The Philip Morris Companies has been testing a microelectronic cigarette holder that
eliminates all smoke except that exhaled by the smoker. Battery powered, it is expected to
cost about $50. The result of years of research, it cost approximately $200 to develop.
Tentatively called the Accord, the device uses cigarettes that are 62 millimeters long
(compared with the standard 85 millimeters). Users will have to remember to recharge the
Accords battery (a 30 minute process, but extra batteries can be purchased). A
cigarette is inserted into the 4-inch long, 1 ½-inch wide device. A microchip senses when
the cigarette is puffed and transmits powers to eight heating blades. A display shows the
remaining battery charge and indicates how many puffs are left in the eight-puff
cigarette. The device also contains a catalytic converter that burns off residues.
Supporters of this product say it will be welcomed by smokers who currently refrain
from smoking in their homes or cars for the sake of non-smoking family members, guests,
and passengers. Although smokers will inhale the same amount of tar and nicotine as from
conventional "ultralight" cigarettes, 90 percent of second-hand smoke will be
eliminated. Furthermore, the same smoking restriction rules in public places will apply to
Critics claim that the Accord will simply reinforce addition to cigarettes. Richard A.
Daynard, chair of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Bostons Northeastern
University School of Law, an anti-tobacco organization, asks: "Who would use an
expensive and cumbersome thing like this if they werent hooked? There is something
grim and desperate about it. This is hardly the Marlboro Man, getting on his horse and
checking the battery." He also expresses concern that children might be encouraged to
smoke, since the Accord would enable them to hide smoking from their parents. However,
Philip Morris replies that the device has a locking device for parents.
- Imagine that it is several years ago and you have just received your engineering degree.
You are in search of your first job. You are invited to interview with a research division
of Philip Morris that is about to begin research to develop the Accord. Would you have any
reservations about accepting such a position? Discuss.
- If you would have some reservations, would the fact that this job pays $10,000 more a
year than any other offer you have convince you to take the Philip Morris offer?
- Assuming you took the job, what kinds of ethical concerns might you have about how the
device should be designed? (E.g., would you agree that it should have a locking device?)