The Instigator
rshortman
Con (against)
Tied
18 Points
The Contender
skiies23
Pro (for)
Tied
18 Points

Smoking Ban in Private Establishments that serve alcohol

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,289 times Debate No: 2102
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (12)

 

rshortman

Con

First of all, I'm just gonna say that the entire premise of which I base my opinion on has less to do with cigarette smoking itself and more to do with government legislation versus choices better left for the free market to decide. Please leave all tobacco industry arguments out of this.

While I agree that common sense dictates: a smoke-filled bar is certainly less healthy than the fresh air of a mountaintop, you have to wonder how much thought some of these moral busybodies put into the subject before parading around their picket signs and their self-righteous indignation. "Ban Smoking!" They say. "Second Hand Smoke Kills!"

First of all, the entities (both governmental and private alike) that determined the hazards of SHS based their research on studies that are dubious at best and downright fraudulant at worst and everyone seems to forget that politicians have a great deal of self interest in the subject (i.e. obtain votes and it's easy because smokers are just easy to pick on) and pharmaceutical cartels are profitting from the movement tremendously.

Second, the ban is just absurd. It tramples over rights, rights clearly safeguarded by the constitution. You might say "Well, we have a right to not breathe in their smoke". You're absolutely right, which is why you also have the right to find yourself another bar where smoking isn't allowed. That's what's so unfair about it: non-smokers have always had plenty of choices (traditionally having the majority of the market)and now smokers have none.

I'll present my other arguments and my solution later...your turn!
skiies23

Pro

To begin, I wish for all that vote for rshortman, or myself, that you do so by rating how each of us debates, and not by your personal opinion of the topic. Thank you in advance for reading our arguments! Ok, now on with the debate!

I am initially confused with how you want to debate, as with the companies/restaurants that serve alcohol. Do you want to limit this to bars ("you also have the right to find yourself another bar where smoking isn't allowed.")? Or should we open the debate to include most restaurants in general, as many of them also serve alcohol? I personally would open it up to the typical restaurant that has been forced to eliminate "smoking" sections.

My first point is to counter that the ban is a legitimate one. The government reserves the right to institute regulations on private business, especially when dealing with the health of the People they serve. Several examples include the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), setting up gas emission regulations on PRIVATE factories and implementing tougher gas mileage ratings for all car companies; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), overseeing traffic control towers and making sure all planes are up to specific levels of technical operation; and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), closely monitoring pharmaceutical companies and ensuring the legitimacy of all drugs.

Now the EPA is regulating air quality in businesses by passing a ban against smoking in workplaces and other public places, but notably restaurants. Sure there is controversial evidence that Second Hand Smoke (SHS) is harmful, but the fact of the matter is that nearly four-fifths of the population do not smoke. It is much tougher for the EPA to regulate businesses on an individual basis, so they enacted this generalized ban to completely move all smoking designated areas outside of buildings.

I don't really see what you mean about "smokers are just easy to pick on." And I will generally cede that politicians are easily bought off by lobbyists and special interest groups. They want to be elected time and time again, and so they get please these groups by bribery, funding their future campaigns, and thus continually be elected. Yet, again, what does this have to pertain to the ban on smoking, since wouldn't tobacco companies be buying off politicians to shoot down such a ban?

I will now focus on the smokers' rights, and whether they have been trampled or not. I reiterate that smokers still have nearly-free reign to travel. They are just asked to leave buildings when they have a craving for nicotine. This is a simple and courteous request that businesses could not have done on their own, or a lawsuit would have been brought against them... saying they were discriminating against smokers. You hardly focus on the restaurant's rights... as many felt obligated to serve a place of smoking.

As an excellent example, I'm sure many have eaten in places that were small, yet you went because the food was excellent or cheap. These restaurants/bars did their best to keep smoking and non-sections away from each other, but the fact is that the smoke traveled evenly across both sides of the room. There are no dividers that filter smoke completely away from non-smoking sections. And many might actually have had to sit in the smoking section to be served.. as the non-smoking sections were all filled. This way the entire restaurant can be opened and clean for all customers. If smokers feel the need, they can light up outside (but isn't this the polite thing to do anyway?).

Slightly unfair or not, you cannot deny that smokers still have rights. But the government must look at the general population as a whole, and just under 80% of the population do not smoke. That's not obtaining easy votes; that is catering to the population they are expected to represent. Am I wrong?
Debate Round No. 1
rshortman

Con

First, I'd like to clarify my stance. I'm not debating whether smoking should be banned from restaurants that serve alcohol for the simple reason that generally speaking, children are also served at those restaurants.

