The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Smoking in pubs should not be banned

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,646 times Debate No: 9433
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




As everybody knows, drinking and smoking go together like fried patties of beef and bread buns - which put together are called 'beef burgers' (except in America where for some reason they call them 'hamburgers', even though there is absolutely no ham in them at all).

Now, where do people go to drink and smoke? That's right: pubs. And where do people go to eat beef burgers? Yes, fast food restaurants. However, certain governments around the world have banned smoking in pubs. Why? Three main reasons:

1 - A smoke free environment is beneficial to the health of customers.

2 - A smoke free environment eliminates complaints from non-smoking bar staff.

3 - A smoke free environment means bagpipes need cleaning less often.

This is fine, if you are a Scottish non-smoker with no friends who smoke, but will this government interference with people's freedom of choice end there?

Consider the following scenario:

You go into a fast food restaurant and order a hamburger and the assistant gives you a bun with a piece of lettuce and some relish in it. So, you ask where your patty of beef is and the assistant replies:

"I'm sorry, but the state has decided on your behalf that fried patties of beef are bad for your health and they have duly banned them from being consumed in public places. Personally I am very happy about that because I am a vegan and used to object to handling meat products. And that fellow in the kilt and the tam-o-shanter over there is pleased too because the grease from the burgers used to drip onto his bagpipes which meant he had to clean them slightly more often than he does now."

This scenario is, of course, ridiculous but so is the ban on smoking in pubs because:

1 - Smokers will still smoke, just outside the pub rather than inside, so there is no net benefit to their health and non-smokers have always had the option not to go into pubs if they are concerned about the effects of passive smoking.

2 - People who strongly object to smoking would be no more likely to apply for a job in a pub than a vegan would be to apply for a job in an abattoir.

3 - I am currently writing from 'bonny Scotland' and can confirm that, even here, the percentage of people who bring bagpipes with them to the pub is very low!

All considered, then, I affirm that smoking in pubs should not be banned.

Thank you.


It is very naive and misinformed of you to compare a cigarette to a burger seeing that these two are very different. One thing I need to make clear is that smoking has not been banned in public places because people don't approve of cigarettes in the same way that vegans don't approve of meat. If that is the case meat should also be banned from being eaten in public places. But one thing you seem to fail to consider is why the smoking ban only applies to public places such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants and so on.

The smoking ban has been put in place not to stop everyone from smoking. Although I have to admit that the government is a strong supporter of a smoke free England (or Scotland in your case) for two of the reasons you mentioned:
1 - A smoke free environment is beneficial to the health of customers.

2 - A smoke free environment eliminates complaints from non-smoking bar staff.

I doubt the Scottish government or any government will care about how often you need to clean your bagpipes.
Interestingly enough you accused the government of interfering with "people's freedom of choice," failing to realise that the smoking ban actually allows better freedom of choice for everyone concerning the issue about smoking. Consider this scenario which was terribly common before the ban:

I am a non-smoker, I like watching football and having a laugh with my mates so every now and again, I go to the pub to socialise. I don't smoke, because I am aware of the many dangers of tobacco smoke and I am not willing to do such damage to my body. However, every time I go to the pub it's filled with smoke. Having never smoked in my life I choke up on the smoke and I find it very hard to stay in the pub without having to go outside for some fresh air. I am also aware of the dangers of second hand smoke, so while in the pub I often fail to have fun because I have to keep on holding my breath and worrying about all the second hand smoke I'm inhaling. It's especially frightening to read of all the articles reporting about people who have never smoked in their life and have worked hard to keep themselves healthy only to someday be told they have got lung cancer because so many people have been smoking next to them. Consider the following facts;

"An estimated 46,000 non-smokers who live with smokers die each year from heart disease."

"About 3,400 non smokers die from lung cancer each year."

"Anyone who hangs out in a smoky place for 8 hours inhales the same poisons as a person who smoked a whole pack of cigarettes."


"Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to experience increased frequency of:

asthma, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other lung diseases
middle ear infections
sinus infections
caries in deciduous teeth"


It's not really fair, seeing as you can't always choose who you're next to. Consider the pub workers you spoke of, they are around this smoke for several hours, sometimes even more than eight hours. Is it fair for them to have to endure such damage to their body just because they want to make some money? I'll bring you back to the earlier point about freedom of choice. Now consider the following:
Where is the freedom of choice in suffering from smoke related illnesses when your choice was not to smoke?

Where is the freedom of choice when your child has an asthma attack when your choice was simply to treat him/her for that A grade by taking him/her to the restaurant?

Where is the freedom of choice when your heart fails simply because your roommate chose to start smoking?

