Debate Rounds (4)
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Constructive cases
Round 3 - Refutations and more constructive cases
Round 4 - Refutations, closing statements. No new evidence or arguments.
The resolution pertains in particular to recreational smoking.
I will be arguing in favor of a general ban on recreational smoking.
TN05 will be arguing against.
1. No overt semantics
2. No forfeits
3. No trolling
4. Yatty yatta.
Without further ado..
Stuff to Talk About:
I forgot to mention: this debate is part of Zaradi's Prized Debate Tournament (www.debate.org/forums/debate.org/topic/59235/)
To prevent further confusion before I start, I'd like to note that TN05 and I have agreed that this topic pertains specifically to cigarettes (if that wasn't obviou already).
Finally, congratulations to TN05 for making it this far. I look forward to this debate. :)
1 - Health
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death. Smoking has caused the death of 4 million people worldwide.
Smoking is a major cause of cancer and a number of crippling diseases:
Exhaling smoke expels a mere 10% of the material inhaled with the other 90% of the hundreds of toxins in a smoke trapped in the body.
A machine which mimics human smoking patterns over the course of 2000 cigarettes collected enough tar to fill a little bottle. A diluted solution of this tar was painted on the skin of some mice. 60% of these mice developed skin cancer within a year.
Here is a common difference between the lungs of a smoker and the lungs of someone living in a polluted city:
Notice the specks on the right side which are indicative of carbon deposits.
A smoker's lung looks like this:
The blackened areas are a result of tar, and the white area to the right is cancer. "Smoking, a main cause of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, contributes to 80 percent and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and men, respectively."
Smoking destroys the cilia in the lung, severely crippling the ability of the lung to mitigate mucous buildup. Smoking damages the lungs ability to collect and distribute oxygen throughout the body.
Smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. As an exercise as to the potential suffering smoking causes to the smoker:
Take a deep breath. Hold it. Don't exhale. Take another deep breath. Hold that. Take another breath on top of that. The second and third breaths are exactly the way people with emphysema feel when they breathe. About 4.7 milllion people lived this way
Smoking not only discolors the lung, but can destroy the ability of the lung to contract making it incredibly difficult to exhale. Emphysema so completely damages the lung that it no longer even retains its original shape:
Additionally, smoking hurts the lungs' immune capacity. Smokers generally suffer from symptoms of chest pain, short breath, persistent coughing, frequent colds and respiratory infections, persistent hoarseness, difficulty or pain on swallowing, etc.
It is safe to say that the benefits of smoking, the rare pleasure and the more common satisfaction of nicotine addiction, are insurmountably outweighed by the prevalent suffering smoking causes.
2 - Costs
With the myriad of health detriments caused by smoking, it is unsurprising to see their reflecting on the health industry:
"$96 Billion dollars were spent on tobacco-related healthcare costs in the United States from 2000 to 2004, instead of being spent on things like transportation, education, public safety and rural development [..] From 2000 to 2004, tobacco-related health costs and productivity loss in the United States totaled $193 Billion"
5 trillion cigarettes are produced and used on an annual basis.
On top of the suffering and the cost to human life that it causes, smoking is an immense drain on our resources. From a utilitarian perspective, a smoking ban is a moral obligation. Considering that it is illegal to encourage suicide (with very few exceptions), the sales and advertisement of cigarettes, encouraging people to smoke, should be in the same legal category.
3 - No Free Will.
There is no free will in having your brain be controlled by artificially-induced impulses. Nicotine is more addictive than already illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and crystal meth. Nicotine is the most addicting substance in the world with an incredible 98% addiction rate.
Those living in constant exposure to second-hand smoke have a 20-30% higher risk of developing lung cancer. Second-hand smoke exposure in the workplace have shown a 16-19% increase in the population of lung cancer patients. Smoking bans remove the risk for these people who have no choice but to face exposure otherwise.
An Oxford journal demonstrated via study that smokers are misinformed about many aspects of the cigarettes they smoke. THe sales of tobacco products against a misinformed populace make cigar companies comparable to scammers. Once the addiction is engendered, it (not-free-will) is almost impossible to overcome. "Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt."
68.9% of adult smokers wanted to stop smoking. Many smokers literally can't quit, even if they want to. Tobacco destroys a person's ability to effectively exercise their free will.
With a majority of smokers wanting to quit and with a 98% addiction rate and a 93-96% inability to quit, any argument appealing to freedom of choice cannot be plausibly held.
Really, smoking only creates for society an unnecessary burden, taking up immense quantities of resources and countless cases of needless death and suffering. Again, from a utilitarian moral perspective, we are morally obligated to stop the continuation of the tobacco industry. It is time tobacco is filed away along with meth, cocaine, heroine, etc.
On to CON!
I'd like to thank my opponent for his opening round. Before I begin my round, I want to note me and my opponent agreed in advance that cigar smoking is also acceptable for argument here; do not take this as a conduct issue, as this was just a minor oversight.
