The Instigator
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
Volkov
Pro (for)
Losing
30 Points

Smoking-Please read on for the full resolution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,459 times Debate No: 7960
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (10)

 

rougeagent21

Con

Resolved: In the United States, smoking ought to be legal everywhere open to the public.

I would like to define the following terms:

Smoking- To draw in and exhale smoke from a cigarette, cigar, or pipe

Legal- permitted by law; lawful (The US law)

"open to the public"- an area or place that is open and accessible to all citizens, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level

As my opponent is affirmative, I will allow him/her to open. Good luck, and I look forward to a good debate.
Volkov

Pro

I thank my esteemed colleague for this interesting topic, and I hope that my first debate will go well.

Whether it is to protest, dine, debate or just to live out our lives, all citizens have a right to do anything within the law on public property. So why should cigarette smoking be banned on this same property?

I will make my argument based on three principles: legality, property and economy. With these principles I hope to convince you that this ban is wrong in many, many ways.

In the US, smoking bans are determined by the state and municipal governments. As it currently stands, 35 states have bans in place to varying degrees, while the remaining 15 - Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia - do not have any bans in place at all. These states realize that a ban will not only infringe on a person's personal rights, but the rights of business and property owners.

Nicotine is not an illegal substance, therefore it is not illegal to smoke it in public. All Americans are entitled to do anything they wish within the law on public property. This is an indivisible aspect of American democracy and a ban on smoking in public would be in direct contradiction to this.

Public property belongs to all Americans and the government has no right to come down on one group to please another. Americans enjoy the fact that they are allowed to hold public protests and demonstrations against what they are in opposition to. A ban on smoking will be the first step in stripping away this right. This is not what the Constitution was written up for.

As well, the government has no right to enforce a ban on smoking on private property. Business owners have property rights just the same as any American citizen, and the government does not have a right to enforce a ban on a legal substance within private confines.

Enforcing the ban on businesses will hurt their revenue. Hospitality businesses in the states with enforced bans have seen a decrease of business since the ban was instituted, leading to lawsuits by several companies in states ranging from Nevada to New York.

It has been noted by studies that a ban hurts businesses that rely on low to middle-class customers for the majority of their business. Upscale businesses find themselves content with the ban and no one will challenge their right to enforce their own ban on smoking on their own property. But the government has no right to enforce it on all businesses, causing them to lose untold amounts of revenue. One such business was 4-B's Restaurant in Missoula, Montana, where the owner reported a six-figure loss. The government has yet to reimburse him for this lost income.

So I ask you friend, what part of the smoking ban is to the benefit of Americans? What part of the smoking ban is legal under the laws of the United States? When will the government reimburse businesses for their lost income - if they ever do?

I await your response.
Debate Round No. 1
rougeagent21

Con

Well thank you for your praise, and I also wish for an enjoyable debate. I will first go over my opponent's case, and then move on to construct my own.

"Whether it is to protest, dine, debate or just to live out our lives, all citizens have a right to do anything within the law on public property. "

Ah, but this is simply not true. There are many things that one is allowed to do on their own private property, that they are not allowed to do in public. One such act is going nude. It will not let me copy-paste the article, so please read the first portion of this link.
http://gocalifornia.about.com...
As we can see, you are allowed to go nude on your private property, but not in public. This is but one example of something legal in private, but illegal in public.

"In the US, smoking bans are determined by the state and municipal governments. As it currently stands, 35 states have bans in place to varying degrees, while the remaining 15 - Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia - do not have any bans in place at all. "

This is true.

"These states realize that a ban will not only infringe on a person's personal rights, but the rights of business and property owners."

A common misconception. I will address this in full during my constructive arguments.

"Nicotine is not an illegal substance, therefore it is not illegal to smoke it in public. All Americans are entitled to do anything they wish within the law on public property. This is an indivisible aspect of American democracy and a ban on smoking in public would be in direct contradiction to this."

I have already addressed this. Just because something is legal on private property, does not make it legal in public. I will show in my constructive that smoking should be against the law in public.

"Public property belongs to all Americans and the government has no right to come down on one group to please another. Americans enjoy the fact that they are allowed to hold public protests and demonstrations against what they are in opposition to. A ban on smoking will be the first step in stripping away this right. This is not what the Constitution was written up for."