And on this note I will conclude my argument stating that a pub is not a place you go to drink and smoke, it is a place you go to socialise, smoker or non smoker. Therefore the smoking ban in public places including pubs is a ban that is better for the health and wellbeing of everyone living in England/Scotland regardless of the fact that a FEW pub goers will be unhappy because they can't have a ciggy with their pint.
Debate Round No. 1


Many thanks to hndalama for accepting this debate and who opened his rebuttal thus:

"It is very naive and misinformed of you to compare a cigarette to a burger seeing that these two are very different."

I am indebted to my opponent for this information and will certainly bear this in mind the next time I hold an All-American Junk Food-themed dinner party – perhaps I should consider replacing those cigars I usually serve in hotdog buns with something slightly more palatable - a sausage made out of mechanically-recovered chicken and pork fat perhaps?

But never mind that, this argument really revolves around freedom of choice and the unwarranted government interference with decent, law-abiding people's lives.

Now, we both accept that smoking is bad for your health, so no arguments there.

But public houses (pubs, bars, etc.) are private premises. They have the right to grant or refuse entry to the public and they are not government buildings so they should be free to allow the people they invite in to eat and drink and smoke and watch strippers and gamble and sing and dance and play pool or whatever, so long as they don't cause a nuisance to their neighbours, obviously.

Now, my opponent is a non-smoker who objects to smokey pubs. Fine. He shouldn't go to them then, he should go and hang out at Ben & Jerry's or somewhere else where smoking is voluntarily banned.

And as far as the effect of smoke on kids is concerned, by the way, children aren't generally allowed in pubs so it's irrelevant.

At the end of the day, this world is full of hazards. If you live in London, as I do, you are choked by the pollution whereas if you live in the tropics you are at risk of contacting malaria or some other ghastly disease. Even the late Wacko Jacko got fed up with living in an oxygen tent after a while and he died young, not through cigarette smoke, or being beaten up by the outraged father of a young boy, as you might expect, but (allegedly) as the result of taking drugs prescribed to him by his doctor.

The point is, you can take the choice not to put your health at risk by not drinking, smoking, having unprotected sex with the girl you just met in the nightclub, or driving too fast or flying with Aeroflot or taking swimming lessons off Michael Barrymore or whatever but those who are prepared to live fast and die young should be allowed to.

Thank you.


I apologise for the delay in my response and I thank my opponent for his argument.

To open my argument, I would like to first point out that you have contradicted yourself with the following sentence, "public houses (pubs, bars, etc.) are private premises." If they were private premises they would be called private houses and not public. However, public places still do hold the right to grant refusal to the public so I believe your point still stands.

In your argument, you continued and said, "They have the right to grant or refuse entry to the public and they are not government buildings so they should be free to allow the people they invite in to eat and drink and smoke and watch strippers and gamble and sing and dance and play pool or whatever, so long as they don't cause a nuisance to their neighbours, obviously."

Now I would like to point out that a place, private or public, that conducts acts of gambling or stripping will need a license to do so and will no longer be a ‘pub'. But that is hardly relevant to the argument. Now, we both agree that smoking is bad for your health. Drinking alcohol is also bad for your health and the damages to the body are almost as bad as smoking. See now, both drinking and smoking are bad for your health and can both be done from local pubs. But the difference is that smoking is not only bad for the smoker's health it is also damaging to the people around the smoker and that is why the smoking ban has been put in place. The ban is simply stating that, if you want to smoke go ahead and smoke but do it somewhere where you will not be a danger to the people around you. Now I do not see how this is a breach of public freedom when it is in fact for the protection of the large majority of the public and the smokers are simply given the small inconvenience of stepping outside for a few minutes whenever they want to smoke. And yes, I am a non-smoker and I do try to avoid smoky areas but I am also a non-drinker but I DON'T make any effort to avoid places filled with alcoholic beverages. The reason is the same as the logic for the smoking ban; I don't smoke because I don't want tobacco smoke in my body and that is my choice. When people smoke around me, I smoke second-handily regardless of my choice and that is a breach of my freedom. I don't drink because I don't want alcohol in my body, when people drink around me, I don't drink because that is my choice. I'll speak to the drinker, I'll hug the drinker and I'll dance with drinkers but I still won't get any alcohol into my system because that is my choice. So that is not a breach of my freedom of choice!

I believe I already made the above point in my first argument and the fact that I am having to repeat myself to combat your second argument gives me reason to urge you to please review my first argument once again.

Now, you go on to say, "my opponent is a non-smoker who objects to smokey pubs. Fine. He shouldn't go to them then, he should go and hang out at Ben & Jerry's or somewhere else where smoking is voluntarily banned."

