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

Taxation on cigarettes should be substantially increased.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/3/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,172 times Debate No: 81956
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (1)




**This debate should only be open to fire_wings**

Full Resolution: Taxation on cigarettes should be substantially increased.

No trolling

No kritiks
No semantics
No forfeits
Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
Any citations or foot/endnotes must be individually provided in the text of the debate
No new arguments in the final round
The BoP is shared

Failure to comply to these stipulations or round structure renders an automatic loss

Round Structure:
Round 1:

Pro - Rules
Con - Acceptance
Round 2:
Pro - Opening Arguments
Con - Opening Arguments
Round 3:
Pro - Rebuttals
Con - Rebuttals
Round 4:
Pro - Defense & Rebuttals
Con - Defense & Rebuttals

As some words in the resolution may be open to obscurity, I'll clarify and define those here, so they don't become an issue in the actual debate.

Taxation: this refers to the sales tax placed upon cigarettes.

Substantially: this refers to a meaningful and considerable degree, normally quite a large amount. Essentially, this word isn't *that* important. The key thing is to recognize the sales tax *will* be increased.


I accept ColeTrain's challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


Cigarettes are a plague that have significantly harmed society in a variety of aspects, causing destruction of human bodily functions, the contraction of terminal disease, and the perpetual degradation of societal dignity. It’s painfully obvious of the havoc these instruments have wreaked upon our nation, and it is for this reason that I stand in firm affirmation of the resolution which states: Taxation (sales and/or excise) on cigarettes should be substantially increased.

While the burden of proof for this debate is shared, it is essential to establish a plausible framework by which the debate will be judged. I value societal welfare, which essentially refers to whichever policy implementation maximizes the good of society. If I can prove that increasing sales and/or excise taxes on cigarettes will have substantially positive net consequences, I win the debate. Contrarily, if my opponent can show that it will have a net detriment to society and its well-being (considering the role of government), my opponent deserves the win. Under this framework, logical and moral arguments must be exemplified to best represent taxation and its implications on societal welfare. Moreover, this debate should be US-centered as to deflect disparity of current taxation and proposals.

The Role of Government
The primary role of government is to do what is objectively best for their citizens. Be it more or less taxation, its chief purpose is to maximize societal welfare, which is why I value that in this debate. The maximization of societal welfare would prevent individuals from freely engaging in activity that perpetually detriments their health and the health of other third-party individuals. Thus, the role of government alone is sufficient to resort to means of prevention for cigarettes. Specifically in regard to economics (as that is the foremost principle of taxation), there is ample grounds to increase taxation. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics outlines a government’s role in economics, and taxation, specifically. They quote, “four objectives of tax policy: simplicity, efficiency, fairness, and revenue sufficiency.” [1] Increasing federal taxation would fulfill simplicity (giving a federal tax rate, rather than state tax rate), efficiency (assist with smoking prevention, which would help society function efficiently), fairness (similar to the last one, where third-party has a lesser chance of being affected), and revenue efficiency (the economy would bring in more revenue). The role of government, in general, and economically dictates that there be a substantial increase of taxation on cigarette products, as I will further prove in my following contentions.

Health Detriments
Smoking is a very dangerous and harmful practice. This is common knowledge, so I won’t address it extensively. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. [2] Smoking can cause cancer in 12 different areas of the body, and if no one smoked, U31; of cancer deaths wouldn’t even have happened. [2] The National Cancer Institute notes, “Among the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 69 can cause cancer.” [3] The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute also expresses the high risk of a plethora of heart problems as a resultant of smoking. [4] It’s essential to realize HOW harmful smoking is, and the host of detrimental consequences it imposes on those who smoke, and the individuals around them. The CDC explains the danger of secondhand smoke is nearly as severe as smoking itself, and that “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” [5] Smoking and secondhand smoke are virtually equally harmful. A just government would not allow its citizens to continue harming themselves and others around them by permitting smoking without efforts to deter the threatening practice. With increased taxation, they would implement a policy which effectively and considerably deters smoking as a whole. Thus, they would increase the overall health of the society as well as stimulate the economy for those who continue to smoke.