Contention I - Tobacco smoking is a net good for the economy
Subpoint I - A smoking ban would be impractical due to lost tax revenue
There are three main methods of tobacco consumption: cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 18.1% of Americans (roughly 58 million given the current population estimate of 320 million) are cigarette smokers. 5.4% of Americans (roughly 17 million) smoke cigars, and 3.5% (roughly 11 million) use smokeless tobacco (snuff, chew, etc.). Accordingly, most tobacco-related economic activity revolves around cigarettes or cigars. What is that impact? As I will show you it is significant.
In 2010, the federal government made $15.5 billion dollars from the cigarette excise tax. The Daily Caller notes that " That money went to fund an expansion of the federal State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which provides funding to states for health insurance for families that do not qualify for Medicare, but are still considered of modest means". The federal government is not the only level to benefit from cigarette sales - the state governments made more than $24 billion dollars on cigarette sales and $8.8 billion in settlement payments in 2009. Under a federal ban on smoking, this roughly $48 billion in tax revenue would vanish.
Subpoint II - Impact on tobacco farmers and trade
Beyond taxes, though, the ban would be detrimental to many Americans. According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, over 660,000 Americans are employed in the tobacco industry (225,000 of them in North Carolina) and the tobacco industry has a $64 billion dollar impact on America's gross national product ($7 billion of which is in North Carolina). A ban on smoking would be detrimental to these Americans, who would likely lose their jobs or find their income drastically reduced. Their way of life and income source would become obsolete overnight, and they would unfairly bear the brunt of the ban. This would also become a problem as tobacco is a very large cash crop - tobacco is valued at roughly $4,000 per acre, the highest of any domestically grown crop in the United States. The loss of tobacco exports would increase the US trade deficit even further and further marginalize the farmers of the United States.
Subpoint III - Smoking deaths are good for the economy
It is undeniable that smoking is bad for you. Like, really bad for you. If you value your life, don't smoke. However, from a practical perspective, smoking deaths are good for the economy. According to The Daily Caller, "Smokers actually save the government money, both by dying earlier and thus reduce social security payments, and, to a lesser extent, by dying of relatively cheap ailments like lung cancer, a fairly quick killer, rather than more expensive, lingering ailments". If the government were to ban cigarette smoking, then, not only would they have to raise taxes on other, less harmful products to recoup losses, but they would also have to deal with a population that lives much longer, thus requiring more money in health care costs. According to The Atlantic, the early death of smokers, when combined with the heavy tax burden that smokers take, means that smokers are essentially "self-financing" - that is, they cost about as much as they put in.
Contention II - Businesses are harmed
I can understand the desire for smoke-free restaurants. Smoking smells bad and isn't really healthy. I'd be lying if I said my own state's ban on smoking in restaurants hasn't made dining experiences nicer. However, smoking bans take away the fundamental agency of businessmen to regulate their business model. Many business models, such as pubs and sports bars, are very damaged by smoking bans - many smokers would opt to stay home and smoke rather than go to a place where they cannot smoke. Some business models, such as cigar bars, would be abolished entirely. This in particular is a big problem, because not only is cigar smoking much less harmful than cigarette smoking when done properly (not inhaling) and in moderation, but cigar culture is an artisan one. Most cigar smokers don't smoke to get a fix of nicotine (just like a good number of wine and beer enthusiasts don't drink to get drunk), but rather to enjoy the flavor of a cigar. These people aren't any more of a public health nuisance than wine enthusiasts are - why should they be punished, and their culture taken away from them?
Contention III - A smoking ban is unenforceable
Subpoint I - There are too many smokers to effectively regulate
It would be incorrect to assume 75 million Americans would stop smoking overnight - some 30% of Americans don't want to quit smoking. Even if we assume the 70% that would like to quit actually do quit, that still leaves 17 million Americans who still want to smoke. As has been shown with failed bans on alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs, simply making some illegal does not actually stop people from using it - those 30% would likely continue to smoke, and would simply buy illegally. Those illegal sales would have two major problems:
*Government would receive no tax revenue on them.
*They would be illegal, obligating the arrest of both smugglers and those who own and smoke.
The first is a fairly big problem - how can the government recoup $50 billion in revenue immediately? The short answer is they cannot, especially when you consider what would likely be the high costs to enforce the act. A ban on recreational smoking would likely have to be national, meaning national funds and national forces would be needed to enforce it. Enforcing this ban would be a tremendous waste of time and money - what, are we going to throw 17 million people in jail? That's not practical. Such a ban would, by necessity, have to be either toothless or totalitarian.
Subpoint II - Previous drug bans have failed
According to a 2012 study, 9.2% of the 12 and over population (23.9 million Americans) used an illegal drug within the last month of when they were surveyed. For perspective, that's more than the combined number of cigar and smokeless tobacco users. These drugs are illegal, and clearly efforts to remove them have failed, because people still use them. Like cigarettes, these drugs are addictive, but unlinke cigarettes these drugs have been illegal for decades and lack a centralized industry producing them. If government is incapable of effectively banning these drugs and removing them from public use, how can they do so with a product that has long been legal and that has a large global industry behind it? The answer, of course, is that they cannot. A good example of this is Prohibition, where the US banned alcohol which, like cigarettes, is a large industry that has been around forever. Prohibition was an enormous failure and ended after just a decade.