This statement strongly implies that you feel that non-smokers should not be welcome into pubs because a pub is a place for smoking, among other things. I would like to clarify that a ‘pub is not a place you go to drink and smoke, it is a place you go to socialise, smoker or non smoker' (Quote from my first argument). It is described by the Encarta Dictionary, as a "building where drinks, especially alcoholic ones, can be bought and consumed on the premises. Pubs frequently offer food, and sometimes acoomodation." Other dictionaries give similar descriptions as well. I guarantee that you will not be able to find any respectable dictionary that defines a pub as a place for smoking. Therefore, to return to your statement, non-smokers have every right to be in pubs as smokers, so non-smokers shouldn't have to give up that right for something as trivial as the guy in the corner wanting to smoke. The smoking ban is a reasonable solution to the problem, where the smoker still gets to smoke, and the non-smokers still get to enjoy their time in the pub. Your alternative, where non-smokers give up their right to be in pubs and trade that for Ben & Jerry's is a breach of public freedom on a large scale.

You concluded stating that, "you can take the choice not to put your health at risk by not drinking, smoking, having unprotected sex with the girl you just met in the nightclub, or driving too fast or flying with Aeroflot or taking swimming lessons off Michael Barrymore or whatever but those who are prepared to live fast and die young should be allowed to."

Yes, I agree. If you would like to live dangerously, go ahead and do so. But don't do it at the expense of other innocent passers-by. If you want to have unprotected sex, go ahead but make sure it's with a willing partner. If you want to drive fast, go ahead. Participate in car racing sports; find an open space away from the public or something. Don't do it on public roads where you'll most likely do terrible damage to yourself and innocent drivers/pedestrians. You want to get wasted, go ahead just make sure you don't do anything irresponsible while under the influence of alcohol (e.g. violence, drink driving, rape etc). You want to smoke, go ahead. Just make sure you consider the people around you who have chosen not to smoke and spare them from having to inhale the second hand smoke from your cigarettes.
Debate Round No. 2


brian_eggleston forfeited this round.


As my opponent has forfeited this round, I have no argument to respond to. So, I have decided to quickly pay my attention to the comments.

RoyLathman You talked about the use of air purifiers which are very effective at cleaning indoor air and sucking out airborne pollutants as an alternative to the smoking ban. HEPA licensed purifiers (line duct systems) are often of a very high standard and need to be able to remove "at least 99.97% of 0.3 micrometres airborne pollutants." However, this is a rule requiring money to be spent, and it needs to be considered that complaints would rise against the government claiming that the law is in favour of successful businesses (pubs, restaurants) because small pubs are not likely to be able to maintain HEPA licensed purifiers. You said "It turned out not to be expensive or difficult" but I'm afraid I have to disagree there. Good quality air purifiers (HEPA licensed), are quite expensive to maintain this is because electricity consumption needs to be taken into account. Air purifiers need the filters to be replaced after some time which also costs money. Staff will need to be trained to clean the system regularly, and time will have to be spent cleaning the system when they could be doing other work (this could also cause staff to demand raises). Now, local pub owners will be upset with this because a lot of them will lose smoking customers who will prefer to go to pubs that have these HEPA licensed purifiers. Their upset will not be helped by the fact that if they are to get a purifier then they will have to suffer these costs just to maintain their customer levels. So, they will have more costs and no increase in their income which if you do your math means they will have to accept a reduction in profit or risk losing their customers to nearby competition with purifiers, which again leads to a reduction in profit. Now the smoking ban, only asks for courtesy of smokers to step out for a few minutes while they have a smoke at no extra cost to anyone. I hope you can see how necessary it is that the smoking ban applies to everyone, not just pubs that have the money to afford certain technologies.

Also, your other suggestion of employees having to wear gas masks to work. First of all, this solution is very inconsiderate towards the needs of the employees who will not be happy to have to wear gas masks to work. Also, the pubs will again need to pay for these at no forecast of profiting from the purchases whereas a simple and cost free solution of having the smokers step out for a few minutes has already been issued.

And yes, the smoking ban is also helped by concerns about the environment but that clearly isn't what it's all about. And I have explained some of the health risks repeatedly in my earlier arguments. The toxic substances in cigarette smoke are obviously bad for the environment. Yes, there probably was concern about the unneeded electricity consumption if public places across the country started opting to use air purifiers for several hours on end. Also, some "ionic air purifiers generate ozone, an energetic allotrope of three oxygen atoms, and in the presence of humidity, small amounts of NOx (laughing gas)." Obviously this is bad for the environment but there are also health concerns for people with asthma and allergies, because increased ozone concentration can increase the risk of asthma attacks.
My source was:

Lexj, I find your comment doesn't really need a response, but I will ask you to do your research because mathematicians and scientists conduct the research that produces these statistics. And if you did your research you'd know that before the results retrieved from research are considered valid facts, there needs to be significant evidence to support the conclusions. And there is overwhelming evidence supporting the fact that second hand smoke is dangerous for anyone inhaling it (fit or unfit). So saying that all the people who have died from smoking had other conditions contributing to their death is just wishful thinking.

