The Instigator
DCoff
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Capitalistslave
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Ban All Tobacco Products

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 348 times Debate No: 101133
Debate Rounds (3)
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DCoff

Pro

Due to the damage done to public and individual health, tobacco products ought to be outright banned.
Capitalistslave

Con

Due to that the ban would likely result in the increased usage of tobacco products, that the government has no business in telling us what to take as long as it harms no one else, and that having it legal means we can tax it, it ought not to be banned.

Since my opponent didn't go too specific, and just provided an outline of their arguments, neither will I go specific. But next round I will provide supporting evidence of these claims.
Debate Round No. 1
DCoff

Pro

I'm a little new to this, so I didn't realize that my description would count as my first round (oops).

Anyway, the damage done by tobacco products is three-prong:

1) The body count of those who consciously choose to consume tobacco products. About half a million people die in the United States annually from tobacco exposure -- 420,000 of these deaths are from smoking-caused diseases of individuals who elect to consume tobacco. This makes tobacco the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and means tobacco consumption-related diseases account for nearly one in five U.S. deaths per year (Centers for Disease Control).

2) The body count of those who don't consciously choose to consume tobacco products. Roughly 41,000 Americans are killed by secondhand smoke every year. Note the use of the word "killed" instead of "die from" -- these individuals often have no choice in their exposure to said secondhand smoke. This means that more individuals are killed by secondhand smoke annually than firearms. (Centers for Disease Control and FiveThirtyEight).

3) The economic costs. Smoking-related diseases cost Americans in excess of $170 billion per year in healthcare costs alone. This figure does not include the estimated $156 billion in lost worker productivity (Centers for Disease Control). Further, this impact is not equally distributed among socioeconomic levels. The impoverished are, by far, the population subset with the highest tobacco-related mortality rate, a result of a smoking rate among those making less than $35,000/year in the 30% range, as opposed to rates roughly one-third of that in wealthy individuals making in excess of $90,000/year.

Therefore, a ban on tobacco product consumption would save nearly half a million lives a year, 41,000 of which would otherwise have no choice in their exposure to tobacco products, save Americans $170 billion per year in healthcare costs, along with $156 billion in lost wages, while helping most significantly the impoverished, who are most negatively impacted by the availability of tobacco products.

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov...
https://fivethirtyeight.com...
https://www.washingtonpost.com...
Capitalistslave

Con

Having tobacco products legalized likely decreases the use of tobacco products
Now, my opponent brought up the deaths and health issues that come from tobacco products. However, I contend these problems would be worse if tobacco was illegal. The reason why is because people tend to rebel against what the government tells them what they can and can't take. For example, the use of marijuana went down after it was legalized in Colorado[1]. Another example of a harmful substance, that when banned, had more use of was alcohol. When it was banned, we saw , first, a decline in alcohol consumption, but soon after an increase that made the consumption over all, more than what it was back when it was legal. [2]. Therefore, since Americans have a pattern of using harmful substances more often when it is illegal, I contend that making it legal would worsen all of the problems my opponent talked about. More people would die from tobacco if it was illegal, because more people would take it. More people would die from tobacco secondhand smoke because more people will be using it. And finally, the economic costs would go up because more people would be smoking.

Why would tobacco be different from what we've seen of marijuana and alcohol? It would likely increase in consumption if we made it illegal.

Having tobacco legal means we can tax it.
Now, my opponent brought up how tobacco related health problems cost money. Again, it would cost more money to have it illegal. In addition, if it's illegal, we can't exactly tax it. At least, when it's legal, we can tax it and then have this money go to healthcare costs that are associated with tobacco usage. If tobacco is illegal, we wouldn't be able to do that.

What business is it of the government's to tell us what we can and can't take?
As long as it harms no one else, why should the government tell us what we can and can't do? Now, again my opponent talked about secondhand smoke. One way to help this problem is to make smoking illegal on public property. This would decrease the amount of secondhand smoke that goes to other people. Thus, it should at least be legal on private property, because it's their own property and they can choose whether to smoke or not, and usually they don't affect people through secondhand smoke, and if they do, then the people on that property can leave. If government wants to make it illegal on public property, I can see argument for why because the secondhand smoke could be harmful to other people. Only when it clearly harms other people, should something be illegal. Otherwise, if it's only harming yourself, but you choose to do it anyways, isn't that your choice?

Banning tobacco would result in a black market
My oppoenent claims that the use of tobacco would go down, but as I talked about before, I would argue it would go up. A black market would arise with tobacco, and that is how people would get their tobacco. More people will be arrested than there are currently, and then it costs tax payer money to pay for having those people in jail and/or prison.