Higher Tax Deterrence
The status quo doesn’t do nearly enough to prevent smoking. We’ve already established that smoking is demonstrably bad, and a just society wouldn’t leave it unbridled. That is why the proposition of a higher tax is being made: to protect its citizens from harmful effects. Placing a substantially higher sales and/or excise tax on cigarettes would inevitably deter smoking, and subsequently protect the health of millions of Americans. The CDC again provides insight to how many people actually smoke. They inform, “Nearly 18 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (17.8%) currently smoke cigarettes. This means an estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.” [6] This is a worrying figure, one that demonstrates how dire this situation currently is. Prevention of smoking by taxation could, in theory, help 42.1 million American adults. Though not everyone would quit smoking, the maximization of societal welfare would dictate the government do all they can to at least lower that number. That’s essentially what an increased cigarette tax would accomplish.

Current tax rates have proven fallible and insufficient to bring the number any lower than what it is today. Societal trends show that smoking, on net, has decreased since 1965, but it’s important to realize that trend could be significantly continued by way of increased taxation. Excise taxes vary from state to state [7], but I propose raising the sales and/or excise tax. The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health published a study, in which the results concluded “There was strong evidence that raising cigarette prices through increased taxes is a more effective tobacco control policy measure for reducing smoking behavior among youth, young adults, and persons of low socioeconomic status, compared to the general population.” [8] This study indicates that raising taxes DOES correlate to a decrease in smoking behavior. This study isn’t alone in its findings. Frank J. Chaloupka, economics professor of University of Chicago at Illinois conducted a study which found similar results. He notes, “Increasing cigarette and other tobacco taxes will lead to significant reductions in the use of these products, resulting from reductions in the frequency of use by continuing users, as well as reductions in the prevalence of use. Given this evidence, higher tobacco taxes are likely to be the single most effective policy option for reducing the public health toll from tobacco.” [9] This not only expresses the success of higher taxes, but also that it’s the most effective way to deflect health consequences of smoking. Another study by Michael Grossman concludes similarly, where he states, “Increased taxation, which results in higher prices, would discourage alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking… over 800,000 premature deaths in the cohort of Americans 12 years and older in 1984 would be averted if the Federal excise tax on cigarettes were restored to its real value in 1951.” [10] This shows, again, increased taxation can deter smoking, but also indicates many lives could have been saved had higher taxes been implemented previously. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine also showed “a substantial increase in specific excise taxes on tobacco [is] the single most important intervention against noncommunicable diseases.” [11] This reiterates the success of increased taxation. Essentially, there is overwhelming evidence in support of the notion that an increase in excise/sales tax will decrease cigarette usage, which is a benefit to society.

It’s obvious that not everyone will quit smoking. There will still be those who buy cigarettes, and that’s a given. However, with more taxes being placed on these products, those who buy them will only be helping state and federal government gain more capital which can be put forth towards education programs and other policies that would have net benefit to society and economy alike.

As a government, there is obligation to maximize societal welfare. Because smoking is inherently and empirically harmful, and because increasing taxation will have a deterrent effect on cigarette consumption, it is in the best interest of government (in order to fulfill their role) to uphold and maximize societal welfare by substantially increasing taxation on cigarettes. By doing so, they protect the health of their citizens (which is a moral obligation) and stimulate the economy for those who still purchase the cigarettes (which is an economic benefit). Thereby, doing so is both moral and pragmatic. The resolution is affirmed.















Thanks for your arguments ColeTrain. I accept his Introduction.


The burden of proof is shared as Pro said. I will prove that there should not be taxation of cigarretes by first banning smoking and giving some arguments about smoking. If I fill the BOP then I win. If Pro fills the BOP, Pro wins. I agree that this should be US-centered as to deflect disparity of current taxation and proposals. I need to show that we should not increase the taxation of the cigarettes. If I suceed, I win. However if my opponent shows in a logical way that we should increase the taxation of cigarettes, she will win.


I will start my arguments. First of all, my first argument will be about banning smoking.

1. Smoking Ban

Okay this argument is about smoking ban. It is not really in the topic, but it leads through the other arguments.

Okay, first of all I think we should ban smoking. This goes in 3 different categories.

My first category is that smoking is not beneficial for your health and gives you some diseases and bad organs. First of all smoking gives you bad lungs. This is basically like breathing right in front of the car's gas, it is pollution that you are breathing.

