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The goal of public health is to prevent injury and disease. The goal of businesses is to sell their products whether those products are healthy or pose a health risk.

If a business advertises in ways that encourage people to act in an unhealthy or unsafe way, what is the best way for public health to address this risk? However in recent times efforts at shaping the public views can sometimes cross legal or ethical boundaries, and this has occurred even at the highest levels of government. Select one kind of product that is advertised that poses health risks, such as cigarettes, alcohol, guns, or high-caloric/high-fat foods. What approach would you advise to counter this risk? What are legal and ethical issues that might arise in creating social marketing around this product or advertising?


1. Identify the kind of product you have selected.

2. Which of the following policies would be most effective while also being legally and ethically appropriate? Select one from the list below and justify your response. :

o Restrict advertising of the unhealthy product.
o Conduct counter social marketing (i.e., take the opposite point of view).
o Require a disclosure (such as clear menu labels).
o Prohibit all advertising of the product.

3. Discuss at least one legal or ethical issue that any social marketing campaign should be aware of when attempting to address the health risks posed by this product, include your references.

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