The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Restrictions on tobacco marketing in the US should be repealed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 672 times Debate No: 97948
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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The most famous measure to restrict tobacco advertising in the US was the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio. More recently new restrictions have come out against tobacco advertising. To quote the FDA's website:

"The FDA issued a final rule containing a broad set of federal requirements designed to significantly curb access to and the appeal of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to children and adolescents in the United States. The new rule, Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents, restricts the sale, distribution, and promotion of these products to make them less accessible and less attractive to kids. The rule became effective on June 22, 2010, and has the force and effect of law." [1]

It lists the following restrictions on tobacco marketing:
- Prohibits tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical, or other social or cultural event, or any team or entry in those events.
- Prohibits gifts or other items in exchange for buying cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products.
- Requires that audio ads use only words with no music or sound effects.
- Prohibits the sale or distribution of items, such as hats and tee shirts, with tobacco brands or logos.

My position is that these restrictions are unconstitutional and anti-free market. They are baseless regulations which have no place in the United States. By accepting this debate, you will be arguing in favor of the restrictions and regulations.

Round Format:
Round 1 – Acceptance
Round 2 – Initial Argument(s)
Round 3 – Rebuttal(s)
Round 4 – Closing Statement(s)

- Forfeiting a round results
in an automatic victory for the other side.
- The 10,000 character limit cannot be breached by moving parts of your round into the comment section.
- Ask any questions or concerns about the debate in the comment section prior to accepting the debate.



i accept this challenge
Debate Round No. 1


The main reason for the restrictions introduced on tobacco marketing is concern over the welfare of youth in America. [1] It is reasoned that if we stamp out the ways in which tobacco companies can reach out to youthful individuals, then we may stamp out tobacco products as a whole. My position is very simple, however:
- Put warning labels on tobacco products, which we already do.
- Allow for anti-tobacco campaigns to reach out to schools and youth in order to inform them about the risks and dangers of tobacco products, which we already do.

1st Amendment Rights

There is no reason to attack the first amendment rights of commercial businesses when it comes to the tobacco industry. The first amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Now, it is important to note that I take no issue with the self-imposed restrictions that tobacco companies face. For those who are not sure of what I am talking about, let’s examine the Master Settlement Agreement:

"The culmination of the states' efforts resulted in a 1998 settlement agreement involving more than 46 states and the six largest tobacco companies -- Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., Lorillard Tobacco, Philip Morris Companies Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Tobacco and Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. Under this settlement, called the Master Settlement Agreement, the parties agreed to settle nearly all litigation between the parties.

In agreeing to the settlement, the tobacco companies placed many restrictions on the marketing and advertising of tobacco products. Some of these self-imposed advertising restrictions include:

- Tobacco companies cannot use cartoon characters, such as 'Joe Camel,' to advertise their products.

- Tobacco companies cannot target youth in the advertising, promotion or marketing of tobacco products.

- Tobacco companies cannot sponsor concerts or other events with significant youth audiences, including team sporting events, such as football games.

- Tobacco brand names cannot be advertised at stadiums and arenas." [2]

These self-imposed restrictions are just that, self-imposed. Since tobacco companies have agreed to these restrictions, I have no issue with them being enforced. However, the problem is when the federal and/or state government wants to expand these restrictions in any way possible. This becomes an even larger problem when we examine the hypocrisy being used. Alcohol, for example, can be advertised during the SuperBowl despite the negative impact it has on youth in America. [3] Whereas tobacco products cannot be advertised during the SuperBowl because it may have a negative impact on youth in America. Alcohol producers can print t-shirts and hats with their logo on them, but tobacco companies cannot. Alcohol producers can have radio advertisements with music, sounds of parties, and positive dialog while tobacco companies cannot. But we should not stop at alcohol. This double standard exists with tobacco and fast foods, as another example.

But my argument would not be complete without touching on the issue of commercial speech. Commercial speech was defined in Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products (1983):
1) Is the material meant to be an advertisement?
2) Does the material reference a particular product?
3) Is there is an economic motivation for disseminating the material?

The issue becomes whether or not commercial speech should be protected in the same way that “noncommercial” speech is protected. There is no real consensus when it comes to this issue, so I look forward to it being discussed. [4]

Anti-Free Market

Investopedia defines a free market as the following:
"When most people discuss the 'free market,' they mean an economy with unobstructed competition and only private transactions between buyers and sellers. However, a more inclusive definition should include any voluntary economic activity so long as it is not controlled by coercive central authorities.” [5]

Quite obviously, the restrictions on tobacco marketing contradict "an economy with unobstructed competition" and "voluntary economic activity." The United States operates loosely on a free market economy with some exceptions. However, the tobacco industry has been discriminated against when it comes to anti-free market restrictions, which I highlighted briefly already.

[1] "On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, WHO [World Health Organization] is calling for countries to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to help reduce the number of tobacco users. Tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people every year."
[4] "I do not see a philosophical or historical basis for asserting that 'commercial' speech is of 'lower value' than 'noncommercial' speech." (Justice Clarence Thomas; 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island (1996))

“the Supreme Court plucked the commercial speech doctrine out of thin air." (Federal judge Alex Kozinski; "Who's Afraid of Commercial Speech?". Virginia Law Review. 50.)



This is not a debate, this is a battle of morality. Smoking kills 443,000 people per year(more than alcohol, drugs, murder, suicides, and HIV). The family smoking and tobacco prevention act keeps the truth of smoking out, without it cigarette businesses would hide the truth.
In 2000 The supreme court put bans on cigarette companies sponsoring sports or entertainment, advertising within 1000 feet of schools, bans on free samples, and selling pacages of less than 20. Would you put those bans on something that"s not dangerous. you want to repeal what's keeping many minors and adults safe. I don"t think so.