I will give some pictures.

How tobacco affects the body.

Okay, this is the picture of you.

1. I will go to the brain first. Nicotine is a very bad part of your health and will make you nervous and feeling bad.

2. Next is the mouth. Tobacco stains your teeth and make your teeth bad. This is very bad for your health. Also it makes your breath smell bad. That is bad for you and the people near you. Also taste buds give you the sense of taste. Without taste buds, you cannot taste anything.

3. Now I will go into the heart. The heart is a very important part of your body and what makes you live. The bad thing of tobacco is that it will increase your heart rate. If it is to high, you might have bad health. Also it is harder exercising and making you fit which is very important.

4. Now it is the lung the problem.

A healthy human lung and a lung damaged by smoking.
This is the picture of your lung if you smoke. The left is not smoking, perfectly good. However if you smoke, your lung turns rotten like it the right.

5. I will go onto the muscles. Not much blood will go in the muscles if you smoke, which makes it harder to move or do anything with your muscles, meaning you cannot do anything.

Okay, this was the section of that smoking is bad for your health. Now I will show you a picture of what happens if you stop smoking.

timeline of what happens to your body when you quit smokingOkay, this is the picture of your health with not smoking. It gives you a lot better health. There can be fast changes of you when you quit smoking. You will turn into a non-smoker and will be healthy and normal again.

If smoking is bad, why do we need to increase the taxation of cigarettes? Cigarettes is basically what we smoke. Why do we need to increase the taxation of a bad thing that will kill us.

2. No Reason

Okay, there is no reason to increase the taxation of cigarettes of a bad thing. It just makes more bad things expensive. We don't need this. No one will use cigarettes anyway because it is bad for your health. Do you think that someone will buy something that is bad for your health and it is expensive? No one will buy it if it has taxes because if it is cheap, you could. Why would you pay a lot of something for this bad thing.

Even though taxes help the government, just tax other stuff that we need. We have to buy water for an example. This will help the government way better because that if we increase the tax of water, we need it which shows that we get more money because people need to buy these things, but not tobacco.

3. Cigarettes are bad

Cigarettes cause many bad things. It causes to bad things. The first bad thing is that this occurs labour. People will buy these slaves and will make them work and not even pay money to them. This is mostly the cause of smoking because tobacco is now very famous. Tobacco is just bad.

Second of all, it is bad for your health as I explained in my first argument. Why should be tax and make higher prices for things that is bad for you. Because of this no one will buy these cigarettes because of the higher prices of the thing.


Our team believes that cigarettes and smoking is bad for your health and we should not have them. This means that we should not increase the tax because then also, no one will buy cigarettes again if we have the prices higher.

Vote for Con.



Back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2


**As an aside, am actually a male... ;P**

My opponent accepts my framework, and as such, we should follow and continue to value societal welfare.


Smoking Ban:
My opponent essentially says a smoking ban is preferrable to raising taxes. Essentially, he points out all of the harms. I agree that all of these harms exist, and even mentioned most of them in my first round. My opponent is doing little more than assisting my case when he points these out. However, he gives no logical reason as to why a smoking ban is preferrable to increasing taxes. While it could obliterate smoking completely, there are quite a few harms I'd like to point out. However, my opponent never really explains this argument and why it is preferrable to maximize societal welfare.

Harms to Businesses
The lack of revenue from sales and production tax is a very important and relevant detriment to smoking bans. Instantaneously, the government doesn't receive the tax revenue from the millions who smoke. This would obviously be a detriment. It's an explicit harm to businesses. [1] However, with increasing taxation, they get *more* revenue from the people who continue smoking while also getting the benefit of those who choose to quit smoking because of high costs.

Economic Detriment
There's also demonstrable economic harms to smoking bans, which is why the corporations should be able to determine smoking policies themselves, as to fit with their economic stability. [2]

Essentially, this argument is baseless, and hinges only on the fact (as I've also presented) that smoking is harmful. This doesn't necessitate a smoking ban, but rather an increase in taxation on the products which, by smoking, cause these detriments.

