence the government to making restrictions on the business (Rowell, 2002).

Groups campaigning against usage of tobacco have had success in ensuring that organizations are bound by certain rules that minimize their business activities. In bid to ensure that these organizations do not push the government to have restrictions in the running of their businesses, tobacco companies have resulted to taking social responsibility when carrying out their activities.

There are several issues that have led to existence of social responsibility among tobacco companies. Among the main reasons that organizations are involved in social responsibility is the fact that there has been continued pressure by health groups to ensure that these organizations take this responsibility. In turn, this has resulted to these organizations holding meetings with an aim of taking their responsibility for the products they offer to the public. Severally, there have been boycotts by some of these health groups in attending these meetings as they feel that organizations are not taking enough responsibility.

A good example of such a boycott was done by American Cancer Society when they were due to have a meeting with Brown and Williamson Company. However, it is notable that just because the organization takes social responsibility of being involved in social responsibility, it is not always that the company will run responsibly (Barnett, 2011). The best way to ensure that responsibility is taken by these organizations is ensuring that they promote transparency and accountability to their organization. It is actually due to lack of transparency in the meetings aimed at discussing about transparency that has led to presence of boycotts in these meetings.

Another reason as to why companies in tobacco industry involve themselves with social responsibility is to ensure that they create a public opinion that is positive. In other words, these organization aims at ensuring that they create an impression that just like any other business organization, they are concerned and responsible of their customers and the satisfaction they get from the products they offer. The organization may also get involved in social responsibility affairs to create a general public perception that is against the negative press that is created by health bodies (Richardson, 2010).

The social responsibility may also be aiming at gaining political influence to ensure that there are minimum registrations that are acting against their business activities. Through involvement in these activities, organizations tend to woo the politicians from making registrations that aim at limiting their control of the market. An example of the same is Philip Morris of Alabama where the strategy was used and politicians were invited in bid to ensure that the legislators are wooed against making registration that affect the tobacco industry (Rattue, 2011).

In bid to ensure that organizations gain access to the youth and to control anti-tobacco campaign, tobacco companies are involved in social responsibilities. Such activities are the company sponsoring youth anti-smoking campaigns. When the organizations are involved in these campaigns they ensure that they control the campaigns. Control in this case is inclusive of the goals and the design of the programs. In the end of it all, the organization is able to maintaining a good publicity as well as good reputation with the youth, who in future may become their consumers. Involvement in social responsibility by organization may be aimed at ensuring that the organization protects itself from law suits. In case an organization is involved in litigation or a law suit, a favorable defense to them may be their involvement in social activities.

There are various benefits to the organization that come about to involvement in social responsibility. Among some of these benefits is the fact that there is improved reputation of the organization to the general public. The general public generally tends to be favorable to organizations that involve themselves with sponsorship programs as these show them as caring about them. When the general public feel cared for by these organizations, their reaction to buying the products of these companies is likely to improve. This in turn increases the organizations sales.

Moreover, the company may benefit from the fact that their stock price may increase from their social activities. Another benefit of involvement of tobacco organization with social activities is that through carrying out these activities, it gets to carry out market research. Market research is one of the main needs of any organization to promote its business operations. The organization will able to know the needs of the consumers once they are close to them, and may be beneficial to them for their growth. It is also notable that involvement of an organization in social responsibility is necessary (Philips, 2003). Any organization has a moral responsibility to deal with society problems and also help in its welfare. After all, the services or the products the organization is offering are consumed by the society around it. To employees, social responsibility goes beyond the contract of employment.

Employees need to be treated as human beings and deserve all the respect a human being requires. It is through doing this that they are able to work to the benefit of the organization. Some of the ways the organization may ensure that their employees are well catered for include the following: offering a good working environment, treating the workers with respect, provision of leisure activities and also involvement in recreation activities. Involvement in social responsibility also means that the organization is applying the business ethics required by the organization. When the organization is applying the ethics of the organization they are able to increase their competitive edge in the market.