Contention IV - A smoking ban is not necessary
Although my opponent will try and cast a smoking ban as the only solution to a massive public health crisis, in reality smoking is dying on its own. In 1955, almost 45% of adults smoked; currently that number is less than 20%. To put it bluntly, smokers are dying off at a fairly rapid pace, and despite population growth, the number of smokers - not just the percentage - is decreasing. In contrast to the ineffectiveness of bans, education, anti-smoking ads, and increased sin taxes on smoking have been shown to be effective ways to get people to stop smoking. Anti-smoking efforts are more effective than total bans, so why bother with bans?
A total smoking ban would be a terrible idea. A smoking ban would be incredibly damaging to the economy, causing massive loss of jobs, tobacco-related economic benefits, and a massive decrease in tax revenue, and it would also cause harm to businesses and end a lively artisan cigar culture. On top of this, a total ban on recreational smoking would be costly and unenforceable. Essentially, a smoking ban would likely be a total failure in any regard. There are many other ways to reduce smoking than a total ban, like education and increased taxes, and these other methods are much more effective. Resources should not be wasted on a ban, but should instead be contributed to proven anti-smoking efforts.
Thank you TN05 for a clean constructive round.
My opponent's points boil down to the following:
1 - Cigar smoking and cigarette smoking are not the same
2 - A smoking helps the economy - contention ll is just the necessarily implied converse of contention l.
3 - A smoking ban is unenforcable
4 - Ban unnecessary
Counter 1 - Cigars
I apologize for misinterpreting my opponent's PM'd proposition of the resolution. I literally thought, at the time he proposed it, that cigars and cigarettes were the same thing, so I didn't make note of it in my previous round. Again, my most sincere apologies.
My opponent's basic premise here is that cigars can be used in a manner other than being smoked, but cigars and cigarettes are built with exactly the same ingredients and with the exact same mechanism. Cigars are literally just cigarettes wrapped in tobacco leaves instead of the usual paper. Any form of tobacco intake via cigars can and are the same as tobacco intake via cigarettes. A cigar's tobacco leaf wrapping gives it the potential to being enjoyed like chewing tobacco, but chewing tobacco is not smoked and does not cause the same problems. In fact, cigars are often inhaled, defeating my opponent's attempted dichotomy.
Ultimately, one of the most significant problems with smoked tobacco is secondhand smoke. Since 90% of tobacco intake is trapped inside the smoker's lungs and body when inhaled, Cigars, especially when taken in the way my opponent declares is less unhealthy for smokers, is a much greater hazard to the second-hand smoking victim.
The fact that this debate pertains to smoking and not any other form of consumption negates the impact of the cigar's inclusion in the resolution.
Counter 2 - The Economy
Counter Subpoint l - lost revenue
Each year in the United States, tobacco use costs more than $289 billion a year with at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 dollars in lost productivity.
Crunching the numbers: ($48 billion dollar tax revenue) - ($289 billion from death, medical care and lost work-time) = -$241 billion.
Compared to the values lost through medical care and workplace productivity (dead people, hospitalized people, time spent not wokring, etc.), the lost tax revenue isn't even worth mentioning.
Counter Subpoint ll - Tobacco Farmers
"Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking."
If we were to take an objective measure and consider Tobacco farmers as merely lives: Weighed against the millions of people whosuffer and die, the 660,000 jobs aren't even measurably comparable. If the point of having a job is to sustain life, the job's destroying even more life completely defeats the purpose of occupation. The impact of economic benefit produced by tobacco products is severely outweighed by the impact of human and economic casualties that these products causes. This refutation applies to my opponent's contention ll. Why should society suffer, why should millions needlessly die for the sake of a couple businesses? I ask my opponent and the audience: what is the point of having a business if the business helps to produce more harm than benefit to society?
Counter Subpoint lll - Deaths are good for the Economy
By supporting this subpoint, my opponent must then also locially support the notion that murder is good for the economy. The fact is, this subpoint isn't even true. An economy requires workers to keep it functioning. Dead people can't work and labor is a very important resource. While it costs money to sustain a person's life, the average person produces more labor value than it is worth. A dead smoker is worth infinitely less than a live worker.
Just because something is profitable, doesn't mean it is right.
I've been noticing a lot of 'Good for economy' arguments on some of the most ridiculous topics based solely from the fact that the topic under discussion includes items that can derive profit. It's about time these are properly addressed. The economy is not an end-all objective. I assert that the purpose of a better economy is to benefit humanity and society. If we sacrifice humanity in order to produce a better economy, we've defeated the point of having a good economy in the first place.
Slavery is probably the most profitable human capitalist ventures in the world. It is also one of the most degrading: taking away human lives and freedom.
Organ harvesting is profitable. Under the same argument via economy, my opponent may as well be supporting mass compulsory organ harvesting. The price of individual organs can range as high as $300,000 with a relatively high demand.
Anything that induces profit such as war, weapons of mass destruction, slavery, etc., can fall under the category of being economically beneficial, but again, the economy is not the end objective.
So what if the U.S. government receives tax revenue? This tax revenue is derived as a portion of the money spent by citizens, whose addiction compels them to throw their money away. Sure the U.S. government earns some money from this area, but the majority of the money remains in the pockets of the tobacco company. This money is taken directly from the pockets of citizens rich and poor. There's a net benefit for those who earn the money, especially those who own the companies, but a huge net loss for the consumers.