No Reason:
My opponent has a severe misinterpretation of the health effects in relation to consumption. He assumes that just because health effects are bad, people won't smoke. This is entirely and demonstrably false. Cross-apply my evidence from the CDC, which noted "Nearly 18 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (17.8%) currently smoke cigarettes. This means an estimated 42.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes." [3] This empirically proves that knowledge about harms =/= no smoking. The only effective way to prevent smoking without harms (as I've shown) is through increased taxation. We need bad things to be more expensive to increase revenue for those who don't mind the cost, and also to decrease the smoking population.

Cigarettes are Bad:
This was already addressed in his first contention. We should make taxes for bad things higher to prevent increased use, and create a regressive trend of smoking.

Again, the misinterpretation here is that knowledge = lack of consumption. This has been shown false, and effectively refuted. Thusly, we choose the option that maximizes societal welfare; increased taxation on cigarettes.




I agree, I accept with Pro's framework and continue to value societal welfare.


1. Pro's first argument was about the role of the government.

I have questions for my opponent.

1. Why do we need to tax smoking then?

2. If the government does this, won't the cigarettes not get bought because of high prices?

3. At last, if we have taxes, this does not help the citizens.

Pro has failed to say these points in his argument. My first point is that, why do we have to tax smoking, not other things? Pro just said, " Thus the role of the government is sufficient to resort to means of prevention of cigarettes." Pro failed to explain why needed to use cigarettes and also why not something else.

Second of all, Pro fails to explain that if we raise taxes of the cigarettes, there will be much of a decreased amount of cigarette smokers. That is not what the government wants and why they are raising these taxes.

Third of all, if we have more taxes, then this is bad for the citizens. They cannot buy these expensive things. The economy will get worse of we increase the tax of cigarettes. Many workers depend on the tobacco, however if the government will raise taxes and no one will buy these. There are about 800,000 people int he US who work in tobacco fields, and they will be in poverty with no money from their one depended thing. Tobacco.

2. Pro's second argument is about the Health Determinants

Okay, first of all, this is basically my first argument of the smoking ban.
However we said it in different perspectives. Pro is saying that if we raise the taxes, no one will buy these cigarettes. However the government does not want to do it in this way. The government wants to do this because they want to get more money. That is why Pro's argument is wrong because the government wants to get more money, however our argument is that if we raise taxes, no one will buy them.

3. Higher Tax Deterrence

Okay, this was Pro's third argument. As I said in my second rebuttal, the government wants to earn money, that is why they are raising taxes. It is not about the citizens care. They will probably just make signs. Also the government does not care if you are healthy or not or if you should not smoke. They want to raise the economy by doing this act, however then no one will buy them. There is no reason to increase taxes because then no one will buy them.

4. Revenue

As I said in my third and second rebuttal. Everyone wouldn't quit smoking.
However the government wants to increase taxes because they want to get the economy better, not the citizens health.

For these reasons, vote for Con.



Debate Round No. 3


Societal welfare is the optimal value in this debate, as agreed upon by my opponent. Therefore, whichever side effectively does the *best* to maximize social welfare should get the win. Note that societal welfare contains facets of not only morality, but also economics. Whichever achieves the best balance of both should win.


1. We need taxation on cigarettes to prevent as much smoking as is plausible, and to increase revenue on the sales that continue to take place. For example, in general, this would do a lot to reduce smoking from the poor. However, a price increase wouldn't necessarily prevent rich people from smoking. However, this mitigation of smoking from the poor allows them to spend more money on the necessities and lead a more productive life (and reduce their own poverty, to a small degree). This is further explained in R2 in my case.

2. As a general rule, yes, this would be the effect. However, it wouldn't *totally* get rid of cigarette sales, but only reduce them. This is good because a) smoking is harmful, b) taxation brings in more revenue for those who continue to buy, and c) it maximizes economic and moral societal welfare.

3. Though this isn't really a question, I'll respond regardless. Increasing taxes on cigarettes actually does more good than harm to the citizens. The obvious way to avoid this taxation is to not buy cigarettes, which, as my studies showed, is an obvious affect of increased taxation. This saves them from clear and dangerous health problems, which is of inherently more value to the individual than a substantial tax increase is a detriment to their pocketbook.

1. There are taxes on other things... many other things. Moreover, the reason for the increase of taxes on cigarettes is primarily due to health concerns.

