Sacks, D. O. (Producer), & Reitman, J. (Director). (April 14, 2006) Thank You for Smoking [Motion Picture]. USA: ContentFilm International.
Thank You for Smoking is a satirical comedy that follows the life of Big Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor. His main job is to report on the findings of Big Tobacco’s research on the link between tobacco and cancer. This “research” is funded almost solely by tobacco companies, and is basically their way of trying to prove that there’s no hard-fast scientific evidence of a correlation. Nick’s job is to spin this research in a way that paints Big Tobacco in a positive light.
The main ethical issue brought up in this film is the fact that Nick has to report on issues that aren’t actually true, and spin them in a way that people will believe. This really raises two issues, the first being that Big Tobacco is essentially lying to the public to get them to buy their product, and the second being that Nick has to lie for them and spin the truth. Nick does feel some remorse, mostly because of his 12-year-old son who looks up to him. But, Big Tobacco definitely isn’t remorseful at all. They are just doing whatever it takes to sell their products.From the tobacco farmers to cigarette manufacturers, there are literally thousands of people within an industry that want the public to stay in the dark about the dangers of their product, just so that they can make money. Although they may not technically be doing anything illegal, the fact that they aren’t being transparent is a huge ethical problem. Nick should probably feel more of a moral problem with his job than he does, but he does occasionally express some remorse. But, his job is literally to make the actual truth about tobacco sound less serious and dangerous, so that people don’t realize how bad it actually is for them. His entire job is clearly ethically corrupt, but for the most part he doesn’t seem to care because he gets a huge paycheck. At the end of the day, he clearly just doesn’t have as high of moral standards as other people.