Should Philip Morris Be Allowed to Sell This Dangerous Product?

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Philip Morris is already selling its IQOS device in Japan, and claims that this new product has some benefits, but many experts doubt the benefits, and raise serious concerns about the possible risks this new and controversial product may pose. At the same time, a company named Liberty is already selling what it describes as “a HYPER-realistic sex robot” [sometimes called a SexBot], also a controversial product with claimed benefits and concerns about serious risks, and it is even permitted to offer it for sale on a “try-before-you-buy” basis. But The Foundation for Responsible Robotics, the New York Times, the Campaign Against Sex Robots, and public interest law professor John Banzhaf have all warned that there could be serious downsides and risks from this new product.

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More specifically, they warn that sexbots designed to look and act exactly like young children could be sold which, while they might allow some pedophiles to satisfy their perverted desires in a harmless way, might also encourage many now undecideds to try this activity and thereby whet their appetite for the real thing. In other words, many warn, lifelike talking child sex robots could serve as a gateway to substantially increased sex abuse of real children by adults.

Another concern is that there are already available for sale very realistic sexbots which look and act like women being raped. While this could likewise help some rapists to control their urges, evidence suggests that they are more likely to encourage many more men to begin raping real human women.

While Philip Morris's IQOS device consists of a tube that gently heats up sticks of tobacco instead of burning them - and is therefore in many ways much like e-cigarettes, which have been on the market for many years and are widely available - no sales in the U.S. can begin unless and until the product is approved by the federal government after weighing the possible benefits and the potential risks.

In stark contrast, no approval or any other governmental review process is necessary for the sale of realistic and lifelike child sexbots, sexbots allowing men to experience raping an adult woman, or even for opening up a cyber brothel where men can walk in from the street and, for about $100, actually experience and perhaps even get turned on to having sex with a "child" and/or raping a "woman."

Banzhaf suggests that the latter makes no sense, and that "HYPER-realistic sex robots" - including those which allow a user to "enjoy" sex with a "toddler" and/or rape an adult "woman" - should not be permitting onto the market without some type of governmental review and approval.

And the difference in treatment can't be based upon Philip Morris' long history of lying about its products' dangers, since even Philip Morris is free to market a lifelike child or rape-able woman sex robot.

Even if they are allowed to be marketed - something which Banzhaf doesn't necessarily oppose - perhaps there should be at least a few reasonable restrictions.

Prohibiting their sale and use by children, limiting the sale of child sex robots to medical professions treating incurable child predators, keeping cyber brothels offering robot sex mates by the hour out of residential neighborhoods, away from schools, etc., are a few of the ideas which should at very least be considered, he suggests.

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