Your argument cedes that the government retains its right to implement regulations on certain industries via certain entities. In this sense, you would be correct. However, we're not talking about the EPA, or the FAA or even OSHA. We're talking about LEGISLATION, assembly members who get together to create a new law banning smoking from private sectors and (basically) the public indoors. The very fact that none such entities were utilized to create or enforce such regulations tells me that it was a political agenda. (And I am referring specificially to the smoking ban enacted July 1st, 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska but the story is much the same in most places where a ban was enacted).

The first stand taken against indoor smoking was back in 1993, when the EPA came out with a study that outlined the negative affects of SHS. The study was found to be based on meta-analysis or 'junk science' in which poll numbers could be easily manipulated to protray whatever they wanted. Deemed fraudulant by a judge, the papers were thrown out by the federal government. Nonetheless, they made the rounds through the Red Cross, The American Lung Association, The American Medical Association, The American Cancy Society and numerous mutli-billion dollar pharmaceutical cartels. And although others may have different reasons for supporting the ban (i.e. smoke bothers me, rude b@stards) the SHS research, even if fraudulant, gave them the leverage they needed.

Second, Tobacco companies couldn't pay off politicians even if they wanted to. First of all, how would that look on a politician running for office? Supporting an industry that kills, accepting bribes from them? No way! Besides, Tobacco companies have been losing serious momentum ever since the anti-tobacco campaigns (sponsored by pharmaceutical cartels) swept across America like a Tornado. Rather it's the pharmaceutical cartels themselves that pay the big dollars towards political campaigns and considering how much revenue they bring in every year from Quit Assist RXs, I can only imagine how much they would support the Smoking Ban trend.

If I understand the point that you were trying to make, it's that the Smoking Ban is perfectly acceptable because A: politicians just want to be re-elected time and time and what's wrong with that? (What?!?!) and B: Most of the population doesn't smoke and isn't that just the polite thing to do?

Unfortunately, I do see a problem. I see a problem with legislators trying to win votes by fixing what wasn't broken to begin with. I'll give you an example, here in Anchorage before the Ban was implemented, there were 300 private establishments that serve alcohol (bars) that were already non-smoking and all restaurants were already non-smoking. 90 private stablishments allowed smoking. Non-smokers having 2/3 of the bar market and all of the restaurant market were far from being forced to be around SHS. In fact, I could argue that smokers were even less of a nuissance to them back then, back when smokers didn't huddle together outside by the doors of every bar in town where you could walk down the street without walking by a cloud of smoke.

And you're right, partitioned sections of non-smokers and smokers probably wouldn't do justice of keeping smoke away from non-smokers but smoke-eaters certainly would. In fact, some air filters are so powerful, you can't smell the cigarette of the person sitting right next to you (some of these more powerful smoke eaters remove up to 96% of particulants in the air). Properly divided and with decent air filtration (regulated by and meeting the standards of OSHA), I see no reason that the already small percentage of bars couldn't have smokers in them. The he air filter would be very expensive to install and maintain but for those bars, pool halls, bingo halls, restaurants and lounges whose revenues have taken a serious nose-dive since the Ban, that might be an expense worth having. Of course, that sort of thing should be left for the free market to decide, not the government.

Now down to the nitty gritty of the Smoking Ban philosophy. There is a new trend in America, the trend of public safety. We are OBSESSED with public safety. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the warnings we put on medication bottles and coffee (Warning: Contents hot and will burn if you poor directly on your genitilia). This is because of the litigious nature of our judicial system (everyone is sue-happy) and because as a nation, we've been exceedingly spoiled, weak-minded with an arrogant sense of entitlement. This sense of entitlement makes us feel it's incredibly audacious for the government to let anything bad happen to us. As a result, we want more and more, stricter and stricter laws to make everything safe, prohibit everything and our kids have to wear a helmet for everything but masturbating. Soccer Mom legislation basically, if we don't like it, we'll just BAN IT. Thusly, reasonable alternatives are pushed aside as we grab at the nearest feel-good solution. Smoking indoors is really no different. There's no reason behind it, no rationale. It just felt good to do it and our politicians were more than happy to oblige.

For the record, I hate this new America. The America that doesn't seem to mind trading in it's freedom little by little in exchange for...not even real safety, but the illusion of safety.
skiies23

Pro

I still do not understand your stance, as you included a word not used in the first round, or in the rest of your arguments in the second round: "children." I do notice, however, that you are discussing a particular ban affecting the state of Alaska [to which I (nor the rest of those who read this) know the exact statutes)]. I am familiar with the smoking ban of Tennessee, and can conclude that the bans are remotely similar in origination, as you are protesting the legislation of such bands in general.

