The case against the tobacco industry includes, according to WHO, that:

  • Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease globally
  • A billion people will die from smoking over the next century
  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users (sometimes two-thirds of smokers)
  • There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Smoking imposes a cost on society

In addition it is widely reported that “many adult cigarette smokers want to quit” although success in quitting is low because cigarettes “contain the addictive drug nicotine“. Indeed it has been reported that “nicotine is as addictive as cocaine”.

It is further argued that the industry has a long and chequered history and so nothing it says today can be trusted. It has sought to work against regulation of the industry. Tar and nicotine levels have been manipulated. It has long argued that the case against the risks of smoking was overstated.

We can consider this list to cover most, but probably not all, of the usual arguments as to why an investment in the tobacco industry is “unethical”.