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Cigarettes should be legal while cannabis should be illegal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 629 times Debate No: 73907
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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Hello, this is my first debate and I am looking forward to it.
The topic is, 'Cigarettes should be legal while cannabis should be illegal'.
(I'll use 'smoking' to refer to smoking tobacco based cigarettes and cannabis to refer to the drug when used for recreational purposes not medical etc.)

I disagree with this motion however I am not saying that both should be legal, neither of them legal etc, only that it should not be as described in the title.

My first 2 arguments are as follows.
1) Cigarette smoking is more dangerous than cannabis.
In America it is estimated that more than 480,000 deaths annually are caused by smoking (1) in addition to 42,000 deaths to secondary smokers. That is a large number of deaths which could be prevented.
In fact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said, "Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the United
I could go into great depths about the statistics of lung cancer, heart disease and the cost to tax payers in the UK (I am from the UK where cannabis is illegal, so will apply most of my points to the UK), but the fundamental fact is cannabis, even where legal, causes far fewer deaths than cigarettes. It is therefore counter-intuitive that cannabis is the one which should be illegal.

2) Why is the line drawn here?
It is not too hard to draw the line between legal and illegal at either end, all harmful substances legal or none legal. Drawing it between cigarettes and cannabis, however, is much harder (even assuming cannabis is more dangerous) as they are ultimately very similar and it is mainly culture which has decided their legality, not their objective level of danger.

These are my first two points, I can introduce more in a later round when 'pro' has put forward their own points and rebutted these two.

(Please tell me if I've done anything wrong/need to change anything)



You stated that the illegalization of Cannabis was mainly based on culture and there is sufficient proof about your claim and also articles that support that statement. However don't you think that since 1937 they could've revised that law and probably legalized for those above the age of 18 just like alcohol or even cigarettes ? But NO they did not.

Therefore we see that there is a purpose in why Marijuana is illegalized. You see unlike alcohol, if Marijuana was legalized it would lead to lead to long term cognitive effects and these are happen in people that use the drug before the age of 21. These effects include Short term memory and the diminishment of a capacity to learn or even recall information : With that we see that it is not good but beneficial to refrain from the recreational use of the drug.

Just like any other drug like cocaine or heroine, cannabis has effects that last long after smoking(the feel good effect) unlike the smoking of cigarettes which calms someone down at that present moment. Do cigarettes impair your ability to drive? NOPE ! Cigarettes don't impair your ability to drive but cannabis does; It affects ones perception and psychomotor performance which can clearly lead to accidents on roads which puts not only the driver's life but also other people's safety at risk.
You see once the drug is legalized then you can't keep an eye on everyone smoking because 1. its physically impossible and 2. there'll be such a high demand that a government won't be able to monitor users and especially where and when they use the drug.

Studies are in your favour and suggest that young people are not delinquents because of Marijuana but instead abuse Marijuana because they are delinquents. Abuse by the way means ABNORMAL USE.
So if we take a look at the young delinquents in most nations and consider the type of antisocial behavior that they engage in then we see that its best we don't legalize cannabis. In America there was a recorded 750 000 arrests due to Cannabis and these were mostly related to those who were in simple possession of the drug and the rest were crimes driven by the use of Cannabis.
If we consider that frame of stats we might think that is we legalize the drug then its a case of many people getting jobs as sellers and growers but that's not the case. Once we do that then we are starting a reaction that will damage a country's future. With a legalization there'll be a high dependency on Cannabis whether its the use or simply growing and even selling, which means that :
1. Young people especially those of a specific race are not seeking after education at a higher level like varsity or PhDs but would rather enter the Cannabis. This leads to a nation that has a dull future and is forced to hire foreigners because it has a high demand for educated people of a certain skill set.
2. In a country like the US then its hazardous because there will be production of the plant nation wide but not a large market. If the market is so small then so are the profits.

Concerning the health problems associated with cigarettes. Its all dependant on the smoker rather than the fact that its legal. Tobacco is the plant and once we illegalize the production of Tobacco then we have taken away the Farming business of thousands of farmers in nations all around leading to a high unemployment.
Cannabis was illegalized for a reason and it has boundaries are the medical field and should stay that way .
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the challenge, you have put forward many strong points.

I realise that the laws regarding Marijuana hasn't changed yet (in the UK, I don't know much about other countries) however I think that is not because this scenario (cannabis illegal, cigarettes legal) is the optimum one but changing it would be difficult. Legalising cannabis would anger many people who have seen the negative effects it causes (which there are) and make it seem as if the government is supporting this. Meanwhile making cigarettes illegal would anger people who feel they have the right to choose etc.
There is little incentive for a government to change the ruling, that doesn't, however, mean it shouldn't be changed.

