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

Smoking Ban

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 789 times Debate No: 68527
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)





So, snowbunny approached me interested in having a debate, and we settled on this topic. I think that this should be a fun debate, and I look forward to it :)

Each debater has 9,000 characters with which to make their case. There is also a 48 hour response period.

Full Topic

That, in the United States, recreational tobacco products should be banned.


1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling or semantics
6. Pro will offer a generic means of implementing the ban; such a means can be gradual, so that the ban will come into effect over a series of years
7. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss


R1. Acceptance
R2. Pro's Constructive Case, Con's Constructive Case
R3. Pro rebuts Con's Case, Con rebuts Pro's Case
R4. Pro defends Pro's Case and Crystallizes, Con defends Con's Case and Crystallizes

Thanks... advance to Snowbunny; I am sure will be an intriguing and fun debate.


I accept this debate. I hope we have a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks once again to Snowbunny for this debate! I would like to take this chance to restate that the response time for this debate is a shortened 48 hours, instead of the usual 72 hours.


The question were are considering is simple and straightforward: should the government prohibit the use of recreational tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chew. Ultimately, a government's core obligation is to the welfare of its people; the whole purpose of laws that restrict the consumption of dangerous drugs is that these laws have public utility. Consider the potential harms that drugs pose to individuals, and then consider if they were more widely available. It would pose a significant public health risk to the country.

I will assert that if the benefits of a smoking ban outweigh the harms, then, as has been done with other substances, tobacco products should be restricted and prohibited. Any such ban should be phased in gradually, for reasons I will address later, but the ban should nonetheless go forward.


P1. Health Risks to Smokers

"Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia...Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in an artery in the chest), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), asthma, hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections...A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low birth weight. A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)...Men who smoke are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction." [1]

There are also less severe, but still harmful, health effects of smoking. "'One of the chief and significant causes of premature aging of the face is smoking'...Skin changes, like leathery skin and deep wrinkling, are more likely in people who are regular smokers. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, smoking leads to biochemical changes in the body that speed the aging process. For example, smoking deprives the living skin tissue of oxygen by causing constriction of the blood vessels. As a result, blood doesn't get to your organs as easily, and that includes the skin. Another classic smoker giveaway is tar staining of the hands and skin from holding cigarettes." [2] Additionally, "smoking increases the chances of impotence dramatically for men by affecting blood vessels, including those that must dilate in order for an erection to occur." [2]

Loss of breath is another common side-effect. "Many smokers report a diminished ability over time to comfortably do things as simple as climbing a set of stairs or enjoying sports activities they once easily took part in such as volleyball or jogging." [2] Smoking increases our susceptibility to minor illnesses like the cold and the flu as well. "Tiny hairs called cilia that line the respiratory tract, including the trachea and bronchial tubes, are designed to protect us from infection...One of the toxic effects of cigarette smoke is that it paralyzes the cilia, thereby destroying this core protective mechanism." [2]

Just by quitting smoking, one can greatly increase one's life expectancy and expected quality of life. A person who quits at 30, for instance, reduce their chance of premature death due to tobacco use by 90%. Similarly, quitting at age 50 can reduce that chance by around 50%. [1]

P2. Economic Costs to Smokers

"[T]he average cost is about $5 per pack, and in some states it can be as high as $10 per pack, including federal and state taxes." [2] For users who are addicted, this is an ongoing, chronic, involuntary expense that becomes as essential as buying food. For poor families, a addiction to cigarettes can present a huge problem, one that might entail trade-offs between necessities or lead to crime in order to fund the addiction.

"Coupled with this enormous health toll is the significant economic burden of tobacco use—more than $96 billion a year in medical costs and another $97 billion a year from lost productivity." [3]

P3. Health Risks to Non-smokers

"The harmful effects of smoking do not end with the smoker. An estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54% of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be dangerous because nonsmokers inhale many of the same poisons in cigarette smoke as smokers." [3]

"Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults...Approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke...The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent...Exposure to secondhand smoke may increase the risk of heart disease by an estimated 25 to 30 percent...Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of having a baby with low birth weight...Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of SIDS, ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Being exposed to secondhand smoke slows the growth of children’s lungs and can cause them to cough, wheeze, and feel breathless." [1]

"Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, more than 46,000 die of heart disease, and about 150,000–300,000 children younger than 18 months have lower respiratory tract infections." [3] "Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause 50,000 deaths every year. It's no wonder: More than 4,500 separate chemicals are found in a puff of tobacco smoke, and more than 40 of those are known carcinogens." [2]


The ultimate, harmful impacts of tobacco are clear. They increase risks for illnesses at all levels of severity, and, even if used as directed, they lead to death and disease. "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. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke." [3]


I would phase in a tobacco prohibition over a 25 year period. Years 1-5 I would allow sales of tobacco to people over 21, and allow tobacco companies begin to shut down production and prepare for the ban. Years 6-15 I would allow sales of tobacco to users who could demonstrate that they were clinically addicted to tobacco and needed to continue to purchase the product to avoid withdrawal. I would also subsidize programs to help people go through withdrawal, just to give those people an alternative to smoking. Sales to everyone else would cease, and hefty fines would be imposed on those found in possession of illegal tobacco products. After five fines, a 6 month jail sentence could be levied. Years 16-20 would see the continuation of tobacco sale to the already addicted as well as the subsidization of withdrawal programs. The number of fines before a jail sentence would be reduces to three, and only select pharmacies would be authorized to sell tobacco--it could no longer be sold at grocery or convenience stores. Years 21-25 would see the discontinuation of all sales. Ideally, subsidized programs to reduce addiction would be continued well past that time frame. I would have tobacco then classified as a Schedule III Substance, with all the incumbent rules and penalties for possessing such a substance fully imposed. [4]


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Thanks! And with that, I turn the floor over to Con...


snowbunny forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I would ask judges to give Con one more chance to post.


