The Instigator
shades007
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
KyleLumsden
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

The V.A. legislature should support Governer Kain's inititive to band smoking in restaurants.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
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: 1/11/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 981 times Debate No: 6473
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

shades007

Pro

I would like to begin my arguement with a theory. A family is very concious about their health. When they go to a restaurant, there are ussually two sides, smoking and non-smoking. they would obviously choose the non-smoking side. what if the only thing separating these to sides was a three foot barrier. they would still have a high chance of being affected by the smoke that could easily cross over the barrier to where they are sitting. EPA has discovered that 3,000 adults that do not smoke die because they are near people that do smoke. This affect can be even greater on teens because at least 10 million teens live with one or MORE family member that smokes. EPA also states that children with asthma are greatly affected by second hand smoke. also, if the teens see their parents smoking or an older person smoking in a public area, they would eventually think that it is okay to smoke and lead to circle of smoking in these areas. this could also help in the decrease of smokers and decrease the huge amounts of money spent on those who are severly affected by smoking. i can not wait to see my opponents arguement and wish him the best of luck.
KyleLumsden

Con

I thank my opponent for choosing a challenging resolution and for posting a thought-provoking first affirmative. In my first argument for the negative, I will make the argument that no change is needed in the status quo, that no government regulation is required regarding smoking in restaurants. Instead, as I will show, restaurants as profit-seeking entities will continue to naturally provide for the needs of the whole spectrum of smoke lovers and haters. Before getting to my own argument, however, let me address my opponent's main points.

My opponent asks, What if the only thing separating the smoking section from the non-smoking section is a three-foot barrier? Obviously, in such a situation, many or all of the people in the non-smoking section will breathe as much smoke as those in the smoking section. I will not pretend to argue that there is a good way to create smoking and nonsmoking sections in a small restaurant. However, what if the restaurant is larger, with high ceilings and good ventilation? Patrons in the nonsmoking section will in all likelihood still breathe some smoke, but it is far less likely to interfere with their enjoyment of their meals and, unless they are hypersensitive to smoke, they probably won't even notice it. A nonsmoking section where the air is fresh and sweet is workable in some restaurants, but my opponent asks us to assume the worst about all restaurants and ban smoking in all of them. This is the first example of what is, in his argument, an attempt to oversimplify reality so that it requires his proposal.

Now, erring on the side of caution with our public policy might be justified if my opponent had offered proof that second-hand smoke kills 3,000 American adults annually. However, he did not. Therefore, for the purposes of this debate, there is no such proof.

You might be confused—after all, he cited an EPA study, didn't he? That study, released in 1993, is famous for being a landmark that resulted in many state and local smoking bans. However, the study is just as famous for being thrown out by a Federal judge in 1998. The New York Times wrote: "Judge Osteen held that agency researchers, rather than rigorously proving their case, frequently shifted theories and selected the data they wanted in order to reach a preordained conclusion." Frequently shifting theories, selecting data to reach a preordained conclusion . . . qualities of a good debater, but not of a good researcher. Judge Osteen ruled that the researchers had fixed the data to say what they wanted it to say, thus invalidating this study that had already effected so many public policy decisions.

So, just to make clear, my opponent presented no reputable evidence that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer. He throws out a figure of 10 million young people living with a relative who smokes, but please do not be swayed by this large number that has absolutely no demonstrated relevance to the topic at hand: a ban on smoking in restaurants. What takes place inside the home is a matter for another debate.

My opponent says that young people model their behavior on adult behavior. I'm reminded of comedian Bill Hicks's line about how he would tell people who expressed concern about his smoking to shut up and look at the world around them. And, while abrasive, it's true: I'm far more concerned about children learning it's okay to drink and drive from their family, learning it's okay to steal or beg for money from public officials and corporate magnates, learning it's okay to shoot cops from video games, or learning it's okay to have profligate sex and live lives of fashionable apathy from Hollywood and TV sitcoms—than I am about children learning it's okay to smoke from some foul-smelling stranger in a restaurant.

The question of children—and especially children with asthma, which my opponent also mentions—does merit consideration, however, and I will use it as the starting point of my own argument.
In the 1980s, when I myself was a child, fast food restaurants had smoking and nonsmoking sections. Those are mostly gone today, replaced by entirely smoke-free establishments. Did the government have to enforce a ban to make this happen? Not at all. Rather, as public awareness of the dangers of smoking grew, each major fast food chain—with its millions of dollars invested in hooking toddlers on its particular brand of burgers and fries—realized that continuing to allow smoking would be economic suicide if allowing smoking would prevent parents from bringing their children. The restaurants banned smoking themselves, because banning smoking made them more money.