I also do not deny that Marijuana has negative effects, sometimes serious ones, but I do not think that they in any way compare to the far larger number of deaths due to cigarettes as shown in my statistics from the first round. The long term effects of cigarettes are far greater and more dangerous than that of cannabis, especially for those around the smoker.

If Marijuana were to be legalised, I agree it would have to be strongly controlled by the government (as is the case with cigarettes mostly). This means controlling production and taxing imports heavily. But the government would be far more able to control such things with cannabis legal rather than illegal and it could be done in such a way to greatly reduce (if not eliminate) the effects you describe.

Also, it may be the smokers not the fact that it is legal causing the health problems, but that doesn't change the fact that those health problems would decrease were it to be illegal. As well as this, I choose to value the lives of thousands of people over the farming business of thousands of farmers.

As far as I see it, there are 4 options:
Both illegal, neither illegal, cannabis legal and cigarettes illegal, and cannabis illegal and cigarettes legal.

The first two of which are justifiable either by considering our freedom to choose or by thinking that any substance which causes such harm should be illegal.

The latter two are far more difficult to justify, partly because cannabis and cigarettes are very similar, however the last (which is the subject of the debate) is extremely unjustifiable given the immense damage that smoking does in comparison to cannabis. I therefore challenge the Pro to argue for this option over the other three and not just explain the consequence of changing the legality.

Again, thank you for accepting the debate, I look forward your response.


Thank you, for you response, those are some good points you've put across and a quite and daunting challenge you've given me which i'll gladly accept.
You said and I quote " I choose to value the lives of thousands of people over the farming business of thousands of farmers." My argument's objective is to justify my case why the state of legality of the two drugs should stay as they are. Cannabis illegal and Cigarettes legal. Your response touched on why its very beneficial for those especially around cigarette smokers to be moved away from harm, that was valid and you also spoke about why it would be problem to illegalize cigarettes due to conflict between government and those that feel they have a right.

If that's the case then its justifiable for cigarettes to stay legal, although their state of legality has brought so many deaths throughout the world. If we look at it from a neutral position then its best we illegalize both drugs but if we look at it from an intellectual view then we'll realize that we cant change what has been been done. We cant bring back the lives safely but one thing we have to come to terms with is how Cigarettes have " May be hazardous to health' written clearly in bold white lettering, this shows how the manufactures understand how people need the Nicotine but it warns them meaning that the decision for people to go to the grave or to acquire diseases associated with smoking plays a role on the number of deaths and so we cant illegalize it due to health factors when people clearly make an informed decision.

Illegalizing Cigarettes will cause a lot of problems for a lot of lives, mainly those that Con clearly values and those are the number of farmers that are in the Tobacco business, not only are they just farmers and Con perceives them but these are Thousands of farmers in continents but not only does a farmer represent his Tobacco but also his staff of hundreds or even thousands depending on the size of his/her farm, especially those farmers on African soil that provide not only money as a salary but a means to preserve and look after large families in places where there is shortage of food due to corruption in governments. (which isn't their fault ) Lets think of the poverty that could come forth from the taking away of Cigarette production.
To take away a family of 7 or 8 the only way to buy food and other basic necessities and not luxuries but basic necessities like taking their children to school and to give them a roof over their head. THAT IS NOT JUSTIFIABLE Sir.

To conclude I ask you to be open minded as to the consequences of illegalizing Cigarettes which out whey the benefits which although could save many lives but also could devastate the lives of many people. Because in no way are they disadvantaged on the basis that there is no clear warnings.

I propose we find an alternative way to pump Nicotine which I the addictive drug into the bodies of those addicted because its not the nicotine that gives cancer but 200 substances out of 4000 found in cigarettes that give cancer.

Again thank you for your contribution to the debate.
Debate Round No. 2


As this is my last round, I will try to both respond to your points and sum up my arguments.

I will begin by stressing that the title of the debate was "Cigarettes should be legal while cannabis should be illegal", and not "Cigarettes should stay legal while cannabis should be illegal". Therefore, I think that the difficulty of changing is rather irrelevant, in the same way that "We should use base 12 instead of base 10" is different to "We should change to using base 12".

Cigarettes do have "May be hazardous to health" writted on the front, and the same could be done for cannabis were it to be legalised.

I am not a farmer and have very little knowledge of farming, but couldn't these farmers with hundreds of workers as you describe grow something other than tobacco were it to be made illegal? I stand by saying that I would rather people didn't die from lung cancer etc, and have farmers change what they grow. Again, I do not think the process of changing is part of the debate but even so I doubt it would have anywhere near the effect you discribe.

An alternative source of nicotine to cigarette would definately be a good thing, but until that arises we should not allow people to continue killing themselves.