Tmhustler, your suggestion would simply raise issues where pub owners will feel hard done by because they have lost a lot of customers because they just weren't lucky enough. Using a lottery/auction to decide which pub gets a smoking license would expose the government as irresponsible and short-sighted. Out of the 10 pubs, the 5 that don't get the smoking license will struggle to keep their smoking customers. Now say 3 of the non-smoking pubs close down because most of their customers were smokers. This means that there will be 2 non smoking pubs and 5 smoking pubs, so does that mean some of the pubs with a license will have to lose their license? Does that mean another lottery/auction has to be done? Now the ones that lose their license will also feel unfairly treated and soon and very soon the government will have to deal with protests by pub owners.

Also a lottery or auction is an incredibly irresponsible way of handing out licenses. You don't hand out licenses willy nilly or to the highest bidders. You need to make sure the licensee is capable of meeting the requirements of the license and will not simply take advantage of the license. Also, having an auction will favour successful pubs and small local pubs will again be unfairly treated in this situation.

How will these lotteries be funded? It is most likely to be government funding which effectively means the public is paying for it. How will the public feel about paying for such an unneeded event. And before you know it, members of the public will be backing pub owners in their protests against the lotteries/auctions.

Brian_eggleston, I'm sorry you missed the deadline as I was looking forward to your response.
Anyway, thank you for this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
Thank you, Roy, for adding (perhaps better than I could) my final argument. Also, I apologise for letting the bagpipe community down so badly!
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
Brian is a disgrace to bagpipes everywhere, who pipe for freedom in the face of tyranny and dust.

Con took the opportunity to respond to my previous comments. He argued that there might be complaints from pub operators who could not afford the air cleaning equipment. There were in fact no such complaints. However, it is common for the government to require expensive health and safety equipment. Every commercial kitchen has numerous mandates that support the manufacture of stainless steel appliances, high temperaure washers, vents and fire suppression, and so forth. Businesses that use paint or acids meet very expensive health and safety requirements. No one in their right mind favors banning kitchens or paint as an alternative to such requirements, least of all the shop owners or their employees, who would be otherwise be out of business. The other costs of opening and running a pub, including the approved kitchen and the rent, are so high that adding air filtering is not significant.

Employees uniformly preferred wearing hazardous material apparatus to losing their jobs. They should get that right, not have the state tell them they must go unemployed. All of the Silicon Vlley clean room workers have to wear bunny suits, and no one objects nor has the state electedto spare them the inconvenience by banning the work. The real objection, of course, is that it makes the pseudo-religious anti-smoking fanatics look like the fools they are, so it is to spare that embarrassment, not the employees.

The second-hand smoke studies are bogus. Of course people get heart attacks and lung cancer as they would if thre were no smoke at all. There are many other causes. Besides, as Pro pointed out, that has nothing to do with adult voluntary use of pubs.

Followers of the Green Religion make me ill. Nonetheless, I don't think they should be banned from public places where I choose to go. The reciprocal courtesy is not forthcoming.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
Oh no! I missed the deadline by 7 minutes! Sorry.
Posted by tmhustler 8 years ago
I think an easy solution to this would be limit smoking pubs. for example lets say 10 people want to open pubs only offer 5 of them a licence to be a smoking pub. could do this by lottery or auction
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
You said it Roy. We are so off kilter with this green religion.
Posted by LexJ 8 years ago
Actually... burgers are not to far away from cigarettes! You see more people walking into McDonald 's and ordering a mass quantity of food each and every single day. These people become extremely obese after a period of time. I wonder who would win that race of death; Obese people, or smokers... You can get heart disease from so many different things its not even funny. I wonder if the people that inhaled the smoke at these fast food places were already obese. Seeing as how they're there everyday, it would make a lot of sense. Obesity + Smoking or Second Hand Smoke = Quick death. I know some old people that have smoked since they were young and they are perfectly healthy. Not eating right in the first place could put you at harm. I would bet that percentage of people you mentioned that died from smoking, had other things contributing also. For the most part, people who gather these statistics don't consider the other things that could have contributed to the death.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
Where I live in Silicon Valley, cigar bar operators equipped their establishment with clean room technology that scrubbed the indoor air cleaner than the outdoor air. It turned not to be very expensive or difficult. You could be literally two feet from someone smoking a cigar and not detect the odor. Smoking was banned nonetheless, on the grounds it was harmful to cigar bar employees, who the legislature said were not there by choice. The operators also offered to equip employees with gas masks. That was rejected as well.

Clearly smoking bans have nothing to do with health. It is entirely about modern "green religion."
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:61