People vote with their wallets. A restaurant caters (pun intended) to the aggregate desires of its customers. Fewer people are smoking each year, so the votes for smoking in restaurants are going down accordingly. Whenever a restaurant's proprietors realize that families, most of whom would rather be in a non-smoking setting, make up most of its business, they will ban smoking. Those people who must smoke while they eat will go to another restaurant that allows it. If a restaurant serves a profitable handful of smokers, it might keep a small smoking section, discreetly located and barely noticeable to most of its nonsmoking patrons.

Meanwhile, some restaurants—mostly bars, which are considered restaurants under Gov. Kaine's proposal—will allow smoking throughout the building. People who don't like smoke will go somewhere else. I know from talking with friends who hate smoke that there are a lot of wallet-votes ready for the counting by every smoke-free bar that opens.

I hope I have outlined to my opponent's satisfaction that restaurants can regulate their own smoking policies, ensuring that customers can choose from smoking, mixed, and nonsmoking establishments, far better than any government can. The burden is now on my opponent to show why the government is needed to do a job that I claim restaurants have done and will do themselves. I argue that the status quo is sufficient, and does not merit (inefficient) government intervention.

Source:
New York Times article on Judge's EPA ruling:
http://query.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 1
shades007

Pro

My opponent brought out some of my mistakes and hopefully I can use what he said to improve my argument. Yes, Bill Hicks did say that about smoking, but after smelling that person, would they not want to go to that restaurant again from fear of having that smell while they eat. My opponent brought up a good point about places with high ceilings. How does a higher ceiling solve that problem? It only prolongs the problem created by the smell, but he is right about how it reduces the affects of second hand smoking.

Now I shall begin my second round argument.

My opponent also seemed to miss that even the least amount of second hand smoke leads to adverse health effects. Thus, making smoke-free restaurants better for the health of the general population in Virginia. Non-smokers alone have an increased risk of 25-30 percent of getting heart disease and up to 20-30 percent of lung cancer. That is just for those who do not smoke. 3,000 non-smokers die from lung cancer and 35,000 die from heart disease, and these people never touch a cigarette, but are affected by the part of society that does smoke. Banning smoking in restaurants should decrease the number of deaths caused in the future.

Second hand smoke is considered a class A carcinogen because of the more than 4,000 chemicals in it, including formaldehyde, benzene, and hydrogen cyanide. I would also like to add that workers that smoke cause the employer to lose almost $1,000 a year in total excess and indirect health care costs. That can make or break a business in today's economy.

Also, people that work at bars are 11/2 times more likely to die from lung cancer than if public places like a bar were smoke-free. People who work in these bars and restaurants have the highest prevalence of smoke-related lung cancer. The 8 hours that these people work every day can be the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes.

Second hand smoke increases the death rate of non-smokers by 30 percent per 30 minutes. It also increases a non-smokers short-time risk of having a heart attack.

No properly conducted study shows a negative economic impact. Some even show that a smoke-free measure improves business. As evidence mounts about the dangers of secondhand smoke, so does the legal liability of employers—including restaurants.
In addition, here's what restaurant owners pay out of pocket by allowing smoking in their establishments:
- Higher maintenance expenses (carpets, drapes, cloths, paintwork)
- Higher insurance premiums (fire, medical, workers comp, liability)
- Higher labor costs (absenteeism, productivity)

Ventilation systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars may reduce odor, but fail to guard against secondhand smoke's real health dangers. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke; no feasible ventilation system can control the health risk from secondhand smoke.
KyleLumsden

Con

KyleLumsden forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
shades007

Pro

shades007 forfeited this round.
KyleLumsden

Con

First, I thank my opponent for engaging in this spirited debate with me. Public smoking is still an extremely controversial issue in America today, and hopefully we have offered some new perspectives on this particular point of contention to the readers of the debate.

I want to reconstruct my argument around a single statement from my opponent's second round argument:

"Some [studies] even show that a smoke-free measure improves business."

The reader will remember that my argument was that restaurants can serve the needs of their patrons far better than any government. If going smoke-free helps business, which is what my opponent has claimed, we can expect that more and more restaurants will go smoke-free in the near future. We are indeed in trying economic times, and no restaurant can afford to coast along doing what is not most profitable.

My opponent even concludes his arguments with a litany of costs that restaurants incur when they allow their patrons to smoke. He argues that restaurants waste huge sums of money by refusing to go non-smoking. It seems likely to me that as the economy gets tighter, more and more restaurants will make the shift to non-smoking--with no (expensive) government intervention required.

So, the reader should now be able to see that, for much of his argument, my opponent is actually making a good case that no government intervention is necessary. In other words, he is arguing for my side!