Even if the numbers had come out economically positive (which it does not), smoking still kills millions of people every year while enslaving the minds of millions more to addiction. These alone are sufficient conditions to merit a ban.
Counter 3 - Unenforceable Ban
Counter Subpoint l - Too Many Smokers
The purpose of a ban isn't to stop every single smoker from smoking overnight. The purpose is to societally deter it.
Laws are broken every day. The existence of law breakers does not invalidate the legitimacy of a law. A smoking ban affects more than just smokers, it is also tailored to potential smokers. At the end of the day, the majority of citizens will generally abide by the law. A ban on smoking would most likely cause a large portion of smokers to stop while also deterring another portion from engaging in the activity in the first place. The logic which applies to some of the worst drugs also applies here. A ban won't be completely comprehensive, but it's a first and necessary step.
$50 billion in the government does not compare to the $300 billion lost. The government is not obligated to earn money at the cost of so many human lives and workers' wages.. nor are we obligated to allow the government to do so.
Counter Subpoint ll - Failed Ban
Past-month usage is not indicative of habit. A legal deterrent will significantly reduce supply and thus the ability to sustain habit.
My opponent cites illegal drug use as a failure to drug bans. While a drug ban does not necessarily stop illegal markets, it will stop legal markets. No more advertising (tobacco companies spend nearly $10 billion dollars in a year on advertising). Decreased promotion means decreased incumbency. The supply of illegal production will always just be a fraction of the supply of legal production.
The U.S. produces 22.3 million pounds of marijuana, the most commonly used illegal drugs (making up a majority of my opponent's 23.9 million past-month use statistic), in a year.
In the same year, the U.S. produced nearly 800 million pounds of tobacco
That's 3400% more tobacco than marijuana produced, and that's not even counting the fact that a large quantity of this marijuana goes toward medical usage.
Illegal drugs may not completely escape public consumption, but their illegality severely cuts into the quantity of consumption. A ban won't stop everyone from smoking. I don't make that claim. I assert that a ban would stop a majority from developing smoking habits.
Counter 4 - Unnecessary Ban
While smoking has been declining, it's still prevalent among an immense populace. We can sit and wait for smoking's slow decline, allowing hundreds of thousands of annual deaths, or we can immediately cut smoking's toxic influence on society with a ban. Every life matters. Every life saved counts. A ban on smoking will help millions of people. Declining rates of murder doesn't make murder prohibition any less viable. Declining usage does not make usage give usage legitimacy. That's quack logic.
Conclusion - Why Smoking should be Banned!
Smoking is severely damaging to our economy, severely outweighing any economic benefits it might provide.
Encouraging smoking is a utilitarian immorality, costing us countless millions of lives.
Smoking destroys free will - enslaving a person's mind to nicotine addiction.
Smoking is a major health hazard.
A smoking ban will deter addiction and addiction incumbents. Less accessibility = less accessed. While this doesn't mean all smoking will be stopped, a lot of it will be. Every actual and potential smoking addict from now and in the future who are deterred from smoking is a life saved from unnecessary, premature death.
There is no point to sustaining an objectively useless and harmful habit. Humanity doesn't need smoking.
I'm extremely impressed by my opponent's quick and comprehensive rebuttal. I will attempt to rebut both his opening round and second round.
I don't contest that smoking causes major risks to health.
My opponent notes that from 2000 to 2004, health costs from cigarette smoking were estimated at $96 billion, and productivity losses were estimated at $193 billion. If we divide the costs by the number of years, there is a health care cost of $19 billion per year and a productivity loss of $39 billion. This combines to $58 billion. As I noted in my opening round, cigarette taxes alone bring in $48 billion per year, and the total economic impact of tobacco in the United States per year is roughly $64 billion. That equals $112 billion per year - or nearly twice as much as the $58 billion in damage cigarette smoking causes.
My opponent notes that nicotine is highly addictive, and that it is thus very hard to quit smoking. He finds that 70% of smokers would quit smoking if given the chance, and claims that "Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt". The former is true, but still leaves 30% of smokers who don't want to quit. Do they not have free will? The latter, however, is a misrepresentation of the source. My opponent's source says that "Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt without medicines or other help". According to my opponent's own source, however, 25% of medicine-assisted smoking attempts succeed. It is much easier to quit smoking than my opponent suggests, and this doesn't even account for cigar smokers, 3/4s of which smoke only occasionally.
He notes that second-hand smoke can cause damage, however second-hand smoke isn't really settled science. The Heartland Institute notes that "According to the EPA, the risk ratio for forty years of exposure to a pack-a-day smoker is just 1.19. Epidemiologists... dismiss as random ratios less than 1.3". Further, a study from the prestigious British Medical Journal examined 100,000 Californians from 1959 to 1997 and found that “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality... It is generally considered that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is roughly equivalent to smoking one cigarette per day. If so, a small increase in lung cancer is possible, but the commonly reported 30 percent increase in heart disease risk--the purported cause of almost all the deaths attributed to secondhand smoke -- is highly implausible". Putting that aside, secondhand smoke can easily be dealt with through better ventilation, and concerned landlords or business owners could always choose to ban smoking within their premises.