If a smoking ban were to be put into effect, it would actually help to protect rights. Multiple studies have shown that second-hand smoke is extremely dangerous, and actually kills more people than smoking kills smokers. (Again, this will all be supported in my constructive.)

"As well, the government has no right to enforce a ban on smoking on private property. Business owners have property rights just the same as any American citizen, and the government does not have a right to enforce a ban on a legal substance within private confines."

Of course not. I am not advocating this. Please stick to the resolution.

"Enforcing the ban on businesses will hurt their revenue. Hospitality businesses in the states with enforced bans have seen a decrease of business since the ban was instituted, leading to lawsuits by several companies in states ranging from Nevada to New York."

May I ask who filed the suits? Also please provide sources so I can read into it more.

"It has been noted by studies that a ban hurts businesses that rely on low to middle-class customers for the majority of their business. Upscale businesses find themselves content with the ban and no one will challenge their right to enforce their own ban on smoking on their own property. But the government has no right to enforce it on all businesses, causing them to lose untold amounts of revenue. One such business was 4-B's Restaurant in Missoula, Montana, where the owner reported a six-figure loss. The government has yet to reimburse him for this lost income."

Well, since you bring up the constitution so much, I will too. Where in the constitution does it say that the government will reimburse businesses that have lost money? Again, please show me your sources.

"So I ask you friend, what part of the smoking ban is to the benefit of Americans?"
It protects people's health and rights.

"What part of the smoking ban is legal under the laws of the United States?"
Laws are put in place to protect the citizens. If banning smoking protects the citizens, then it should be banned.

"When will the government reimburse businesses for their lost income - if they ever do?"
I didn't know the government had that obligation. Please show me where the constitution says it will do that.

"I await your response."
Here I go.

Contention 1- Smoking infringes on people's rights

Today most people have heard the statement "secondhand smoke kills." But in society's increasing awareness of the health dangers of tobacco, of the lies manufactured by the tobacco industry, and of an emerging body of law supporting smokefree policies, it is not enough to simply state "secondhand smoke kills" without knowing how secondhand smoke is a health danger, whom it affects, where exposure is the most serious, and what can be done to stop it.

Throughout the years, the science of secondhand smoke has driven the secondhand smoke policy engine from separate smoking and nonsmoking sections to separately ventilated smoking rooms to 100% smokefree environments. We now know that 53,800 people die every year from secondhand smoke exposure. This number is based on the midpoint numbers for heart disease deaths (48,500), lung cancer deaths (3,000), and SIDS deaths (2,300) as calculated in the 1997 California EPA Report on Secondhand Smoke. And children are at significant risk to many acute and chronic diseases as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.

Contention 2- My right to swing my fist ends where Volkov's nose begins

This contention is a simple one. We have established that smoking infringes on people's rights. We have also established that the government is obligated to protect its people. Therefore, the government cannot tolerate the infringement of its citizens' rights. If it did, it would be unconstitutional.

Having addressed my opponent's case, and built up my own, I conclude my portion of the round. Good luck.

http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org...
http://www.smokingaloud.com...
http://whyquit.com...
http://www.no-smoke.org...
Volkov

Pro

Thank you for your response and your admirable concern for the welfare of American citizens.
I believe that smoking is as well a danger to public health, but the rights of private citizens still stand even in these types of cases. I wish to provide further proof for my position in relation to your response, and I apologise for my lack of sources in my previous statement.

As you stated, second hand smoke will kill. That is an irrefutable fact, and one that I encourage all private businesses to look at. I am not arguing that smoking does not kill, but I am arguing for people's rights to smoke it in public as they wish. I will do this by proving to you that the government has no right to infringe on a person's rights to perform legal acts in public, and as such that they have not enforced the same bans on another similar killer.

First though, I would like to address your comparison between nudity laws and smoking laws.
I do not believe there is a comparison. Nudity is in fact allowed by the state on public property. I quote from your own source:
"Section 4322 of Title 14 of the California Administrative Code regarding nudity in the state parks: No person shall appear nude while in any unit except in authorized areas set aside for that purpose by the Department."
Please note the enite statement. There is 170 nudist resorts across the United States, both allowed by private and public institutions. This voids your comparison between the two laws.

