School of Population Health

Peter J. Adams - Moral Jeopardy


Peter Adams

Moral jeopardy occurs when a person or an organisation attempts to do good using resources from a source that involves harm. Moral jeopardy is critically important in responding to the harmful effects of dangerous consumptions such as smoking, unhealthy eating and using fossil fuels. I am particularly interested in moral jeopardy as it occurs with legalized addictive consumptions (i.e. alcohol, tobacco and gambling). These consumptions generate substantial profits which are deployed to influence policy makers and divert public sympathies away from effective public health interventions.


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Moral Jeopardy Book


Tobacco, alcohol and gambling corporations have been highly effective in stalling, diverting and blocking public health measures. This book provides an original and engaging exposé of the ethical issues faced by people and organizations when they accept industry money in ways that facilitate corporate influence with the public and with policy makers. It starts with a detailed examination of the risks of accepting such profits and what might be done to reduce them, then moves on to introduce the concept of a continuum of 'moral jeopardy' which shifts the emphasis from accept/not accept binaries to a focus on the extent to which people are willing to accept funding. This shift encourages people to think and speak more about the risks and to develop clearer positions for themselves. The content will be helpful to those working in government agencies, addiction services, community organizations or anyone interested in reducing the harms of addictive consumption.


  • [ARTICLE] Livingstone, C, & Adams, P.J. (2016) Clear principles are needed for integrity in gambling research. Addiction, 111(1) 5-10.
  • [COMMENTARY] Livingstone, C, & Adams, P.J. (2016) Response to commentaries – Clear principles for gambling research. Addiction, 111(1) 16-17.
  • [COMMENTARY] Adams, P.J. & Livingstone, C. (2016)  Commentary on INEBRIA’s Position Statement on the Alcohol Industry. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(4), 540-541 Read More
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. & Livingstone, C. (2015) Addiction surplus: The add-on margin that makes addictive consumptions difficult to contain. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26(1) 107-111.
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. (2013) Addiction industry studies: Understanding how proconsumption influences block effective interventions. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 103, No. 4, pp. e35-e38. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. & Rossen F. (2012). A Tale of Missed Opportunities: Pursuit of a Public Health Approach to Gambling in New Zealand. Addiction 107(6), 1051-1056.
  • [CHAPTER] Adams, P.J. (2012) Should Addiction Researchers Accept Funding Derived from the Profits of Addictive Consumptions? In A. Chapman (Ed.) Genetic Research on Addiction: Ethics, the Law and Public Health, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 122-138.  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J., Buetow, S., Rossen, F. (2010) Vested interests in addiction research and policy: Poisonous partnerships: health sector buy-in to arrangements with government and addictive consumption industries, Addiction, 105, (4), 585-590. [Accompanied with one invited comment]  Read more
  •  [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J., Raeburn, J. & De Silva, K. (2009) A question of balance: Prioritizing public health responses to harm from gambling. Addiction, 104, 688-691. [Accompanied by invited commentaries and author response]. Read more
  • [BOOK] Adams, P. J. Gambling, Freedom and Democracy. New York: Routledge New York [Sole-authored, original book; Volume 53 of Routledge Series on Studies in Social and Political Thought, 226 pages]. Read more 
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2007). Assessing whether to receive funding support from tobacco, alcohol, gambling and other dangerous consumption industries. Addiction, 102(7), 1027–1033. [Accompanied by 5 invited commentaries and my response]. Read more  
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P. J. (2007). Trusting researchers to police themselves? Addiction, 102(7), 1039–1040. [Reply to 5 commentaries on paper in same issue]. Read more