'About Tobacco Laws and Regulations
Why is tobacco control important?
Tobacco control programs aim to reduce disease, disability, and death related to tobacco use. A comprehensive approach"one that includes educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies"has been established as the best way to eliminate the negative health and economic effects of tobacco use.
What is the difference between a law and a regulation?
Federal laws, like the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), are passed by Congress and signed by the president. These laws are usually enforced through executive branch agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Laws can also be enacted at the state and local level to protect public health and make tobacco products less affordable, less accessible, and less attractive. For example, states may pass smoke-free indoor air laws and cigarette price increases, which have been proven to reduce cigarette use, prevent youth from starting to smoke, and encourage people to try to quit.
The executive branch, when authorized by Congress, enacts Federal regulations. States can also introduce regulations. Most regulations are developed by a government agency with public input. For example, FDA issues tobacco-related regulations under authority provided by the Tobacco Control Act through a notice and comment rulemaking process. This process allows for public input before FDA issues the final regulation.' from they said it well.

I was raised on a truth that smoking is dangerous and letting that danger near children with advertising is a generally bad idea.
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to start this round by thanking my opponent for responding. He is a new user on the website and I am glad that he seems committed. Now, let's examine his initial arguments.

Battle of Morality

My opponent opens up with the statement that this is not a debate. A small correction: it is. He tells us that this is a battle of morality. But how is this the case? Neither of us had affirmed objective morality prior to this debate. What is moral to one person may or may not be moral to another. This is beside the point. Most of us can agree that 443,000 people dying because of smoking cigarettes is bad, but is it appropriate to infringe on the constitutional rights of tobacco companies and to implement anti-free market legislation? Apparently not, as there are plenty of harmful things on the markets in the US that are not targeted by the same anti-free speech and anti-free market legislation as the tobacco industry. Let's use the example of alcohol and dive a little deeper into the statistics surrounding youth and alcohol:
- In 2014, 24.7 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month. [1]
The number of people in 2010 who were 18 or over was 234,564,071. [2] What is 24.7 percent of 234,564,071? It is roughly 57,937,326 people. What are the effects of binge drinking? They include:
  • Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological damage
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Poor control of diabetes [3]
- 16.3 million adults ages 18 and older (6.8 percent of this age group) had an AUD [Alcohol Use Disorder] in 2014. This includes 10.6 million men (9.2 percent of men in this age group) and 5.7 million women (4.6 percent of women in this age group). [1]
- In 2014, an estimated 679,000 adolescents ages 12–17 (2.7 percent of this age group) had an AUD. This number includes 367,000 females (3.0 percent of females in this age group) and 311,000 males (2.5 percent of males in this age group). [1]
- Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. [1]
-In 2010, alcohol misuse problems cost the United States $249.0 billion. Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking. [1]

While there are some youth statistics in what I have already listed, the NIH does provide some statistics just on youth in America. This is important to highlight, as my opponent has consistently referenced the need to keep tobacco marketing away from youth because of its dangers, yet this line of reasoning seems to fall apart when it comes to alcohol:
- According to the 2014 NSDUH, approximately 5.3 million people (about 13.8 percent) ages 12–20 were binge drinkers (15.8 percent of males and 12.4 percent of females. [1]
- According to the 2014 NSDUH, approximately 1.3 million people (about 3.4 percent) ages 12–20 were heavy drinkers (4.6 percent of males and 2.7 percent of females). [1]

And what are the consequences of drinking while underage?
"Research indicates that alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing an AUD. In addition, underage drinking contributes to a range of acute consequences, including injuries, sexual assaults, and even deaths--including those from car crashes". [1]


My opponent argued that the United States government should keep its restrictions on tobacco marketing because cigarettes are "dangerous." These restrictions are "keeping minors and adults safe." This would be a great line of reasoning if the United States government was consistent and did this with all dangerous products on the market. Tobacco products are risky and dangerous, that is a fact. It is also factually true that alcohol is risky and dangerous. Yet the United States puts unconstitutional restrictions on the marketing of one but not the other. My opponent may believe that alcohol should also have legislation put on it to restrict marketing, but that is simply not the case right now in the US. Until that happens, my opponent's argument is unsound and inconsistent with current US practices in regard to these issues.

My opponent has done a great job of explaining how these regulations are created and how they are enforced. I do not disagree with any of this. However, he has ultimately failed to justify why these restrictions should exist. Simply saying that the product is dangerous is not enough when there are other dangerous products that have very little to no marketing restrictions.

To be sure, I do not disagree with my opponent in his final sentence. The use of tobacco products is dangerous, which is why I do not use them. Alcohol is also dangerous and I do not use it. Marijuana, while illegal in my state (yet it is legal in others), is also dangerous. I would not choose to use it even if it were legal. No one is claiming that tobacco products are not harmful to those who use them. I and many others are simply saying that this war on the tobacco industry is unconstitutional and anti-free market. It is also inconsistent with other industries in the US.



after this debate I have realized i was fighting for the wrong side. your critisisms are on point. i give due to a lack of evidence and belief in my cause
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for the debate, qdawgt1. I have enjoyed it and I am glad that you can at least recognize where my position is coming from.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Scruggs 1 year ago
Simple type "I accept" for the first round. Arguments are for round two.
Posted by gdawgt1 1 year ago
Posted by Scruggs 1 year ago
There should be a button reads "Accept the Challenge" underneath where it reads "Open Debate."
Posted by gdawgt1 1 year ago
idk how
Posted by Scruggs 1 year ago
If you are so confident in your opposition to my position then accept the debate.
Posted by gdawgt1 1 year ago
this is a stupid post why would you say that.?! THOUSANDS on people die from go cigerates and peer pressure and you , you! want more powerful drugs. humans an stupid
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