Among the cons that come with involvement of an organization and social responsibility is the fact that it calls for the organization to spend a considerable portion of their revenue in bid to promote these activities. Sponsoring some of these programs requires the organization to part with a part of their profits and in turn reduce the dividends or the returns of the organization. The financial burden exerted by these activities is what sometimes restricts small organizations, which do not have large returns to not participate in social responsibility. Involvement in social responsibility should be aimed at benefiting the organization in the long run. When this is not the case, it may be detrimental to the organization in the sense that the organization may be spending without any conceivable benefit.

Failure to benefit from social responsibility to man an organization may be as a result of several reasons (World Health organization, 2011). The main reason is failure by the organization to link up these activities with the business objectives and core activities. Another disadvantage is the fact that at times, a firm endures competitive disadvantage as compared with other organizations that do not incorporate social responsibility. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that the organization needs to incorporate more resources and personnel who assist in ensuring that social responsibility is taken, unlike organizations that do not have such programs.

UAE is one of the regions where social responsibility has not strengthened its roots. A study carried out in the region in reference to whether the organizations involve themselves in social responsibility showed that more than a half of the organizations do not participate in it. Some of the reasons that were cited that led to this scenario were the fact that these organizations lack the awareness of the necessity to participate in these activities. Another reason that leads to failure of these organizations to participate in social responsibility was the financial obstacles (Burton, 2001). It takes a financial commitment for organizations to practice social responsibility. In UAE, there has not been enough prove that involvement in these activities leads to more productivity or better recognition of the products offered by the organization in question.

Such may be due to the fact that these activities have not been tried out in this region. Tobacco companies have not been an exception to this. They also do not offer social responsibility as they are supposed to, and further, the region experiences disadvantages of lack of social responsibility by organizations. It is due to these reasons that financial analyst have highlighted on the need for the organization to ensure that they only develop programs that are sustainable to the organization and only those that relate to the organization’s core values. However, in the recent past, there is considerable increase in companies’ participation on social activities. The fact that this has been improved in other regions of the world has led to organizations in UAE observing the same.

Conclusion

Importance of an organization to promote social responsibility is undeniably important. Though it includes spending by the organization, the organization is also likely to enjoy many benefits from this practice. However, it is notable that the organization need to first ensure that the activities that the organization is getting into will relate to the organization’s mission. Failure to follow this will led to such a scenario that the organization is spending much, but is not benefiting from the expenses it is making. When the organization is involved in these activities, it tends to improve on the image of the organization as well as its reputation (Batstone, 2010).

In turn, the organization tends to increase in its productivity as well as the revenue returns. The image of the organization is also notable likely to improve, which at the same time means it is likely to improve on its growth as more consumers will be wooed by this move. UAE does not have strong social responsibility relations with its organizations. As earlier noted, the main course of this is the fact that there has not been proven that involvement in social responsibility has any effect on the profitability of the organization. Though it has not been proven in their region that it can be of benefit to the organization, it is necessary that they incorporate this in their organization in bid to ensure that they reap the benefits that come with incorporation of these responsibilities. Though there may be cons that result from an organization taking social responsibility, the benefits to the organization are more, and therefore there is the need to ensure that the social responsibility is incorporated. When an organization incorporates this in its operation, they are likely to benefit more financially or otherwise, and easier to achieve their mission statement.

References

Barnett, T. (2011). Corporate Social Responsibility. Web.

Batstone, D. (2010). Social Responsibilities of Business. New York: Routledge. Pg 39-41. Web.

Burton, B. (2001). Tobacco company prepares its first social responsibility report. Web.

World Health organization. (2011). Corporate Social Responsibility. Pg 2. Web.

Philips, R. (2003). Stakeholder Theory and Organizational Ethics. New york: McCgraw. Web.

Rattue, G. (2011). Tobacco Companies Use Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes To Gain Access To Politicians. Web.

Richardson, J. E. (2010). Business Ethics, Annual Editions. New york: McGraw-Hill. Web.

Rowell, B. B. (2002). British American Tobacco’s Socially Responsible Smoke Screen. Web.