The medical profession has a muddled and contradictory association with its approach toward the tobacco industry. While the profession now firmly opposes to smoking and vigorously publicizes the serious, even fatal, health hazards associated with smoking, this was not always so. Advertisements for tobacco products, including cigarettes “… became a ready source of income for numerous medical organizations and journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as well as many branches and bulletins of local medical associations” (Wolinsky & Brune, 1994). Physicians and reference to doctors and smoking were once common in tobacco industry advertisements. The story of physicians and promotion of smoking can be found in “The Doctors’ Choice Is America’s Choice” (Gardner & Brandt, 2006).

The role of physicians in the current opioid crisis is now under scrutiny on television (Farmer, 2019) by trade publications (King, 2018), peer-reviewed journals (deShazo, et al, 2018), and by physicians themselves (Hirsch, 2019).

Initial Post Instructions
For the initial post, research the history of the association of doctors with tobacco companies and tobacco advertising. Read about the association of doctors with the opioid crisis. Then, address the following:

  • In what way are the two situations comparable?
  • In what way are they different?
  • Apply the concept of moral equivalence. Is the conduct of doctors in relation to smoking and the tobacco industry morally equivalent to the conduct of doctors in the opioid crisis? Explain your position and be very specific.


Please choose an article from from the following issue of The Atlantic. In this October 2017 issue (click herePreview the documentView in a new window), you may only choose an article written by Perel, Goldsmith, Cohen, or Coates. See the table of contents in the issue for the names. Once you’ve chosen, follow the steps below to complete the assignment.

1) In 1 and 1/2 to 2 pages (or more), paraphrase the overall argument of the article, citing at least three important reasons/pieces of evidence that the author uses to support his/her conclusion. I understand that some of the articles focus on many different points, so you’re more than welcome to choose one key section from the article to explain if necessary (but you should still include three reasons/pieces of evidence). There is no need to evaluate the argument here, just explain what the article (or specific argument) is saying.

2) In about 1 page (or more), critically analyze the article using the tools of reason from philosophy that we’ve discussed in this class. Does the author make a strong or weak argument? Do some research on the author and identify his/her bias. Is the author an interested party? How interested? Do you think his/her bias/interest in the issue is clouding his/her judgment? Or are the arguments strong on their own? Also, point out any fallacies or biases that are used by the author of the article.

  • Your final product for this assignment should be a 2-3 paged, double-spaced, 12-point font paper.