The Instigator
ohdangit0622
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
VeritasUSA
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Smoking around non-smokers and children should be illegal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2015 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 325 times Debate No: 81123
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

ohdangit0622

Pro

Hello I am for it should be illegal

First round is acceptance
Second, third, fourth is argue
Fifth is summary
VeritasUSA

Con

I accept the topic and will take the con position; namely, that I do not believe that smoking around non-smokers and children should be made illegal.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have never smoked nor lived with smokers. I have, however, lived in a country where smoking was the norm, and I saw the adverse health effects that long-term smoking had on the population. I plan to approach this debate from a public policy point-of-view.

I look forward to our debate. Best of luck to the opposition.
Debate Round No. 1
ohdangit0622

Pro

ohdangit0622 forfeited this round.
VeritasUSA

Con

Given my opponent hasn't posted his opening arguments yet, I'll take a moment to highlight a few points:

Risks of secondhand smoke
One point that a lot of people miss is that the health risks of tobacco smoke are time-based. That is, the risk of death or disease is proportional to the total amount of time exposed to secondhand smoke. The CDC notes that "there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke." What the CDC does not mention, however, is that a few seconds of exposure carries a risk so minimal, its effect on overall health cannot be measured with statistical significance (see Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence in Institute of Medicine October 2009).

A more balanced approach would suggest that prolonged exposure, especially involuntary prolonged exposure, should be discouraged by public policy.

Enforcement would get ugly
Imagine the following scenario: a law enforcement officer sees somebody taking a smoke break outside a place of employment. It's 3PM on a Thursday and the smoker is standing about 20 feet away from the door. Should the officer cite the smoker?

This is a situation in which it's clear that the policy doesn't provide equitable punishment for the crime. In reality, a few passerby getting five seconds of exposure from several feet away is going to have a negligible effect on their overall health. No health official could reasonably argue this has a measurably negative effect on non-smokers.

When you've got a law with this kind of profile, enforcement is never pretty. LEOs will either not pursue charges or it will become a pressure point that aggravates citizens.

Exceptional cases
One argument I've heard before is that public policy should allow for a ban of any substance which might cause sudden death to passerby. Since tobacco smoke can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate breathing problems, and even expose bystanders to carcinogens, some would argue that it fits neatly under this category.

I've always liked responding with the question of what we should do with public peanut consumption, especially since peanut allergies are far more prevelant and deadly than secondhand smoke.

In reality, most existing laws render this point moot. Smokers are required to smoke in open areas, away from public entrances. You and I have a very good idea of where we need to stay away from in order to avoid secondhand smoke. As a nonsmoker, I tend to avoid casino's, the docks behind stores, and alleyways behind ballet studios.



I look forward to the response.
Debate Round No. 2
ohdangit0622

Pro

ohdangit0622 forfeited this round.
VeritasUSA

Con

VeritasUSA forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
ohdangit0622

Pro

ohdangit0622 forfeited this round.
VeritasUSA

Con

VeritasUSA forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
ohdangit0622

Pro

ohdangit0622 forfeited this round.
VeritasUSA

Con

VeritasUSA forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Meropenem777 1 year ago
Meropenem777
It kind of already is a law in a way. In general, you cannot smoke in airports or most flights, restaurants, and certain workplaces that have a no smoking policy. Basically, you can't do it in a public/private facility if its a policy. Also, how is one to determine if the people around them are non-smokers besides the method of asking each one if they smoke? I sort of vaguely see an argument concerning the topic of smoking in relation to public areas, but you should change the topic so that it makes more sense.
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