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Product testing on workers?!

12 August 2012 14 comments

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This is a new one; a corporation treating it’s workers as… guinea pigs?!

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Full Story

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It’s a pretty bizarre situation when a corporation offers free products to it’s staff, knowing full well that they are toxic, and will probably eventually kill half it’s employees.

Imperial Tobacco must’ve run out of guinea pigs?  (The cute little four-legged variety.)

Oh well, I guess with 162,000 unemployed in this country (take a bow, National), there is no shortage of replacement workers for companies like Imperial Tobacco, as their current staff begin to drop like flies.

See: Unemployment rises: 6.8pc

Imperial Tobacco’s  boss, Brendan Walker, says,

It is purely for research. The fact of the matter is we are keen to receive the feedback and comments on those particular manufacturing runs.”

If this is truly, really, seriously “research” (and not just a freebie for staff to continue their addiction, nor to take free cigarettes home, to give away to others and perpetuate this habit), then no doubt Imperial Tobacco will have kept documentation on “feedback”?

Hutt Valley Regional Public Health smokefree officer, Kristen Foley, should ask to view all documentation regarding this “research” and supposed “feedback”.

If said documentation does not exist,  then one has to question what kind of “research” doesn’t record results.

Mind you, what would records show?

Research Outcome #1: 50% of staff dead from cancer.

Research Outcome #2: Brand 342/B  was most popular.

Note to Personnel: Contact WINZ – Hire more staff.”

What next? Will manufacturers of guns and ammunition test their products on their staff?

Of course, I can hear the response from certain libertarian/Individualist quarters, that smoking is a personal choice.

Considering that most smokers begin their addiction at around age 14, I don’t believe there is much informed choice to be had, at that young age.

See: ASH Smoking Statistics

Somehow, this practice of feeding an addiction jars with Imperial Tobacco’s  mission statement,

We have a loyal and highly motivated workforce and place a strong emphasis on maintaining high ethical standards in all of our business activities.

See: Imperial Tobacco – Culture

That statement invites the biggest bloody “Tui” response of all time.

This practice does not meet any definition of corporate responsibility that I am aware of.  Feeding a toxic, addictive product to already-addicted people is like inviting Mexican cocaine cartels to hand out “samples”  in your community.

Just for “research” and “feedback” of course.

Tobacco companies have been carrying out similar practices in Third World countries; giving away free cigarettes in an effort to “hook” more people onto their products. With developed nations taking a hard line stance on this destructive product, tobacco corporations are looking at nations with weak (or non-existant) laws regarding tobacco products,

A new study of schoolchildren 13 to 15 in 68 countries, conducted by the W.H.O. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that about 11 percent of the children in Latin America and the Caribbean were offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative in 1999 and 2000. In Russia, nearly 17 percent said they had been given free cigarettes. In Jordan, it was 25 percent.

”Can you imagine if that happened here?” asked Armando Peruga, tobacco coordinator for the Pan American Health Organization, the Washington-based office of the W.H.O. ”There would be a big uproar”.”

See: Enticing Third World Youth; Big Tobacco Is Accused Of Crossing an Age Line

Now a tobacco giant is offering free ciggies to their workers here, in New Zealand?

Do these corporations view New Zealand as… a Third World nation?

As mentioned above, I hope Imperial Tobacco are invited to hand over all documentation regarding this so-called “research”. Failure to do so would (or should!) have dire consequences for this company.

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Addendum

No animals or workers were harmed in the production of this blogpost. (My cat, however, was shooed off my keyboard when he plonked himself on it, halfway through.)

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= fs =

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