In essence, none of my opponent's opening arguments really hold water. Now, I will respond to his rebuttals of my opening statements:
I am somewhat confused by my opponent's argument here. He seems to be arguing that smoking a cigar isn't actually smoking. This is a bit silly given that the standard method of cigar smoking is not inhaling, and yet it is still called 'smoking', as well as that the term 'smoking' was never defined . Smoking can mean different things for different substances.
My opponent's other arguments are that some people inhale cigar smoke, and that cigar smoke can be worse for second-hand smoke. In regards to the first one, those people are morons - arguing that cigars should be banned because some people misuse them is akin to arguing alcohol should be banned because some people misuse it. In regards to the second, better ventilation would be an easy way to fix that issue.
Compared to the first round, my opponent's figures have significantly increased. Now, he says $289 billion is lost annually due to cigarettes. What gives? Well, that statistic comes from the CDC and is cited to the Surgeon General's Report " The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General". Assuming this number is correct, let's subtract tobacco-related economic loss from gain:
$112 (gain) - $289 billion (loss) = $177 billion loss
So, depending on which of his statistics you believe, a tobacco ban would result in there being something between a net loss of $54 billion or a net gain of $177 billion... or would it? My opponent is assuming a ban would reduce tobacco-related losses to zero, which would offset the loss of tax revenue. However, by his own statistics at least 30% of cigarette smokers (17.4 million) would keep smoking, as well as many smokers who are addicted. Let's assume that the ban offers medical treatment to those who are addicted. That would mean, as I demonstrated, roughly 25% of cigarette smokers (14.5 million) would successfully quit. That still leaves 43.5 smokers who are addicted. Taking the $289 billion figure, if we multiply it by .75 (the percentage of smokers still smoking), we get health costs down to $217 billion. However, tax revenues would drop to zero and farms would likely drop to zero as well (as tobacco farming would have to be illegal for a ban to work), which is a loss of $122 billion. Doing the math:
$0 (tobacco-related economic gain) - $217 billion (loss) = $217 billion loss
That means a ban would result in a greater economic loss, not a lower one.
My opponent argues that the lives of tobacco farmers do not matter, because people die of smoking diseases. However, the number of tobacco employees (660,000) is greater than the number of smoking-related deaths (443,000). Moreover, smoking kills people later in life - smoking takes an average of ten years off of a life, and the average life expectancy is 79 years. So the average smoker will live 69 years. The average retirement age is 62 years, so by that point the average smoker will have been retired for nearly a decade. The financial obligations they have will be minimal. In contrast, given the current average US household size of 2.54, the amount of people directly impacted by these jobs is nearly 1.68 million. That is more than triple the number of tobacco-related deaths - a ban would harm these people, and would not help the smokers who are already going to die.
Deaths are not good
My opponent argues deaths are not good for the economy, because live workers are better than dead ones. However, as I noted above, the average death age of a cigarette smoker is 69, well after the average retirement age of 62. This means most cigarette smokers are retirees. From a strictly utilitarian standpoint, this is good for the government and businesses, as they have to pay less in retirement benefits or pensions.
My opponent next targets utilitarianism, arguing slavery or organ harvesting would be good ways to earn money. They would, but deciding whether or not to legalize something is far different than deciding whether or not to ban something. Unlike slavery, you have the choice to smoke or not; unlike organ harvesting, smoking is legal. My opponent also incorrectly claims that "Sure the U.S. government earns some money from this area, but the majority of the money remains in the pockets of the tobacco company". In reality, the government makes $3.80 off of a pack of cigarettes - that's 60% of the cost and six times as much as the cigarette company makes.
Too many smokers
My opponent mostly dismisses this point, arguing it doesn't need to be entirely effective. This is a terrible argument. If a smoking ban does not stop smoking, why enact it? Even if just 15% of smokers keep smoking, that's still over 11 million, and that would be very unlikely as that is less than the number of marijuana smokers (19 million). This is more than enough to support an illicit drug trade that requires significant federal resources to suppress. Do you really want that money going to Mexican drug cartels?
My opponent's argument here is very odd. He notes advertising will end, although there is no reason it could not be banned outside of a total ban). He notes the US 800 million pounds of tobacco - far more than any illegal drug. How does this help his case? It shows how impossible to enforce a ban would be. That's a lot of tobacco!
Ban not needed
My opponent argues even though it won't stop smoking, a ban is important to save lives. However, as I've noted above, over 1.6 million Americans would be harmed by a ban, as would the millions of willing smokers and cigar smokers. His arguments are pretty much the exact same ones prohibitionists made, and their bans failed, just like his would. It would be a tremendous waste of time and money for federal officers to enforce such a petty ban.
With rebuttals done (and no room to spare!), I turn the debate back to Pro.
Thank you TN05.
Addiction Destroys Free Will:
"25% of medicine-assisted smoking attempts succeed"
This statistic doesn't refute the fact that smoking is extremely difficult to quit even to those who want to quit.
