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

The production and consumption of cigarettes should be stopped

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,151 times Debate No: 55130
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)




My view is that there is nothing good about cigarettes and that it should be banned all over the world. There are many smokers out there so I would like a debate to try to understand why they smoke, what they gain, and generally be enlightened as to why cigarettes have not been banned at all.

First round is for Acceptance only please.


Nice to be here. I accept your challenge.

Feel free to take in account that I am debating you on this, although I'm personally not a Smoker.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank You for accepting my challenge. Let me reiterate that this debate was created in order for me to get a better understanding of smokers. I am not preaching people should quit or feel bad as I believe what people do with their own money, time, and body is truly up to them. So let"s get into it.

The simplest definition of a "cigarette" is a combination of tobacco & chemicals rolled in paper. What are the chemicals we ask? We"ve all seen the pictures with the rat poison and tar that health organizations put out. So I wanted to get the content list from the tobacco companies themselves. Luckily, this had already been done. A compiled ingredient lists from 5 different tobacco companies submitted to the Dept. of Health was presented on this website ( This included some 599 additives which were indeed approved by the US Government as food additives but what is scary is that it also states that burning these additives released over 4000 chemical compounds of which 69 are known to cause cancer. Not only are these chemicals inhaled into the smoker"s lungs, they are released into their immediate surrounding environment for any other person, animal or plant to inhale.

Smokers and non-smokers alike do not seem to like the taste or smell of cigarettes unless it reminded them of someone they are fond of so I assumed it must be more to do with the feeling they get kind of like marijuana smokers and alcohol drinkers. So I read a neuroscience report from LiveScience ( [I tried looking for a scholarly paper on the neurological reasons behind feeling good after smoking but I couldn"t so I"m referencing this website] on smoking triggering chemicals in the brain that made one feel good. It showed findings from a study done by the University of Michigan which states that these are the same chemicals triggered by heroine and morphine which leads to a question why isn"t heroine or morphine available over the counter like cigarettes.
One positive comment I found about cigarettes is that it does indeed feel very good to smokers after a long day when you finally light one up on an appropriately named website called However, he does mention that this is the case once you are addicted. But rather than the feeling of smoking a cigarette, perhaps he is talking about the feeling addicts get when they get their "fix".

Other than health reasons, there is that argument about the tobacco industry creating jobs and tax dollars etc. Although this is true on some levels, one has to realize that just because the tobacco industry is gone, the money is not gone too. People spending money on cigarettes will use that money somewhere else. That other industry will start to rise, creating jobs and tax dollars. This is indeed shown in a paper by Amanda Sandford and Clive Bates about the effects of tobacco control policies (

Looking through these documents, I do not know why cigarettes have not been banned besides the sole purpose that tobacco companies flex their muscles and push governments to protect their profits. Profits made from slowly but surely killing people.


Thanks for the quick response. With university and work I am rather busy and I hope you don't mind that I sometimes rather freely use the time available for me to reply // I am now posting my unfinished draft, I have had laying around for a while and apologize honestly for that. I hope I can return with more quality for my next turn.

1 | Re-iteration

It's quite fine that you choose to re-iterate your original statement because it still says the same as it used to.
I would decline any actual changes because it would make this debate messy; not because I am generally picky ;)

2 | The Health Risks of Cigarettes

My opponent provided a solid argumentation about the approximately 3000 components of a cigarette that have negative effects on the smokers overall health and the known 69 that raise the cancer risk directly [1]. It would be embarrassing for me if I'd try to explain that there are enough or even any physical health benefits of smoking that justify this habit and I doubt that I anyone can be taken serious that argues that. I fully agree with your facts that major part of the smoking habit is an active threat for health.
There is a small fact that body cells renew [2] and that a moderate amount of damage is something the body is meant to deal with. As soon as someone is addicted or dependent most things become a threat the body cannot deal with anymore (Alcoholism, Sport, etc.) The main problem of cigarettes here is, that you are much easier to fall into addiction and the damage becomes therefore earlier worse. That this addiction risk is higher does not automatically means we need to illegalize them; it means people need to be more sensible for this risk and take it in account.