I just want to apologize again for round two.

"Ultimately, a government's core obligation is to the welfare of its people" Their job is to also protect the freedoms and rights of its people.

My opponent, it, arguing that because smoking can be dangerous to the smokers it should be banned. Yes, it can be dangerous, but it should not be banned. People should be taught about the risks, but banning it won't make everyone stop. The people should be able to make the choices that they want to do.

My opponent also brought up the idea that if tobacco products are banned that basically the spending would go down. Yes, some people will stop buying which will cause it to go down, but not everyone will stop. They will find a way to buy or make it even if it's banned, like during the prohibition of alcohol.

They said in their implementation they said "Years 6-15 I would allow sales of tobacco to users who could demonstrate that they were clinically addicted to tobacco and needed to continue to purchase the product to avoid withdrawal." How would they be able to prove they are clinically addicted. They also said "I would also subsidize programs to help people go through withdrawal, just give those people an alternative to smoking." What sort of alternatives would give to the people?

The war on smoking is almost as useless as the war on marijuana, except it's not as ridiculous. My opponent wants to ban smoking, and if we do that history will repeat itself. Even though states are starting to legalize marijuana, its still illegal in a lot of states. The ban has not stopped people from smoking it. There was the prohibition which later failed.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks to Snowbunny!

Con agrees that part of a government's job is to protect the welfare of its people. Con also concedes that smoking is dangerous both firsthand and secondhand (Con fails to rebut most of my arguments about the dangers of smoke).

Con's argument basically comes down to one point: that any prohibition on smoking could not be enforced. The closest comparison that we have to tobacco products seems to be marijuana, which Con even discusses himself. Marijuana bans have been effective at stymying and reducing the use of marijuana.

States with the highest rate of consumption of marijuana are States that have legalized the practice. [1, 2] This seems to indicate that laws do have a suppressant effect on the use of marijuana in a give region. Moreover, the popularity of marijuana stems from the belief that it is a safe drug to consume, making people less concerned about purchasing it. Tobacco is not, however, seen in such a light, so it is unlikely that the general populous will be as eager to acquire marijuana as tobacco. This would make enforcing a tobacco ban easier, and likely make the ban more effective.

So, empirically, we see that similar drug bans do help stave off consumption of illicit drugs. If even a small chunk of people can be deterred from consuming the product, the U.S. will have met its core obligation of promoting the general welfare.

Furthermore, Con offers one brief argument about choice. It is important to note that secondhand smoke victims are unjustifiably injured. They chose not to smoke, but yet were harmed through no fault of their own by the choices of others. To protect their freedoms and rights, smoking should be curtailed.

Vote Pro. Thanks.


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(Con fails to rebut most of my arguments about the dangers of smoke). There's nothing to argue. Many things are dangerous, but are not banned. Alcohol is dangerous. Furniture can be dangerous.

Pro basically says that because marijuana has reduced some of the use of it that it will do the same with tobacco products. That is false. It will only push the products underground and into the black market. Tobacco is really addictive and if people are kept away from their addiction, they can show the signs of being clinically addicted and sometimes be aggressive.

Smoking should not be banned, it should be controlled in the public. Places like restaurants and bars should be able to chose to be smoke free or not. In public, government funded places it should be smoke free, but even then it's a hard thing to enforce.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 3 years ago
Conduct- Pro, FF. Arguments- Pro argues the economic costs and health risk, not only to smokers, but non-smokers as well. Con's rebuttals were pretty weak- that enforcing a ban would be improbable and difficult. Also, he concedes the point of health risks, feebly arguing that people should be given a choice, after education. This point could have been more hevaily sourced- freedom of choice, and maybe he'd have stood a better chance at winning the debate. Pro sums up everything with the conclusion that while some may illegally smoke still- the U.S. would have met its core obligation of promoting the general welfare of the population. Thus arguments to pro.

Hints to Con for future reference:
You did well for going up against bsh, but you could've used more content. Some possible things you could've brought up:
-The profitability of the smoking industry
-Freedom of choice (you brought this up, but you could've gone deeper into it... philosophical arguments would've helped a lot.)
-Maybe even run Zaradi's suffering argument :P (jk no!)
-Your point on withdrawals could've been more reliably sourced and gone into deeper.

You had a large character limit- use it to your advantage next time. :)

Good job to both of you!
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
Okie dokie.
Posted by snowbunny 3 years ago
I just got sick recently, and I just want to apologise in advance if I don't post an argument in time
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
Just reminding Pro that they have about 6 hours to post arguments.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ESocialBookworm 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Eff this. RFD in comments because these tiny box can't hold shiz.