2. I explained the reason for deterrence and backed my reasoning up with empirical studies. Refer to my case for these precise particularities; there's no need to reiterate here and waste character space. The bottom line is, I have explained this point thoroughly. Moreover, you can't simply make bare assumptions about "what the government wants."

3. My opponent argues, "if we have more taxes, then this is bad for the citizens. They cannot buy these expensive things." I've gone over this multiple times. It's a *GOOD* thing that citizens can't buy "these expensive things" that are an obvious health detriment.

Health Detriments
1. My opponent has some severe misinterpretation here. He says our first arguments are essentially the same, but from different perspectives. He says my only advocation is that raising taxes is only done to give the government more money. However, that is only a secondary purpose. The primary purpose is to deter the sales of smoking and the subsequent health detriments. My opponent concedes this is true in the last sentence, where he states "if we raise taxes, no one will buy them."

Higher Tax Deterrence
1. My opponent blatantly (and falsely) claims the only reason the government wants to raise taxes is to get more money. This is uncited and illogical. Under the framework, the policy is to maximize societal welfare, and the sole purpose of getting *more* money doesn't achieve that. Besides, this debate is about policy implementation, not about the governmen. *I* am advocating this policy, not the federal government. Therefore, "government" arguments are irrelevant.

My opponent concedes my primary impact -- the reduction (and supposed elimination, though my view is not that extreme) of smoking.

This debate boils down to the primary impact of deterrence. My opponent has conceded that point to me with explicit agreement that taxation decreases (or eliminates) smoking. That primary impact indubitably supports my side and leaves voters with no option but to vote Pro.



1. I did not defend his rebuttals because that is for the fourth round, not the third

2. Because we agree each on our framework, there is no need to write anything else.


1. I am not defending his case. That argument was
about that the government wants to earn the money for the better economy. However no one will buy those cigarettes. This is not your case but mine because the government wants people to buy these cigarettes when our team doesn't want us to. Pro's team wants the cigarettes bought because the government want them to be bought. That was why our team's argument was that they cannot be bought.

Harms to Buisness

I know that the government does not get this money. However the overall GDP will go up, that is the concern. That is why your government wants these taxes for the higher
GDP, when they cannot be bought. They get the taxes. They use it to make other things. However when you say harms to business, this rebuts to your argument because that your argument was about smoking ban from increasing taxes, however if you do this, you harm businesses. You rebutted your own arguments.

Economic Detriment

That is why, we should not increase taxes because the people will buy more of it. Also like Pro said that
thi tax is to help these citizens for health. However then there will be an economic problem. This shows that you are saying it is beneficial for your health. This however rebuts with your point which was about the smoking ban too. If you say that the economy is bad, that is rebutting your own self. You just rebutted your own self.

2. We know that not all people will stop smoking. It will reduce smoking. However that is not the main point of this debate. Even if we raise taxes, no one will buy them. There will be no effect. Therefore there is no reason to raise taxes because the effect is the same.

Secondly my point was that we don't need to tax smoking. Pro failed to know my argument

3. Same as first defense.


My opponent has failed to explain my questions.

My first question was that why do we need to tax smoking. Instead he does not say why we need to tax smoking.

My second question was that the government wants more money. This is true because the government wants more of a better economy to get more income.


What Con succeeded to do.



What Pro has mistaken

My questions

My arguments

I did not concede. I just matched the structure.

There is no reason to vote for Pro, so vote for Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
The Voter's Union is a group of prospective voters whose aim is to produce quality votes for good debates. :) For more information, contact donald.keller.
Posted by fire_wings 11 months ago
Thanks for your vote, Hayd. However what is the Voter's Union?
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
>Reported vote: Hayd// Mod action: NOT Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision:

[*Reason for non-removal*] The vote appears sufficient in its analysis of the arguments given in the debate. While the reporter is correct that it doesn't provide substantive feedback, it still meets the voting standards.
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
Hey, don't get down! You did fine, I just think you interpreted the resolution a little skewed.
Posted by fire_wings 11 months ago
I think I need to work on my skills. My third ended debate is quite depressing.
Posted by fire_wings 11 months ago
Thanks for your vote Hayd!
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
Thanks, Hayd!
Posted by Hayd 11 months ago
I'll get a vote on this soon.
Posted by fire_wings 11 months ago
debate ended.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hayd 11 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: