The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

High Schools should have a designated smoking area

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,000 times Debate No: 7605
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Hello and good morning, afternoon or evening. This is my very first debate of this kind so, as many others on this site seem to plead, be gentle with me.
My argument is about tobacco use, albeit tailored to a more specific issue. I wish to argue that a high school where students from the ages of 14-18 attend, and some of which smoke, should have a designated area for those people to smoke. More details will be revealed in my list of arguments, which follows:
1. The first issue, as it always is, is of free choice. One thing I will highlight for my opponent to use is that some of the students are not of legal age to buy cigarettes, but I am still arguing for the smoking area. For me to succeed, I must prove that, not only should the students have the choice to smoke, the school they attend should support them by providing the facilities.
2. Secondly, the purpose of having the area must be defined and defended. I will wait to see what my opponent has to say on this subject before revealing myself.
3. Thirdly, and lastly, for now, is the issue of the psychological addiction that is gripping the students. A great supporter to my cause is that the school grounds are quite extensive – a student must walk at least ten minutes to leave them, and then they would only reach forest – therefore, without a designated area within school grounds, children with cravings that they wish to subdue would surely smoke on school ground, perhaps even in the school (in one of the less monitored hallways or stairwells) resulting in an increased threat of second-hand smoke and fires, along with the garbage that will be spread around instead of contained.
I will await the reply of my opponent.


Welcome to the site. Thanks for posting the debate.

1. Free Choice
While all smokers have the right to choose whether or not to smoke, it does not seem logical to have an institution dedicated to enhancing the knowledge, health and well-being of its students to condone and enable an obviously unhealthy addiction.

Even though 18 yr olds have the legal right to choose, the school, as a learning institution, should not support a poor decision, even a legal one.
2. Purpose
Designating a smoking area will permit and encourage students to smoke and smoke more often by providing an arena for peer pressure. While younger students may not be allowed to smoke at the time, seeing older kids do so will encourage more smokers.

3. Addiction
The last thing a school should do for a student struggling with an addiction is provide them an area to satisfy it. I'm assuming we both agree that smoking is hazardous to health, especially the health of young developing students. So, encouraging a harmful and dangerous habit is all a smoking section would do.

Making it incredibly difficult to smoke for an eight hour period of the day cuts down on student smoking by simply cutting out a large portion of the smoker's day. With the ability to smoke at will, youth smoking will become a regularity.

A few smokers who manage to sneak cigarettes would not outweigh the fire hazard of a large portion of the student body carrying lighters and the massive increase in smoking would offset the second-hand smoke from a few scattered dissenters.

4. Legality
Most states have new smoking bans in public places; assuming this is in a public high school, a smoking section would be against the law.

Your resolution contradicts the very nature of a school. A school is meant to educate and supporting a harmful addiction discredits the anti-drug and pro-health message schools send and is a detriment to the health and well-being of the student body; assuming we want our youth to be healthy and make advisable decisions, a high school smoking section is a bad idea.

Thanks. Looking forward to your reply.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my debate! From an outside point-of-view, I am also very pleased with the maturity and grace with which you spoke.
Let me continue as your opponent.
1. Free Choice. I think you are right in saying that a school is an, "institution dedicated to enhancing the knowledge, health and well-being of its students" but I would ask you this: does "well-being" include letting a child grow and develop their own decision making skills? would not getting rid of the smoking area after already teaching the children in school about the health risks of smoking only serve to demonstrate our mistrust in them?
Also on this topic, what would the feelings be of the smokers themselves? To get rid of the smoke pit would send the message of, "We are getting rid of the smoking area because smoking is unhealthy, disgusting and bad", right? But, in doing this do we not directly say to the smokers attending the high school, "You are unhealthy, disgusting and bad"? I agree that all students should be taught the health risks of smoking; of course, for this is part of their right as human beings, to protect their body. But having students smoke in a specific area does not hurt anyone but themselves, and I believe that taking away even this right would leave the ground of health concerns and enter the ground of self-esteem battering.
Also, I do happen to think that smoking is a case that is often singled out. I only want to mention this because of your phrasing, "it does not seem logical to ... condone and enable an obviously unhealthy addiction". Forgive me for bringing up something only loosely related, but is not unhealthy eating an unhealthy addiction? From what I have heard about most school cafeterias in Canada, there is a plentiful supply of cookies, pastries, and greasy foods ("junk foods"). And, based on the facts below that I have found, I think this is a much larger issue than smoking.
Number of people in Canada who are estimated to be obese: 2,989,142
( Statistics Canada,)

Number of deaths in Canada in 2000 attributed to smoking: 45,064
( Public Health Agency of

I use this example because schools readily provide these services.
2. You are arguing that the smoking area would be an, as you eloquently put it, "arena for peer pressure," and I think you are right. This is the point.
I would argue that a designated smoking area would serve the purpose of containment. It will contain, as I have stated before, fire hazards, 2nd hand smoke, garbage and, your concern, peer pressure. I know that peer pressure exists and it will always exist, designated area or not. I believe it to be better to have all of the smokers and their influence (imagined or real) in one place, instead of all over the school, which is where it would be without a designated smoking area, whether the students were allowed to or not.
3. Lastly, I think that support rather than isolation would help student who are struggling. What I mean is, instead of telling students that they need to go find some other place to smoke off of school grounds, "deal with it" (I know this is not how it may be intended but it is how they will receive it), instead we should find ways, be it through clubs, support groups, councilors, etc, to help them stop wanting or needing to go to the smoking area. Having no area will not stop students from smoking, as I have previously proved. They will just do it somewhere else, with the consequences I have listed above.
I think I have also covered the later topics in your reply, but please point out anything if you believe I haven't covered it.
I await your reply!


1. Free Choice

First, we do not currently have smoking sections, so removing them is impossible and therefore wouldn't create the hazards you claim. In fact, your argument works the other way. Installing a smoking area would send the message that we condone and encourage a bad decision. The hypocrisy of teaching the dangers of smoking in the classroom and providing smokers with an area to do so down the hall is incredible.

Second, we are not infringing on a student's choice to smoke, only showing them that this particular institution does not believe it is a good decision and will not be encouraging it. Students can still smoke if they choose.

In order to decrease and discourage smoking, we need to make smokers aware that they have an unhealthy addiction. Your argument paints the picture of a struggling addict who needs a controlled environment to 'get his fix'. If this is the case, shouldn't we be encouraging and making evident the fact that smoking is a bad decision, whether it hurts their feelings or not?

Again, we are not taking away something that currently doesn't exist.

I would agree that eating unhealthy foods are bad and it is bad that cafeterias serve such foods. But this has NOTHING to do with a smoking section. The fact that the school has a problematic stance on another health issue is even more of a reason to send a clear message on smoking. We shouldn't adopt another unhealthy position. Rather than further decreasing the health of our students by providing them an area to smoke, we should get rid of unhealthy foods and solve both problems rather than create two. The statistics you provide are irrelevant because you are comparing two equally deplorable things. I'm not advocating unhealthy foods in schools; you are advocating a smoking section.

2. Purpose

Currently, there is no formal arena for peer pressure at schools. I'm not saying enforcement of the no smoking policy is iron clad, but there is exponentially less smoking done at schools because of it. If we are to designate a smoking area for older kids, we are simply providing incentive for younger kids and legal ones to start smoking. Smoking, whether contained or not, would rise dramatically.

Furthermore, what is to be gained from a smoking area? Less trash? The minute amount of smoking that goes on at schools now does not have a substantial harmful effect. Its not as if, without a smoking area, smokers are simply roaming the halls smoking, leaving their cigarette butts and lit matches strewn about. There are a small number of kids that manage to sneak a cigarette occasionally, the damage you claim is non-existent or unsubstantial at best.

3. Addiction

We should have the clubs you mentioned, but we shouldn't have a smoking area for them to be drawn to in the first place. You obviously agree that smoking is bad, so why facilitate a bad habit? Why not make it as difficult as possible to fulfill their addictions? Smokers are not heroin addicts, having severe medical withdrawals in the middle of class, so why institute an area which conveniences them and fuels their addictions?

While smoking will continue even without a smoking area, its a matter of degree. Some disbanded rogue smokers managing to sneak a drag between classes do not present a serious problem (and if they do the school should enforce the policy better), but installing a smoking section would exponentially increase the number of smokers and the degree to which they smoke. Making them wait, if nothing else, deprives them of eight hours in which to harm themselves and further their addiction.

So, the consequences, both moral and pragmatic, of installing a smoking section do not outweigh the problems presented by the second-hand smoke of someone sneaking a cigarette or the trash they leave behind. We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to compromise the school's credibility as an institution of education, enable addicts to harm themselves, and propagate more and more severe smokers because we are worried that a troublemaker may accidentally start a fire via smoking.
Debate Round No. 2


Marvel forfeited this round.


Sorry to see Marvel couldn't make the last round. I'll conclude with a summary of the debate.

The only advantages Pro claims from installing smoking sections are the containment of smoking and a controlled area for young smokers to fulfill their addictions.

First, I demonstrated that installing a contained area for students to smoke is actually harmful to addicts, allowing them an extra 8 hour block to smoke at will, increasing their addiction. Furthermore, for a school to send a condoning message regarding smoking is dangerous. Both sides of this debate agree that smoking is a harmful habit; informing young smokers that we do not approve of their decision is a critical step in reduction and prevention.

Next, the perception that we are somehow 'containing' youth smoking is a myth. High school smoking now is difficult and disbanded. With the inception of designated smoking areas, all high schoolers who smoke will be able to do so at school freely, allowing them to smoke more and possibly start smoking. Also, Pro has yet to prove that the cigarette butts left behind and the fire hazard created by current illicit smokers presents that much of a problem.

The disadvantages of installing a smoking section are numerous and have yet to be refuted. Having a bunch of older kids smoking at school provides incentive for younger kids to smoke. Conveniencing addicts discredits the school's message of health and well-being, which we agree on. This, again, leads to more smokers and decreases the effectiveness of the very programs Pro suggests.

So, the debate comes down to whether the harm of rogue illicit smokers leaving their butts behind outweighs the discrediting of schools and an exponential increase in youth smoking.

Thank you. I enjoyed the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Marvel 8 years ago
I'm so sorry for missing my post, SuperPerfundo, but I had a medical emergency. Feel free to end the debate with an assertion of your points and the believed holes in mine. As they say, "You snooze, you lose," and I have unintentionally "snoozed". I will conside this debate a forfit on my behalf, for it is what I deserve for jilting you like that. Thank you for your participation, I throughly enjoyed our debate.
Posted by SuperPerfundo 8 years ago
Its your debate, so I'm fine with whatever you decide to do. Make sure you lay out the parameters in your post so voters know what we are up to.
Posted by Marvel 8 years ago
Because we have both proposed our ideas already, I think that it would be useful to create a different structure for our final round. I have never debated before, so forgive me if I trample on an unwritten rule or something of the sort, but this is what I propose we do: I will compose the flaws I believe to be present in your argument, and is you can disprove each, then you win. (Well, I mean you win on intellectual ground, we still have to have voters {although I don't know if that will happen :( }). I know I am sending this a little last minute; I hope you get if before I am forced to post and go ahead with my idea.
There are advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, you do not get to viciously attack my arguments - as I do not doubt you want to :) . But, if you can disprove my points, it won't matter if your argument has other holes; it will be assumed that you have a perfect argument, which is a bonus, and that's why you win. Obviously I have no hope of beating a perfect argument.
What do you think, SuperPerfundo ?
Posted by SuperPerfundo 8 years ago
Ya. One of us is going to win 7-3 or something. haha.
Posted by Marvel 8 years ago
Boy, I hope we get some comments or votes. Don't you, SuperPerfundo?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SuperPerfundo 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:07