In terms of rights, to many there is no more sacred right than the right to your own health. This is true and this is specific. Unfortunately, the terms 'rights' itself is a very ambiguous one when applied to democracy. If I may , I shall quote an excerpt from the book 'The Rights Revolution' by author Michael Ignatieff:
"... rights have a double-sided blade to democracy. Rights enacted into law by democratically elected representatives express the will of the people. But there are also rights whose purpose is to protect people from that will, to set limits on what the majority can do." (Chapter 1, page 2)
"Legislatures and governments do not exist to give us our rights; they are there to protect the ones we already have." (Chapter 2, page 29)
So though it may be the will of the people to ban smoking, it does not necessarily mean that they should. As smokers have been lambasted over many years, they have had their right to perform an illegal act on public property curtailed. This is a person's right, and one that must be protected against by the majority of those who would take it away. No one has curtailed someone's right to walk away from those who are smoking and to keep their children away from it as well. As you stated, private institutions are a completely different matter, and for those who work in these institutions I encourage them to talk with their managers and property owners.
In the public sphere though, smokers must have their rights guaranteed, just as the right to even walk in the streets is guaranteed.

I would also like to draw your attention to another killer that the government has failed to stop. Pollution has been documented as one of the biggest killers in society, and between the years of 1986 and 1993 alone, they have been accounted for almost 3% of deaths in the United States. In the same study it was found that almost every year ".... air pollution.... triggered over a million asthma attacks, as well as more than 47,000 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults and 540,000 cases of acute bronchitis in children." This is a very serious infringement on people's health across the US, and it has been only recently that the government has put forward a plan to help clean up pollution caused by the various industries and manufacturers across this country. But please note that I said they have helped 'clean up', instead of an outright ban on pollutants.
How could the government in honesty expect to enforce a ban on smoking, when they won't even enforce a ban on pollutants and the industries that pollute. Why could the government not bring forward an initiative to help clean up the harmful toxins in tobacco smoke? Instead of a ban on smoking, which will infringe on the rights of the smokers in favour of non-smokers, could the government, and anti-smoking lobbyists, not work together to find a solution? Just as industry and the government have found a way to help clean up their deadly toxins without infringing on the right to a free market, I believe they could do the same.

That of course is just speculation, but I believe I have made my points clear; smoking bans are only an infringment on the rights of smokers to smoke, and the government itself has shown it is incapable of enforcing a ban on a similar issue.
Private property will still enforce their own rules about such a thing and so far, no one but the government has denied that. Neither has anyone infringed on people's rights to avoid smoke in open, public areas. So yes, of course smoking kills and yes it does infringe on the right of people's health.
But there is no issue yet that has shown there is not a way to live and get on with our lives without infringing upon other's rights, be it avoidance or technological progression.

Sources:
'The Rights Revolution': http://books.google.ca...
Pollution source: http://www.medscape.com...
Nudity laws: http://gocalifornia.about.com...

Wikipedia: Effects of smoking bans: http://en.wikipedia.org...
(For my previous debate)

Thank you in advance for your response to my contentions.
Debate Round No. 2
rougeagent21

Con

My apologies to Volkov, but due to time, I will be able to post only a brief round. I will quickly address what had been said.

"...I am arguing for people's rights to smoke it in public as they wish. I will do this by proving to you that the government has no right to infringe on a person's rights to perform legal acts in public, and as such that they have not enforced the same bans on another similar killer."
Yes, smoking is currently legal. I am arguing that it should not be. Just because something is a law does not make it just. Look to the Jim Crowe Laws. These "legal acts" infringe on OTHER PEOPLE'S RIGHTS.

Now to my comparison. Yes, I read the whole thing, and I urge you to do the same. Note specifically: "No person shall appear nude while in any unit except in authorized areas set aside for that purpose by the Department"
NO PERSON. Illegal. UNLESS it is in authorized areas.

" This is a person's right, and one that must be protected against by the majority of those who would take it away."
Really? I charge of you to show me where in US law it says you are allowed to smoke. A right? Where is it guaranteed? Even IF it were a right, it would still infringe on other's rights, specifically health, and life. You conceeded that smoking and second-hand smoke kills, so why allow for the killing? Is that giving people their rights?