3 | Smokers don't like the taste either

Taste is something that changes with time Like you might have not liked coffee, even with a lot milk and sugar, when you were a kid, you might now enjoy the taste.
I don't want to encourage testing any probably addictive substance morally, but as this argument was rather perception and not fact based I feel like sharing my own experience of an interesting mind change between being an cigarette Virgin an the first time without becoming a Smoker. Two years ago I could not stand the taste of beer and wine so I did not drink alcohol at all. Lately I tried a crafty beer again and surprisingly enjoyed the taste. From a personal point I can honestly say that it's not true that you can only like cigarettes once you are addicted.

4 | Heroine and Morphine over the counter

Heroine and Morphine are rather young drugs for most western societies and don't have a cultural base. Meanwhile Smoking and Alcohol are certainly harmful but they have a tradition. This is not a general argument against a cigarette ban, but it gives an additional reason why it is more difficult to ban than younger substances. Heroine for example has no relationship to a persons tradition, while smoking for Turkish people is certainly related to a century old culture [3]. I should research, how much this goes for native Americans.

An additional thought to the problem of Heroine/LSD/Mushrooms compared to cigarettes: The availability of Marijuana in some states or the Netherlands is a good example that the legal lines for non-synthetic drugs are difficult to set: it's the government's duty to protect their citizens but it's not their duty to protect them from themselves
People that smoked a cigarette are not delusional to point where they are incapable of having a proper perception of reality and a threat to their environment. That's something that might happen with Heroine or (sometimes) Morphine or LSD. That's were one's own personal decisions become a societies problem (this argument is continued in 6| The fine line)

5 | Economical effects

Just because something can be economically abolished, because it's not of actual benefit or value it does not mean it should be.
Decoration and Fashion is usually just environmental-harming rubbish without any practical benefit yet a responsible amount is pleasuring enough to the eyes and emotionally beneficial to regard the moral problem an the personal benefit as balanced.

6 | The fine line

It's absolutely correct for the government to protect their citizens, from smokers:

- Smoking in front of children and smoking while pregnant needs to be legally considered as a strong case of child abuse
- Smoking in public indoor places needs to be legally prevented
- Organ Donations for Smokers needs to be controlled and if necessary rejected

But its not the government's right to prevent smokers from themselves

- An adult has every right to smoke as much in privet as they want.
- Especially people who consider smoking as part of their cultural inheritance
- Cigars, Pipes, etc. All are part of the 'problem' tobacco. But have a higher cultural acceptances.

7 | Personal Perception or a different way to think about it

Just because smoking is not in any way necessary, tasty or relevant to you personally it's part of cultural diversity and one's right to engage responsibility into risk.
I consider myself as someone who engages into smoking and drinking for the same reasons that I read books, have sex, eat sushi, watch movies, exercise and listen to music: for pleasure and diversity. Not all of these things are benefit for my health and some are potentially to absolutely harmful; but I if I can engage in all these things responsibly and knowing about the risks I can choose a limit that will keep the damage to a minimum that I am willing to take. Adults don't need to be babied by the government. Responsibility is something we need to learn and and be allowed to embrace, because it is required for desicions like voting and participating in democracy.

I don't want to promote the classical americanised slogan of "freedom" because that would be too easy. But one's body is ones own. And as long as one can keep a habit from from harming others, there is no need to illegalize it. While it also does not mean that harming others should be legal. But like for smoking, drinking, driving and having a electric saw, these things are separateable.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you Schachdame,

1|"That this addiction risk is higher does not automatically means we need to illegalize them; it means people need to be more sensible for this risk and take it in account."

When it comes to tobacco, it is not just the addiction risk; it is also the harm levels. A study by Professor David Nutt ranked drugs based on their physical damage, social harm and addictive properties combined and tobacco ranked 9th (alcohol ranked 5th but that is for a different debate) Among the list of 20 drugs, tobacco ranked highest in the kill count at over 100"000 deaths per year relating to tobacco. []

2| "From a personal point I can honestly say that it's not true that you can only like cigarettes once you are addicted."