Your main argument is attacking whether the Representatives and Senators of the United States Congress... no, you are debating whether a SINGLE STATE's government has the power to enact a ban for that PARTICULAR state. As a side note, eighteen (18) states have passed their OWN guidelines to where smokers can and cannot light up. My simple solution for that is, if you don't like it: MOVE! If you are a smoker who is offended by the ban (or rather I should say that he/she believes in free reign of cigarette/cigar use regardless of courtesy to others), however, then start a movement against the ban!

But wait! There WAS a movement of individuals gathering signatures to protest the ban... In fact, there was such a movement in the city of Anchorage (the city of reference [and home town I should add] by my opponent):

Number of signatures: 12,000. (#1)
Rough city population: 275,000. (#2)
Percentage of population in movement: 4.36%.

I found that 24% (#5) of Alaskan residents are smokers. Taking a rough estimate:

Percentage of Anchorage smokes: 25%.
Number of residents that smoke: 69,000 people out of 275,000.
Again, number of signatures: 12,000.

Moreover, assuming those signed were all smokers: 17% of smokers are against the ban. That really does not make a case for smokers who are against the ban.

But maybe the statistics are different in other places??? I didn't find that conclusion. As stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (#3), somewhere between 71% and 80% of smokers BELIEVE in second hand smoke, and that it is HARMFUL to those who choose a healthier way of living: not smoking.

Now, let us discuss Second Hand Smoke in general, or "passive smoking," as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, all suggest that is exactly what it is. I am giving evidence that, although my opponent regards evidence as "dubious at best… and fraudulent at worst," such prestigious organizations as these MUST have conclusive evidence supporting their claims (otherwise that's a lot of wasted money). Also, my opponent regarded papers back in 1993, as deemed "fraudulent" by a non-scientist judge. I am positive dozens of more recent, independent studies since have given more evidence.

Scientific evidence has no opinion... only those who read the studies and INTERPRET them have opinions. Still, the science and mathematics remain. Both smokers AND non-smokers agree that Second Hand Smoke is dangerous. The LEVEL of danger is disputed, such as if SHS is really responsible for the following (#3): discomfort, asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, and lower birth rate in babies (as my opponent brought up "children" earlier).

I also have one more argument claiming that STATE government lawmakers DO have the privileged right (especially at the conclusion of independent studies and the advice of national and international research agencies) to ban nearly anything, not just smoking.

Here are some sources I used:

1. http://media.www.thenorthernlight.org...

2. http://en.wikipedia.org...

3. http://www.dsf.health.state.pa.us...

4. http://www.cancer.org...

5. http://www.hss.state.ak.us...
Debate Round No. 2
rshortman

Con

rshortman forfeited this round.
skiies23

Pro

Unfortunately my opponent did not respond in her third round, so there's not much action. I will continue to dispute some of her arguments:

1. Legislators have no right to ban smoking in public areas, particularly in bars and restaurants... for the sake of children. Or, the simple fact that government agencies (such as the EPA) may bring forth evidence of some sort of health issue, and legislators discuss possible ways to remedy the situation. She concludes that eliminating the problem, or at least moving it elsewhere, is never a solution.

2. A person has the right to choose whether or not to eat at a restaurant if they allow smoking, as she states that there were many other bars and restaurants that are completely smoking free. She uses facts that are questionable, such as "non-smokers have always had plenty of choices [of smoke-free bars]," but in my limited experience of bars, mainly restaurants, there nearly always was always a smoking section. There were very few 100% smoke-free businesses [serving alcohol] in my opinion... although I do not live in Anchorage, Alaska, so I cannot personally attest to her facts about the city she lives in.

3. There is no evidence ("junk-science"), and that all studies are false, that Second Hand Smoking (Passive Smoking) actually affects anybody, and therefore the ban is senseless. It just came to me: haven't tobacco companies agreed that SHS, or Passive Smoking, is still harmful to the non-smoker? I'm looking to see if such a statement exists.

4. Restaurants/Bars have the option of buying 'smoke zappers.' That's the key word: option. In fact, especially in restaurants (where children will be given food) I don't remember these filters strategically placed in smoking section.

5. Smoking bans are political agendas created for gathering votes only (although the majority of the population IS non-smoking), and not for the protection of the general public. Again, I beg to disagree.

6. There has only been one set of findings that Second Hand Smoke is harmful. I allow you to browse through many MANY independent studies of Passive Smoking.