"I would also like to draw your attention to another killer that the government has failed to stop. Pollution has been documented as one of the biggest killers in society, and between the years of 1986 and 1993 alone, they have been accounted for almost 3% of deaths in the United States."

Great. I agree. This is however irrelevant. Please stick to the resolution.

Here is the essence of my argument: I may exercise all of my RIGHTS, so long as they hurt no one else's. This is the same in US law, which is the discussion of the debate. (I can swing my fist anywhere I like, until it touches your nose) If you want to smoke, great. Do it in your house, or in a smoker store. I don't care what you do to yourself. Whatever you do though, do not infringe upon my right to health, and my right to life.

Negated.
Volkov

Pro

I'm sorry to hear that you were unable to talk more on this, but I will nonetheless rebut your argument just as if you had.

"Yes, smoking is currently legal. I am arguing that it should not be. Just because something is a law does not make it just. Look to the Jim Crowe Laws. These "legal acts" infringe on OTHER PEOPLE'S RIGHTS."

So to does the act of creating pollution in the air. It infringes on people's rights as well, which is why my argument is relevant to this case. You are arguing that it must be illegal because it infringes on people's rights, and so must US law follow in step on other matters.
As well, "laws" are not meant to decide what is just or unjust; they are there to provide protection on our human rights and provide structure to our society. These rights are included to all people, including smokers.
I invite you to view the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I wish to point out to you articles 2, 6, 7, 9, 12 and 13. All of these are relevant to the rights of smokers. None of them infringe upon the rights of non-smokers to avoid smoke, or ban it upon their private property. You may view the Declaration here: http://www.un.org...
Your argument that it 'infringes' upon the legal rights of non-smokers is therefore negated in two ways; one, the state itself does not respect this right, therefore making your argument that they have a 'just' obligation to do so void; and two, the legal rights of non-smokers are not violated.

So here is the essence of my argument. You may excersize all of your rights, so long as they hurt no one else's. This is positively true, but a ban on smoking does exactly this. You may use the terms "rights" to refer to basic rights such as the right to health, right to property, right to protest, etc. The fact of the matter is that rights are much, much more complicated than that. People have rights to not be exiled, in which a ban would; the right to not have arbitrary interference with his privacy, which a ban would; and the right to have recognition as a person before the law, which a ban would. Smoking bans only compel people to shun away these rights, leaving us in a dangerous limbo, where a government no longer serves the people, but a special interest group of anti-tobacco activists. Activists that I may add, have done nothing to help clear the problem by furthering technological innovations to make smoking less toxic, and have the complete right themselves to compel private businesses to institute smoking bans on private property.

So yes, absolutely is smoking a danger to people's health, but it is also something that any of us have a right to do. It is the same right that activists enjoy to be able to petition businesses to curb smoking on their property. It is the same right that my opponent has to use his internet without observation by the government. These are all rights that are unassailable, and we must respect them, even when it does not seem just, or even healthy, to do so.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and I hope that I have answered his arguments well.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Agreed. That would have been funny though! I might just try that one time...
Posted by Volkov 8 years ago
Volkov
I assumed rougeagent was referring to tobacco. It would have been pretty messed up if I was talking about tobacco and he was on about marijuana legalization.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Either one. I referred to tobacco though.
Posted by Biggbrother 8 years ago
Biggbrother
a cigarette a pipe a cigar

still i ask filled with what?
these are all vessels not smoking material.
i mean you could be saying a cigarette but is it filled with tobacco or formaldahyde?
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
This is a case of health over wealth.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Its defined in the first round.
Posted by Biggbrother 8 years ago
Biggbrother
"smoking" what?
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
No, private property will be considered housing or land on which houses lie. Basically, somewhere where you have to get permission to be on.
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 8 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
"In the term 'public', does this include bars and restaurants, or will that be considered private property?"

I think that would depend on the nature of who owns a restaurant.
Posted by Volkov 8 years ago
Volkov
I would like to accept this debate, despite my opinion being the opposite of what I will argue, but I have a question first.

In the term 'public', does this include bars and restaurants, or will that be considered private property?
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