That 75% cannot quit even with medicinal assistance is still a legitimate statistic. That an overwhleming majority of attempts to quit without medicine (93-96%) is still very relevant. The increased but still minority success rate of including medicinal assistance is clear evidence of the powerful imposition that smoking has against free will.
These statistics show a widely recurring trend of attempted quitters being compelled to smoke against their own will. As these statistics show, it is incredibly difficult to counteract this condition of psychological slavery, even with medicine.
Again, there is no free will in having your brain be controlled by artificially-induced impulses. Addiction destroys free will.
Again, smoking addiction is a form of psychological slavery. To condone something which so heavily impinges on this freedom is to undermine our nation's values.
"If [..] exposure of environmental tobacco smoke is roughly equivalent to smoking one cigarette per day[, then] a small increase in lung cancer is possible."
My opponent's study not oesn't prove the former part of this proposition, it grudingly admits that secondhand smoke as a cause to lung cancer. This source then goes on to say that the statistical causation between heart disease and second-hand smoking are implausible. Since heart disease is not lung cancer, this study provides us with a misleading juxtaposition meant to
subconsciously trick the reader into drawing a similar conclusion on the incidence of secondhand smoke to lung cancer.
Furthermore, all attempts to actually find and access the actual study have been elusively unsuccessful. I assert that this source is dishonest and does not effectively provide any real source of refutation.
Statistics clearly emphasize that those live or are in constant exposure to smoking environments have a ~20% higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who do not. Regardless of arbitrative studies on causality, most studies clearly denote secondhand smoking's causal correlation to lung cancer.
My opponent then goes on to suggest better ventilation as a solution to second-hand smoking. That's like saying everyone living in a community with higher incidents of gun mortalities should wear bulletproof vests. What qualifies as better ventilation? How will the government go about enforcing an installation of ventilation in every single smoking household? Secondhand smoking is a symptom to the disease of smoking with ventilation a vague solution to this particular symptom. Removing smoking is the cure to the disease. A ban on smoking is infinitely more plausible than enforcing better ventilation.
I don't know what my opponent is trying to show here, but clearly the profit derived from the smoking industry isn't anywhere near the $289 billion of calculated loss. Even if we accept that the majority of tax dollars go to the government, we're left with a $112 billion total overall profit, our end result is, as my opponent's calculated for us, a $177 billion dollar loss as a pre-ban value.
My opponent's refutation then applies the number of people who are currently unable to quit via medicinal help (75%) to the number of losses. However, this 75% applies to smokers living in our current pre-ban society. Again, the U.S. produces nearly 800 million pounds of tobacco because tobacco is legal and in general circulation. If we ban tobacco production, illegal production will drop to only a tiny fraction of legal production. Even the most popular illegal drug, marijuana, has a production rate of less than 3% of tobacco,even considering the fact that marijuana is widely used in the medical field. I assert that a ban on tobacco production and sales will drop the production and use of tobacco to well below even that of marijuana. No matter how many addicts are unwilling to quit (a mere 30% as compared to the 70% who do want to quit), severely limited accessibility will prompt most, even among the unwilling, to stop smoking.
Again, I don't claim a ban will stop all from smoking, but I do claim that it will stop most from smoking since that is what willlikely happen. I further assert that even if a ban doesn't stop some people from smoking, it'll deter habitual smoking at the very least for a number of these lawless stragglers since constant and consistent accessibility will be severely ruined by a comprehensive ban.
So applying the 75% of people from a pre-ban period to a post-ban hypothetical statistic is a wildly incorrect and inaccurate manipulation of numbers.
In order for the net loss of $177 billion to be mitigated, a ban merely needs to deter 39% of smokers from smoking (.61 * 289 = 177).
And since a majority do want to quit (70%), I assert that the net loss would be at the very most $89 billion(.3 * $289 billion), which is significantly less than the net annual loss of $177 billion that we currently have.
In terms of the economy, a ban would be more beneficial than not.
I win the cost argument.
Destroying slavery put slave-traders out of business. This case is no different. The existence of an occupation is irrelevant to whether or not we should sustain the occupation, which is circular logic anyway.
If a business model profitably encourages murder, rape or torture in its vicinity, should we allow it to do so? Smoking isn't as bad, but the point is, profitability is ultimately irrelevant to whether or not the item under discussion should be allowed.
Also, cross apply my refutation to Tobacco Farmers.
Arguing that cigars can be used in a way that is less detrimental to health is akin to arguing that guns can be used in self defense. While both are true, what ultimately matters is prevalence of misuse. Since cigars' shape and form are the exact same as those of cigarettes, it is very likely that those who do smoke cigars smoke it like they do cigarettes. Ultimately to smoke a cigar, the smoker holds it in his mouth in the same way as he would do with a cigarette. Even if he's not explicitly inhaling the smoke, he still has tobreathe. Thus, whether or not the smoker thinks he's not inhaling, he is.
My opponent claims that smoking cigars 'correctly' is healthier than smoking cigarettes. I find this assertion ludicrous. Even if true, my opponent doesn't give us any real quantitative measures as to how much better it is than cigarettes. I assert that they are about the same save for the fact that since cigars are part chewing tobacco, they will badly stain teeth.
