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

Should cigarettes be legal?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 678 times Debate No: 76074
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




I will be opposing the idea that cigarettes should remain legal.

-Round 1 is acceptance, Rounds 2-3 are cases and rebuttals, and Round 4 is closing arguments.
-No equivocation (the opponent supports the remaining state of cigarettes being legal, do not post an argument implying or flat-out stating "Banning cigarettes is a nice idea, but it doesn't work")
-Do not make claims without supporting it with solid reasoning and sources.
-If these rules are not followed, you will automatically lose the debate. Do not accept if you hate rules and/or don't believe you can meet the criteria.

I hope for a fun debate.


I accept. It will be interesting. I assume that since it wasn’t explicitly stated BOP is shared 50/50. Best of luck to my opponent.

Debate Round No. 1


I apologize, I have been rather busy with schoolwork lately. I will try to post an argument for the next round.


Cigarettes should remain legal. While the analogy to prohibition isn’t perfect, it at least provides a framework for us to think about this issue. But in reality, making cigarettes illegal should introduce a number of troubling consequences, specifically legal and constitutional, but beyond that, it would also introduce a number of costs to society that are not only counterproductive but unnecessary. So let’s start with the legal and constitutional issues we have to consider before deciding whether or not to make cigarettes illegal.


(a) Will farmers, farm workers, manufacturers, and businesses involved with the cigarette industry be treated like cartel bosses, will their land and property be confiscated if they are involved in a illegal activity? This is a simple yes or no answer, so let us look at the possibilities. If yes, is the answer then the problem arising is property rights since the government is taking property from individuals. These would be family farmers working on their land for generations would have their livelihood taken from them. If the answer is no, this also leads to a problem, namely a lack of enforcement.

(b) Second, question: does the government have an interest in sending people to prison for farming, work in a corporation involved in the sale of cigarettes, and then the individual cigarette smoker? Con is going to have to say yes here to advance his position, but Pro say no, the government does not have an interest in putting people in prison for activities considered legal a century before the founding of the country itself. Pro contends that putting productive members, specifically farmers, farm workers, businessmen, and the individuals that smoke in prison is a terrible misallocation of resources, given that both states and the federal government have limited resources, those resources should not be used for this purpose. Second, by making cigarettes illegal, locking people up in prison you run into a lot of other unnecessary outcomes, like treating a health problem as a criminal problem. Pro is not against smart policies that reduce smoking, quite the opposite, Pro favors policies and resources available for programs that help smokers quit. However, Pro would add that programs like these would be voluntary, both on the individuals and the states and the federal government. It would not be about using coercion of the state to tell families, businesses, corporations, and individuals that they can either give up their businesses and their cigarettes or the government can destroy their lives and ask other taxpayers to foot the bill.

So, about the delay in their debate I have been busy as well. Thanks for the debate.


Debate Round No. 2


I shall refute your questions.

Yes. All of the people who work for the cigarette industry should be treated like Cartel bosses. You see, smoking Tobacco has caused a ton of problems in the U.S. As of the 20th century, 100 million people have died from Tobacco usage so far. If the situation isn't upgraded, 1 billion people could result in death due to Tobacco. Tobacco workers are basically helping America develop a deadly drug that can kill millions, and someday billions of people. A Cartel boss is no different. They sell drugs like Cocaine for financial purposes, which relates to the actions of anyone who develops smoking Tobacco. If we get rid of Tobacco, we may also replace land and property used to develop said substance and use it for the significant needs of America. We do not need a drug that can kill hundreds of millions to billions of people, that is much worse than losing some money and putting an end to an industry. I believe that we need to rid of a drug that is going to develop such a horrid process in America. Now must I ask, is there any evidence and reasoning that supports your claim that Tobacco workers and smokers shouldn't be treated as such? Tobacco does nearly the amount of harm that Cocaine does.



Thanks again for the debate. Any of the points made in this Round should not be taken as a personal attack but merely as rebuttals to the points made in the last Round. Sorry, for taking so long it has been a very busy week for me.

Introductory remarks:

Con helped clarify several key points. Con wants to criminalize the tobacco industry, use the power of the government to confiscate land, property, as well as violate due process under the law without just compensation by sending people to prison for engaging in commercial activity that not only has been tradition among Native Americans and was the impetus for European settlement since Jamestown. Pro is aware that tradition in itself is never enough to justify an argument but nonetheless tradition is a point worth considering.

Argument (1):

First, voters should ask themselves whether they consider family farmers, who grow and raise tobacco, are like cocaine cartels bosses that are engaged in sadistic mass murder is a failure because it is a faulty comparison. Pro will concede one point, that cigarettes cause harm, long-term health problems, and death for long time consumers and this true people that use cocaine too. Outside of this obvious point, the similarities are less apparent and in reality, and are flexible enough to use to other industries like alcohol or pharmaceuticals. Con wants to wants to wants to make the term criminal elastic, to apply to industries that are inherently non-criminal but what Con misses is that one is a legitimate business and the other is engaged in criminal activity.

Pro does not see images like this and think criminal of a drug cartel, rather sees what should be obvious, people working on farms.