Sources:
[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com...
[2] http://www.nber.org...
Debate Round No. 2
DCoff

Pro

"Having tobacco products legalized likely decreases the use of tobacco products"
This claim is likely false. The study to which my opponent refers examines rates of marijuana consumption among teens, who are not representative of an entire population, particularly in their increased susceptibility to rebellious tendencies. Further, decreased use of marijuana may also be an effect of the increased popularity of other (also illegal, but more potent) drugs which have more recently entered schools.


"Another example of a harmful substance, that when banned, had more use of was alcohol."
Prohibition was a far larger task than a ban on tobacco consumption would be. Alcohol consumption rates were far, far in excess of 30% (modern smoking rate) at the time, and a much greater proportion of the population would cooperate with a tobacco product ban than had supported Prohibition.

"At least, when it's legal, we can tax it and then have this money go to healthcare costs that are associated with tobacco usage. If tobacco is illegal, we wouldn't be able to do that."
Tobacco excise taxes only raise $4-5 billion annually, compared to the $170 billion in healthcare costs.

"What business is it of the government's to tell us what we can and can't take?"
What business is it of the government to tell us whether we can or cannot kill our neighbor? Government is designed to act in the interest of the public, and, at the very least, a tobacco ban would act in the interest of the 41,000 individuals who die from secondhand smoke (and therefore inadvertent and non-optional exposure).


"As long as it harms no one else, why should the government tell us what we can and can't do?"
I've already addressed this -- half a million people die each year from it. And, with the introduction of legislation mandating that individuals with pre-existing conditions be given healthcare at the same cost as healthy individuals, the cost of caring for these people before they die is distributed to the healthy, driving their healthcare cost up.

"One way to help this problem is to make smoking illegal on public property."
Smoking is already illegal inside most public facilities. Yet, 41,000 people still die from secondhand smoke every year.

Thus, it should at least be legal on private property, because it's their own property and they can choose whether to smoke or not, and usually they don't affect people through secondhand smoke, and if they do, then the people on that property can leave.
What about the children of smoking parents? The wives of smoking husbands?

Otherwise, if it's only harming yourself, but you choose to do it anyways, isn't that your choice?
We've already established that smoking doesn't only harm the smoker.


"More people will be arrested than there are currently, and then it costs tax payer money to pay for having those people in jail and/or prison."
By this same logic, everything should be decriminalized. It's overly simplistic to contend that simply because one cost goes up, it isn't worthwhile or that some other cost (in this case, life and economic cost of healthcare) won't compensate.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org...
Capitalistslave

Con

In regards to the entire population and marijuana, most studies find that the rates of marijuana usage does not go up when legalized[3]. I don't see how prohibition being a larger task would influence the desire of people to take it or not take it. The fact still remains that people drank more under prohibition than who did when it was legal. I would still conject that, at the very least, making tobacco products illegal would not lower the usage of it, as is seen with marijuana, and may in fact lead to an increase of its usage. If there is an increase in it's usage, rather than a decrease due to banning it, then all of the problems my opponent talked about worsen.


Tobacco excise taxes only raise $4-5 billion annually, compared to the $170 billion in healthcare costs.
I don't know where you got this information from, but you provided no source. In the United States, we make $40 billion off of tobacco taxes[4], now, it looks like the number my opponent used for healthcare costs is accurate, however, it should be noted that people who use tobacco, their lifespan will be shortened. That means, there are less years of them alive in which they will use the healhcare system. According to this, smoking reduces life expentancy by 7-8 years[5]. According to this, we spend about 10,000 dollars per person on healthcare per year[6] 15.1% of adults smoke[7]. There are about 250,000,000 adults in the United States. 15.1% of that is 37,500,000. That means that because that many people will have their life shortened by about 7-8 years, they will save us 2.6 trillion dollars in healthcare costs, since we no longer have to provide an additional 7-8 years of healthcare to them. Over all, it saves us money to have that many people use tobacco.

In regards to the next several points about secondhand smoking and the family of a smoker: I don't think the solution is to ban tobacco, but rather make it illegal to smoke around other people. The way this would be enforced is if someone develops lung cancer, but never smoked but was exposed to seconhand smoke from someone their entire life, then they can sue that person and get compensated. Why ban it entirely and why not ban the ability to smoke around other people?

By this same logic, everything should be decriminalized. It's overly simplistic to contend that simply because one cost goes up, it isn't worthwhile or that some other cost (in this case, life and economic cost of healthcare) won't compensate.
As I stated, healthcare costs would likely go up if we banned tobacco(assuming that it actually gets rid of people smoking) because when people die early from smoking, we no longer have to provide healthcare for them. But, I would argue that more people would smoke under a ban anyways, and if that's the case, it makes all of your other arguments illegitimate.
Sources:
[3] http://norml.org...
[4] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org...
[5] http://www.tobaccofactfile.org...
[6] https://www.forbes.com...
[7] https://www.cdc.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
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