My opponent seems to agree that cigarettes are bad and, unless I'm mistaken, seem to support banning cigarettes but keeping cigars. However, this debate pertains to both.If given an option to ban both or keep both, I think my opponent will agree that banning both is better than keeping both.
Cross apply my earlier refutations to my opponent's secondhand smoke study here.
The purpose as a ban is ultimately to deter habit and incumbence rate. A legal deterrent goes a long way. Again, banning the substance would probably drop production to below quotas of even marijuana. I assert that a smoking habit would me much more difficult to sustain if illegal. Decreased access = decreased usage.
This contention fails.
TN05 - "Even if just 15% of smokers keep smoking"
If only 15% of the current population of smokers keep smoking, the ban, a deterrent for those who might have started smoking and a deterrent to those currently smoking, will have saved us from $(177 - (.15 * 289)) or $133.65 billion in addition to a corresponding proportion of lives. Over time, a ban on smoking will make smoking as obsolete as heroin and crystal meth, which is to say, some illegal access will always be there, but what matters is that we stop a lot of people from dying. That counts for something doesn't it?
Ultimately, I believe the huge proportion of preventable deaths prevented are much more significant than my opponent's 15% complaint.
Cross apply this to unneeded ban.
Deaths are Good
My opponent basically argues that the economy would be better off if the current nearly 100 million U.S. smokers keep smoking (which I've shown to be false), and that these same smokers should die for this same economy. From a utilitarian point of view, encouraging these people to smoke, even if they are no longer necessarily productive to the economy, is immoral both in its taking lives (removing the potential for more happiness) and its adverse affects on health (which directly impinge upon happiness by causing suffering).
My opponent's premise here basically further assumes that we should encourage mass production and sustenance of killing via smoking since it's better for the economy. This premise also violates virtue ethics. From all perspecitives, this argument fails.
-Smoking is an agent of death (conceded). My opponent's refutation to the impact with regard to this contention show an astounding devaluation of human lives, violating most, if not all, ethical systems' values.
-I've also shown that a smoking ban will likely be more economically beneficial than not, negating my opponent's cost argument. Further, my opponent does not dispute that his economic valuations do not necessarily support whether or not we ought to keep smoking legal. So even if my opponent's arguments win out here (they do not), the immorality of encouraging smoking is sufficient to affirming the resolution.
-Smoking violates free will
My opponent's musings on Tobacco Farmers and businesses are insignificant (and effectively refuted) when weighed against more practical (economic) and ethical (free-will, utilitarian & virtue ethics, etc.) considerations
I believe I've effectively refuted most if not all of my opponent's points.
Thank you TN05 for a stimulating debate, and thank you readers for reading.
I'd like to begin my final round by thanking my opponent for an excellent debate. I'll be very interested to see how the voters rule.
My opponent cedes that the 25% figure I gave is true, but argues a 75% failure rate is still significant. He also argues that the low success rate without medicine is significant as well. I think he's missing the big picture here: my initial complaint with that statistic was that it was deceptively edited to make it appear worse. And, when my opponent says that "it is incredibly difficult to counteract this condition... even with medicine", this hurts his case - not mine. After all, if the best success rate is 25%, how can we say a smoking ban will stop smoking? If someone is addicted to something, they will go out and get it. Also, my opponent does not contest that 3/4s of cigar smokers who only smoke occasionally - these people clearly aren't addicted, so the free will argument cannot possibly apply to them.
With this argument, my opponent ignores the first portion I noted (that by EPA standards the risk ratio for forty years of exposure to a pack-a-day smoker is 1.19, and that anything below a 1.3 is random); I assume, then, that he cedes this point. Instead, he notes only a small part of my quote and argues I "begrudgingly accept secondhand smoke as a cause to lung cancer". I'd like to repeat the entire quote:
"The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality... It is generally considered that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is roughly equivalent to smoking one cigarette per day. If so, a small increase in lung cancer is possible, but the commonly reported 30 percent increase in heart disease risk--the purported cause of almost all the deaths attributed to secondhand smoke -- is highly implausible"
I assume my opponent cedes the bolded points, as he did not respond to them. He instead focuses on the middle portion, which says that environmental tobacco smoke is roughly equal to one single cigarette a day, so it is possible that lung cancer risk could increase slightly. This is silly. One cigarette worth of smoke a day is minuscule.
My opponent also argues it is impossible to find the source; I disagree. Here is the direct link to the study. It can easily be found with just a small bit of research. In contrast to this study, my opponent claims that "Statistics clearly emphasize that those live or are in constant exposure to smoking environments have a ~20% higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who do not. Regardless of arbitrative studies on causality, most studies clearly denote secondhand smoking's causal correlation to lung cancer". He doesn't cite this in the final round, but this claim apparently comes from DDO's own "Smoking Ban" big-issue page. On that page, the claim is there, but is not supported by any citations. He has not given any other citations to support this claim. Who do you trust more - Debate.org, or a decades-long comprehensive study of 100,000 Californians that was peer-reviewed and published in the British Medical Journal?