My opponent is clearly not arguing for my side when he lists any number of negative health statistics related to secondhand smoke, but neither is he naming the source from whence he drew these. A quick Google search reveals that at least one stat--that 3,000 non-smokers died from secondhand smoke--is from the very same discredited EPA source that he used in Round 1. Since he states no sources whatsoever, I have to assume that his other stats come from the same source--and are therefore equally spurious. After I objected to his source in Round 1, the burden was on him to make clear what sources he was using.

Even if there is a grain of truth to his data, his conclusion is erroneous. He claims that banning smoking in restaurants should decrease the number of future deaths, but this assumes that at least one person has died because of secondhand smoke inhaled in a restaurant, which is not clearly implied at all by the (questionable) stats he offers. If secondhand smoke is in fact able to kill nonsmokers, I would expect that the majority of the supposed 3,000 deaths come from nonsmokers who live with smokers and breathe smoke for much of the day, instead of from nonsmokers who spend, say, five hours tops a week in restaurants.

That brings us to his one solid argument, which is that people who work in restaurants, perhaps particularly the waiters and waitresses who are out on the floor with the smokers, are negatively affected by the secondhand smoke. I admit, I don't envy the people who have to work under these conditions. I don't pretend that secondhand smoke is an enjoyable thing at all, but lots of people work jobs under unenjoyable conditions. If the smell is too unpleasant, or the employee believes his or her health is at significant risk, he or she can quit and seek another job with more favorable conditions. If enough employees leave restaurants for these reasons, restaurants will have one more reason--on top of those diligently outlined by my opponent--to disallow smoking on their premises. Simultaneously, we may soon see employees willing to work in smoking conditions paid a premium.

Restaurants will maximize their profit, which every day becomes more and more dependent on disallowing smoking. Workers will maximize their happiness, which is a combination of satisfying work conditions and money earned. The free market can't work everything out, as we're seeing right now every day on the news, but this is one situation where it can. Let the government focus on other, less transparent problems. This problem, which has been in a process of alleviation for years now as restaurants cater to a public that has grown more and more hostile toward smoking, will be worked out naturally by the restaurants themselves.

My opponent has provided no solid sourced evidence that secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous, and has said much to help my own case. I strongly urge you to vote CON.

*Footnote: At one point, my opponent explains that a worker who smokes costs his or her employer an extra $1,000 a year. This raises some interesting questions, but is not within the scope of this debate, which is limited to whether a government should ban smoking in restaurants.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KyleLumsden 8 years ago
KyleLumsden
I heard on the radio today that the ban in its current incarnation excludes both private clubs and restaurants that are willing to block off completely a smoking section complete with an air filtration system.

Roy, that comment about the air quality outdoors is right on.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Good debate. Lack of references weakened both cases, but Pro had the burden of proof. Con argued convincingly,

Studies of smoking hazards are often bogus. To prove that cigars were as bad as cigarettes, they found a band of hardy Eastern Europeans who actually inhaled cigars, an extreme rarity.

Four independent studies have shown that smoking has no net health costs. Smokers do indeed die younger, and that saves as much as it costs. It's a wash.

In Silicon Valley, cigar bars installed clean room technology that scrubbed the air far cleaner than the air outdoors. There was absolutely no odor even two feet from a smoker. This eliminates all hazards of second hand smoke. The technology was actually not too expensive. Nevermind, smoking was still banned by the government.
Posted by Soccerfrk767 8 years ago
Soccerfrk767
i'm sorry not the fed, the state gov't... but not the fed either XD
Posted by Soccerfrk767 8 years ago
Soccerfrk767
It's not something the fed should be in on. Private businesses can ban smoking if they wish. If you're really scared of being affected by a secondhand smoke don't go to restaurants that allow smoking. I personally don't smoke and don't intend to, but i'm not going to stop someone who wants to...(as long as their legal lol)
Posted by SaraMarie 8 years ago
SaraMarie
Go Mr. Lumsden!
Posted by LoveyounoHomo 8 years ago
LoveyounoHomo
I gave dylan 2 Points =)
Good debate both ways
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
CRAP! I just flubbed up. The below is how I actually wanted to vote. Sorry.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Conduct - tie.
Before - Pro.
All others to Con
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
Good debate, on both sides.
Posted by LoveyounoHomo 8 years ago
LoveyounoHomo
Mr. Lumsden FTW

Good argument by Mr. L. I cant wait to see Dylans Rebut
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 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:06 
Vote Placed by shades007 8 years ago
shades007
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Vote Placed by SaraMarie 8 years ago
SaraMarie
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
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:07 
Vote Placed by LoveyounoHomo 8 years ago
LoveyounoHomo
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
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:25 
Vote Placed by jenwenska 8 years ago
jenwenska
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 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:06 
Vote Placed by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
shades007KyleLumsdenTied
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:07