7. "Second, Tobacco companies couldn't pay off politicians even if they wanted to. First of all, how would that look on a politician running for office?" PLEASE! Bribery of political leaders is age old. Maybe I should use the world LOBBYISTS!

I've run out of time. I will make my closing argument in the final, and 4th, round.
Debate Round No. 3
rshortman

Con

rshortman forfeited this round.
skiies23

Pro

Well my opponent didn't respond the last two rounds of the debate. I would assume that would give me the win... but how unfortunate that works out.

Read each round, and vote for the person who presented a more thorough argument, regardless of personal opinion (again, I gave 2 full rounds of information, whereas my opponent gave 1).

I enjoyed it. Looking for my next debate.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tmf_luvs_debate 8 years ago
tmf_luvs_debate
Hi. You posted a comment on one of my debates and made so very rude comments calling me a skanky goth just because I dont agree with uniforms. so here is my response to your assumptions.
I would like to tell you that my favorite style of clothing includes pencil skirts and anything 40's or 20's. That is steryotype teenager you are talking about, but honestly I see maybe 20 or 30 peopel who match your discription a day and hun I go to a school with 3000 kids. I dont like abercrombie, and did you not read what I said about thrift stores? I find amazing deals and brand new clothes and spend almost no money on clothes! your statement "God forbid that kids should replace clothes with community involvement and after-school activities," implys that no teenagers are socialy active. I dress how I want and I am part of 4 school clubs that are all community service oriented, peer court ( i am a peer artourney), and I am here on debate.org. I obviously have oppinions. I am a ballerina and have been since I was 6, i have been on pointe for 3 years and dance 13.5 hours a week. I have straight A's in school, and read 1000-2000 pages a week ( pleasure reading not just school reading)

so dont you tell me to leave my hooker skirts and goth makeup at home. that is an assumption and totally incorect. the high school i attend is ranked top public highschool in the state. Its test scores are about 30% higher than almost all other public highschools in the state! and it is a big state, and we dont wear uniforms. there are over 85 clubs that are completely full, and a giant library on campus that is always full of students who want to read. only 18 out of 3000 students failed the end of year test last year, and most of them werent goth skanks.
Posted by skiies23 8 years ago
skiies23
I hadn't logged on in a while.. and I read some of the last comments. I remember one person saying they were 'bias' to the topic. What I should have been saying all along was "don't vote based on your individual opinions, vote on who presented a better argument... or for the person who GAVE an argument."

Haha, oh well. One more vote would give me a tie.. to a person who didn't even debate really.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
The Constitution doesn't specifically mention 99.9% of the rights we enjoy. The right to let your patrons smoke on your property is derived from property rights.
Posted by cloppbeast 8 years ago
cloppbeast
The "right" to allow smoking on one's property is not a constitutional right only because the supreme court haven't interpreted some premise of the 14th amendment to cover it. (i.e. "the right to privacy") The point being that the constitution doesn't mean much in the current government, so whether or not it is a right granted by the constitution is irrelevant. FDR killed the constitution without a proper burial.
Posted by skiies23 9 years ago
skiies23
And... yes... I was playing the Devils' Advocate during this debate. So I'm not surprised I lost actually.
Posted by skiies23 9 years ago
skiies23
And as I put, the rights of the business owners are not in jeopardy. They can serve whomever they wish! And they can remove anybody which they do not wish to serve... but the "right" to allow people to smoke indoors is not a right protected in the Constitution.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
The rights in question here are the rights of the business owner to set the rules for his establishment and let the public decide (with their patronage and wallets) what is acceptable. This nanny state is rediculous and infringes on the free will of business owners and patrons.
Posted by orville 9 years ago
orville
Am still trying to quit smoking as early as today, so commenting on this topic is pretty hard not be bias. "I base my opinion on has less to do with cigarette smoking itself and more to do with government legislation versus choices better left for the free market to decide." it`ll always be a fact that the government gets a profit out of it. Smoking basically kills a person by developing lung cancer. If you want to ban smoking, then diminish the current government. If you don`t, then light that stick. Lol
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
Second hand smoke is typically a cancer related thing, calling this a death from second hand smoke is a farce.

Sounds like a death from asthma to me.
Posted by Scyrone 9 years ago
Scyrone
They didn't take into account though that she neglected to take care of her asthma. She didn't take the pills she needed to all the time, and she did not bring her inhaler with her. Don't blame it on smokers. It was her own neglection that caused her death. Plus, why would anyone who has asthma work in a bar that allows smoking?

It is her own fault. Not anyone else's.
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