In conclusion...

Cigarettes are more dangerous than cannabis.
Recall, that in America it is estimated that more than 480,000 deaths annually are caused by smoking (1) in addition to 42,000 deaths to secondary smokers. That is a large number of deaths which could be prevented.

The only reason it is the way is it is because of culture.
There is little to no rational provided by Pro as to why "Cigarettes legal, Cannabis illegal" is the optimal scenario aside from the fact that is the current situation (in UK) and it would be hard to change. As I said (and should have made more clearly) the fact that it would be difficult to change does not affect they way it should be.

Cannabis and cigarettes are very similar (except that cigarettes are far more dangerous).
There is no reason why the legal situation should be different for them, especially not "Cigarettes legal, Cannabis illegal" scenario.

There are strong arguments for both being legal or both being illegal, either by considering the abilty for people to choose for themselves or making anything that causes harm illegal. But there are little/no strong arguments why the scenario in question is correct.


To close, thank you for taking part in the debate, I've enjoyed it and hope you have too.



Why the scenario in question is correct is simply because of the right to choice. Upon coming t a consensus that it would be very difficult to change the current legal situation of both Marijuana and Cigarettes then we should also agree that the current situation is justifiable because :
1.There has been more warning and information about Cigarettes than there was In the last decade. Its astounding in fact. So the harm that's caused is not because of its legal state but because humans have a choice. If a person decides to stab himself and cause himself great harm and even death should we illegalize Knives because they can cause harm to people or should we take it into consideration that people have a choice as to how they use a knife. Same concept applies to anything hazardous.
2. For those who suffer due to being in close proximity I think in France there are places where people can smoke, a place where they don't potentially harm those who don't. In the Arab Emirates there are places where people can effectively smoke or drink without inconveniencing those who don't .

To conclude I will talk about Cannabis just like Con did about its effects and why its legal state is justified in relation to Cigarettes.
First off I will like state that in recent years there has been a drastic improvement with Cigarette production and the introduction of E-Cigarettes which are a good way to have Nicotine in the body and that helps reduce the amount of people affected by second hand smoking.
My conclusion: The recreational use of Cannabis brings about not only one effect but leads to an unfolding chain of effects that don't affect a person in a large way like cancer developments but instead smaller effects that amount to something rather big.
1. You see unlike Cigarettes, if cannabis is used at a young age it literally takes over and decides who a person becomes. If youth use Cannabis not only are they in danger of experiencing a great deal of psychological damage but also they become very vulnerable to the abuse of much stronger and eccentric drugs like Molly and Heroine and Cocaine which have damaged lives and broken apart families to bits.
If we look at the displaced people in society that wander around looking coins to survive are usually Crack addicts or heroine addicts who started off by smoking a "joint" for fun. People have dropped out of school.

This was a good argument and I'm not sure where people stand but I believe its justifiable that the state of legality of both Cigarettes should stay as it is as well as for Cannabis. Why?

The damage has been done but, there have been different ideas that can reduce the amount of people that are dying and not only are they ideas but ones that have been put into practice. People are dying not because Cigarettes kill but they chose to smoke.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by nathan314 2 years ago
It was my understanding that people were now meant to... vote?
Posted by kuda 2 years ago
Its a pretty interesting topic though
Posted by nathan314 2 years ago
Thanks for commenting. I'm sorry if I have not been clear. The purpose of my argument wasn't to show Cannabis/Cigarettes etc should be illegal or legal, it was just to show that the current system (in the UK) is wrong and should be changed.
Posted by Asburnu 2 years ago
People should have the freedom to be as stupid as they want, so long as it harms no one else or limits any freedom of a non-consenting adult. Why some people are so obsessed with forcing others to be like them by law, is beyond me. Freedom haters.
Posted by BarbieSoFetch 2 years ago
Cannabis shouldn't be illegal. In the beginning of your rebuttal, you consider cannabis as a drug not for medical uses. That's one of the reasons it should be legal. Also, if you smoke anything, it will damage your health, whether it is cigarettes or Cannabis. Maybe I don't fulling get where you are coming from. You clearly state that Cannabis is better than smoking (sorry if I didn't quote the exact words). But in the outline of the whole argument you say Cannabis should be illegal. I'm quite confused. And if you didn't know, Cannabis is cheap to make and if more people buy that instead of hard hitting drugs, maybe that could reduce a lot of issues. And you don't necessarily have to smoke Cannabis, you can simply convert it into juices, foods, etc. But Cannabis is a more soothing drug that lessens stress. Unlike cigarettes.
Posted by nathan314 2 years ago
Banning both is one possible alternative, as it having both be legal. The debate is about whether we need an alternative, not which alternative.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
Why not ban both? :P
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