In regards to ventilation, my opponent questions how such standards could be achieved or enforced. There are many ways to improve ventilation, from adding filters to just improving airflow. Some cigar bars have attempted to prevent smoke from even exiting the building - for instance, an attempt was made to open a smoking bar in Washington state, and the bar would have included a "twenty-five foot airlocked walkway".
My opponent attempts to refute my analysis that the economy would be negatively impacted by banning smoking. He argues that "My opponent's refutation then applies the number of people who are currently unable to quit via medicinal help (75%) to the number of losses. However, this 75% applies to smokers living in our current pre-ban society. Again, the U.S. produces nearly 800 million pounds of tobacco because tobacco is legal and in general circulation. If we ban tobacco production, illegal production will drop to only a tiny fraction of legal production". This is silly. As my opponent says, there over 800 million pounds of tobacco grown in the US annually. How exactly would we get rid of this tobacco? My opponent has not presented a solution, so I assume he cedes this point.
My opponent also asserts that a smoking ban would stop most people from smoking. He argues that "a ban on tobacco production and sales will drop the production and use of tobacco to well below even that of marijuana. No matter how many addicts are unwilling to quit ... severely limited accessibility will prompt most, even among the unwilling, to stop smoking". As I have noted in earlier rounds, about 17 million Americans smoke cigars, and marijuana smokers number around 19 million. Cigarette smokers number around 58 million. I am baffled as to why my opponent keeps hammering on the production costs, given that marijuana - which only grows 3% of the crop of tobacco, as he notes - is very popular and limited accessibility has not stopped people from smoking it. How will tobacco - which has a far larger supply and is addictive - fall below marijuana? He's essentially arguing that at least 56 million people will stop smoking after the ban begins. That is impossible given the addictiveness, the 30% of people who don't want to stop smoking (17.8 million people) and the cigar smokers (17 million people), who smoke only occasionally. The figure I gave of smoking figures immediately dropping from 75 million to 48 million is actually optimistic - it assumes the smokers will be given medical help and that cigar smokers will stop smoking at the same rate as cigarette smokers.
My opponent makes his own guess regarding economic numbers, arguing 70% of smokers will quit and the net loss will reduce from $177 billion to $89 billion. This actually flies in the face of his previous argument - if it is difficult to stop smoking, how will everyone stop smoking? Even more, he's essentially arguing that, just in order to break even, 39% of all smokers (cigar and cigarette) will need to stop smoking immediately. That's a very high bar to clear given my opponent's repeated claims that only 3% of non-medicine aided attempts to stop are successful.
Tobacco farmers and business
My opponent drops his argument that smoking causes workers to die early; this is not surprising, given I pointed out the average death from smoking is well after retirement. He has effectively ceded this. He also has not even responded to my claim that a ban on tobacco production would negatively impact 1.68 million people - far more than the 660,000 who die from smoking diseases, most of whom would die regardless of a ban. He callously compares tobacco farmers (many of which are black people) to slave-traders. I find it odd that my opponent has criticized my utilitarian stance in this debate, that the stance he takes here is utilitarian - that (in his view) more people are harmed by smoking than helped by jobs, and thus it is OK to destroy their jobs.
My opponent has ceded the claim that cigars don't count as smoking. Instead, my opponent argues that cigar smokers necessarily inhale cigar smoke, and that smoking cigars isn't any healthier than cigarettes. Oddly, he also claims I support a smoking ban (I don't). The first two claims are wrong; the first (inhaling environmental cigar smoke) is essentially secondhand smoke, which I disproved earlier. To the second, cigar smoking is obviously less dangerous because the smoke is not directly inhaled, and because typical cigar consumption is less frequent - both of which I have supported through sources.
Rather than directly refute my claims, my opponent argues that even if the ban isn't effective, we should still pass it because it makes access more difficult. Unfortunately this does not address my key points on this topic, none of which have even been responded to by my opponent:
*Unlike illegal drugs, cigarettes have a centralized multinational industry producing them.
*That government's inability to ban less common substances does not bode well for a smoking ban.
*That the remaining smokers would turn to illegal drug traders for cigarettes.
*That a ban would require significant federal time and resources to enforce.
I assume he has ceded all of these points.
Deaths are good
Once again, my opponent does not respond to my claims. He has ceded that smokers are, on average, above retirement age as he has not responded to it. This demolishes his claim that smoking deaths harm the economy by removing workers. Contrary to what he says, I am not encouraging people to smoke (I said "If you value your life, don't smoke" in the opening round), nor do I want people to die from smoking. My argument is simply that smokers die earlier and that leaves more healthcare and retirement money for people who don't make stupid life decisions. Smoking being legal isn't encouraging it - rather, current government policies strongly discourage smoking. Just because something is legal does not mean it is encouraged.
In conclusion, my opponent's case simply doesn't hold up. His advocated smoking ban would violate the right of people to smoke, unfairly burden business, unfairly punish cigar smokers, severely damage the lives of around 1.6 million people impacted by the tobacco industry, and cost the economy money, as well as waste significant amounts of time and money for federal agents. My opponent, in contrast, can only claim that maybe we could break even economically, and that there is no issue with hurting those who work in or rely on the tobacco industry. In short, as I have fulfilled my burden of proof while refuting my opponent, a vote for Con is warranted.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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