Thank you to Tajshar2k for accepting this debate. This should be fun.
My case here is quite simply. First, an intro to ethics that will frame why the reader should care about this topic. I will then demonstrate the harm of smoking, and demonstrate how smoking bans address these harms.
An Intro To Ethics:
Ethics delves into what ought to be rather than what is. Henry Sidgwick rightly points out a typical flaw made when determining what ought to be done. “we frequently prescribe that this or that `ought' to be done or aimed at without any express reference to an ulterior end,” (1) As John Stuart Mill says “All action is for the sake of some end.” In order to determine what we ought do we must observe what the results will be from that action. What ends are produced? “all the rules of conduct which men prescribe to one another as moral rules are really---though in part unconsciously---prescribed as a means to the general happiness of mankind,” Henry Sidgwick (2) Any moral code is a means to an end. Thus to affirm the resolution that society ought to implement or maintain a smoking ban I need to show that by doing so the general happiness of mankind is produced or preserved.
“Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including an estimated 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.” (3)
“If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.” (3)
“Those who live in homes with smokers have a 20-30 percent higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who do not live with a smoker. Many see it as unfair that others have to suffer the effects of secondhand smoke when they are not able to make the decision for exposur to it. Non-smokers who worked with smokers experienced a 16-19 percent increase in lung cancer rates. In this case, the worker had no choice but to face exposure to the smoke.” (4)
It is evident that smoking as well as secondhand smoke is detrimental to health.
“Smoking bans remove these risks for many people. The National Cancer Institute, Surgeon General of the United States and National Institutes of Health all support smoking bans because of the statistics of second-hand smoke.”(4)
Con’s arguments are separated into four sections, I will address each in turn.
Con brings the principle of Personal Liberty into the mix. He states that “This principle is the Harm Principle, which is what I propose. The Harm Principle proposed by John Stuart Mill states that "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
I accept the harm principle and will demonstrate how it supports a smoking ban. I demonstrated last round that 1 in 5 deaths in America are the result of cigarette smoking. More relevant, this stat includes “an estimated 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.” This means that roughly 1 in 50 deaths that occur in the U.S. Annually are the result of secondhand smoke. Clearly smoking has a demonstrable, harmful, deadly effect on others. Applying the harm principle then justifies a smoking ban.
Harmful effects on jobs and the economy:
Essentially Con argues against smoking bans by referencing the money made. Consider if you would the reality that by allowing harmful substances like tobacco to be legal, our society has monetized a human life. Profits are made and jobs created but society pays the ultimate price in life’s lost. Remember these lives that are being liquidated for the tobacco industry include some 41,000 deaths per year from second hand smoke. A smoking ban would negate or at least mitigate the damage done to society in this way. I leave this contention with a few questions. What good is a job if you are not alive or healthy enough to work? What good is a wealthy society void of justice that allows 41,000 people to be killed by others annually? What price is my opponent willing to accept in exchange for thousands of innocent lives lost? Consider this contention mitigated.
A ban would likely not succeed in reducing smoking
Con argues that a ban provides “no guarantee” of the injustice of smoking. While this is perhaps true. No law eliminates law breakers, it does however arm the people with the ability to hold trespassers of the law accountable by law. As it is, 41,000 people a year die as the result of another’s action with no means to hold those responsible accountable.
We also know that a ban would discourage and diminish the amount of people who do smoke and the harm. Consider what I provided in my opening argument. “Smoking bans remove these risks for many people. The National Cancer Institute, Surgeon General of the United States and National Institutes of Health all support smoking bans because of the statistics of second-hand smoke.”(4th source round 2)
A Ban likely does reduce smoking, and in the cases it doesn’t, allows justice to be served to those who are harming others.
A rise in gangs
considering the dangers of gangs, this sounds like an interesting argument from con. Though I doubt the dangers of gangs compare to the 1 in 5 who die from cigarette smoke. Perhaps con could substantiate this contention by somehow demonstrating the harm compared to the harms of smoking.
The only argument not refuted outright at this point is the contention of the rise of gangs. Though, this argument is not fully thought out or presented. Until con presents a clear demonstration of the harms, it remains that the harm of smoking outweighs the harm of gangs. We see that a smoking ban is just.