Argument (2):

Second, one of the problems with the position advocated by Con is that stakes an extreme position unable to come to comprise, but that is exactly what Pro is offering. For instance, smoking is a problem, and if states want to pass legislation that increases the smoking age to 21 like tobacco, they should do that. Similarly, if states or congress wants to pass legislation that creates smoking cessation programs for individuals that want to quit smoking then they should write a bill and pass it into law. In addition, Pro also would support legislation that restricts the places where smoking can occur in restaurants, colleges, and public parks. Well, some of my libertarian friends will object to this position, it is a sensible ground on which sensible people can disagree.

Argument 3:

Considering the arguments made by both sides, would argue that fundamentally we are debating is one of addressing a public health issue. Pro has addressed the issue in a way that can navigate a middle course, which is to concede that cigarettes have negative impacts but the position the Con’s wants takes an extreme position whose impact will have extreme repercussions that would not lead to a worse rather than a better outcome. I don’t think criminalizing cigarettes, farmers, and individuals are going to be a net positive to society.

Concession and final statements

Pro will concede a couple of vital points, namely that cigarettes cause death, just like other substances like alcohol but these products can only be purchased by adults. Adults should have the right to choose whether they want to live their lives in a certain way, such as the freedom to choose whether to smoke or drink. All of these decisions come with a certain risk but adults are aware of those results. The problems with Con’s argument is once you allow the government to use its power to make an entire case of products illegal, you set a precedent for the same thing to happen with alcohol.

Debate Round No. 3


lol101 forfeited this round.


Con did not make a closing round statement, therefore according to the terms we agreed to, Con failed to fulfill the rules implemented at the beginning of the debate. Based on that reasonable reading of the debate Pro should win by concession.

However, because I still want to make a couple of remarks before ending the debate altogether. For the sake of argument, let’s consider what this debate is fundamentally about: whether cigarettes should be illegal. Since the debate is speculative and the arguments are based on analogies or theoretical to a degree, a lot has been contended on obvious grounds, including health effects and all the standard cigarette related disagreement you would typically imagine would come up in a debate like this one. So, let me conclude with a concrete point that ties together with the other arguments I’ve made throughout the debate regarding personal responsibility and the idea individuals should be able to choice whether to engage in the creation, cultivate, commercial exchange, and use of cigarettes as a commodity.

Cigarettes are only available to adults under the law—though I concede that non-adults are able to acquire and use them, but this is illegal.

Legally speaking, making cigarettes illegal is fundamentally about whether someone over the age of 18 can make choices for themselves and be accountable for those making those decisions as an adult—[Yes, I understand the obvious rebuttal would be “it doesn’t just effect the individual but everyone, using examples from healthcare expense, second-hand smoke, and other objections.” I concede that objection but that does not negate the basic point about accepting responsibility for your actions and choices].

Taken together this brings us back around the crux of my argument, which is cigarettes should not be illegal [see other rounds for specifics] because on top of its commercial, traditional, and integral entanglement with US identity and culture, it is also about giving individuals the right and liberty to make their own decisions and holding individuals accountable for those decisions, whether it means working on a family farm, working for a small business or a large business involved in the sale or commercial enterprise of cigarettes, or whether you are a smoker aware of the risks associated with that behavior but decide to continue to smoke. And as I’ve stated throughout the debate, if you want to address the externalities of smoking including health and safety, then states or congress or an agency delegate with that power should use its authority to curb its use including providing funding for cessation programs, employers incentivizing workers to stop smoking with cash or something that might decrease the use of smoking, or increasing the taxes on cigarettes, or even limiting the vicinities where smoking can occur with violations or tickets of some kind. These alternatives should be left open, left open to adopt, left open for the sake of experimentation, and they provide a much better solution that is consistent and compatible with individual responsibility and individual accountability. This is why Pro supports keeping cigarettes legal in the US.

Vote Pro—thanks for the debate.

Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Jack.Jameswood1 2 years ago
That's alright, we both kind of dragged out the timing. I almost forgot to make one of the rounds too. Fun debate though. Maybe we'll do it again. Appreciate the debate.
Posted by lol101 2 years ago
Darn! Sorry for the forfeiture Jack. I ran out of time.
Posted by lol101 2 years ago
It's a rule. It makes you sound weak on your execution, since by stating that something is a "nice idea", you are admitting that the proposal of banning cigarettes is a good idea. It's very simple my friend; all you need to do is not equivocate and you will not get criticized for it. I would much rather debate someone who has a firm opinion on the topic than debate someone who seems to have either a middle ground related opinion, or has somewhat weak support on a claim. I believe that is the point of having a "Pro" side and a "Con" side. This can easily distinguish two different opinions in a debate, and makes it feel more like a Pro v. Con debate. Two opposite sides are what make certain debates legendary.
Posted by sillydebater 2 years ago
What's wrong with the argument that, although a nice idea, banning cigarettes doesn't work because of reasons X, Y and Z, and therefore they should remain legal.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: con's double forfeit did it in for him.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: By forfeiting, Con had broken the rules of the debate, and had conceded all arguments from Pro in the previous round,