Although I agree with your notion that taste is very subjective to the individuals own preferences, I would like to bring attention to 2 studies that showed alterations own taste buds in smokers. The study by Redington K. [] and Pavlos P. [] both showed the effects of smoking on people"s ability to taste. Therefore there is a chance that the bitter taste of cigarettes disappears not because the smoker begins to enjoy it, but because the smoke has damaged the taste buds to a certain extent.

3| "Just because something can be economically abolished, because it's not of actual benefit or value it does not mean it should be."

I totally agree with this sentence and to an extent when you say Decoration and Fashion is usually just environmental-harming rubbish but then again, there are now many regulations (pushed by PETA probably) that limit fashion companies [] (but again, this is a whole other debate). I also believe that if that product itself is killing over 100"000 people a year, then there is definitely some merit in looking at a revision of its legality.

4|"An adult has every right to smoke as much in privet as they want"

True. An adult has every right to make the decision they make even if it hurts them. Then why aren"t other drugs illegal. Why are tobacco and alcohol legal while it is higher above on the danger list [from argument 1] than 10 other illegal drugs? Why not make all of them legal? Doesn"t every adult have the right to inject as much heroine as they want? Don"t they have every right to sniff as much cocaine as they want? Why not?

5| "Especially people who consider smoking as part of their cultural inheritance"

Someone"s cultural tradition is not sufficient reason to legalize something. Say there are people of the Sambian tribe, they have a tradition in their culture where a boy turning into a man is put through what would be considered violent actions on himself and also to others []. Do we let this kind of violence happen because it is part of their tradition and they do it to themselves?

6| Just to add to the "one"s own choice" argument:

In 2011, cigarette companies spent $8.37 billion on marketing in the US alone. That is about $23 million per day! When you take that into account, is it really free choice or is there some kind of manipulation of the mind at work that keeps people thinking that smoking is "cool" and "traditional"?


Personal Note | Thanks for the response. The missing sources will be found at the end of this rebuttal. I am glad to be a part of this debate and I am looking forward to see who had a better conduct from the voter's point of view, because I really think we both did a good and polite job. Thanks for those reading, participating and Thanks to Pro.

1 | 100"000 death per year are too much too much to keep a substance legal

The majority of tobacco related deaths (not counting infants born by cigarette addicted mothers) are self-caused deaths. Especially the basic harm levels are a risk adults are able to understand. This means they can decide whether they want to smoke and whether they want to cross the line between a a cigarette a year or a pack a day.

Although I really like that this debate his so harmonic that we are able to admit if the other has point, I have to point out that you cannot acknowledge a single persons self-responsibility for smoking (- see Pro/ Round 3/ Argument 4 ) and state that the harm level means it should be banned anyway. In this case you need to explain where you draw the line between self-responsibility of smokers and the government's responsibility for smokers, because at the moment you support both, which is, in this case a contradiction.

2 | Natural and unnatural development of taste

It's an interesting, but not unexpected revelation, that excessive smoking can alter your taste perception. Because taste is something that develops over time and is not something you keep the way it was given to you from day one [4].
To whom is that mainly relevant? Teenagers that start smoking against their taste and start to like it then, because their taste still develops strongly and is influenced by the smoking habit. Under-aged smoking is not a reason to ban cigarettes because from a legal point are cigarettes already banned and unavailable for them. And that is of course a good thing because there is a difference between an adults self-responsibility and a teenager's.

But to be clear about that: Because, bitter can be tasty without being a smoker. Humans do reject bitter substances early in life as it is a natural instinct that intends to prevent us from poisoning plants. But especially people that eat vegetables, sour fruits and roots are more likely to get a positive relationship with bitterness [5]. One might say, that people with a generally healthy lifestyle are more likely to naturally enjoy the taste of cigarettes or that people with a unhealthy lifestyle are more likely to get a craving for the bitterness of cigarettes.

3 | Lifestyle and upbringing

Lifestyle and upbringing have therefore gained another interesting aspect for the smoking debate and might also explain why smoking is increasingly a problem for working class and beneath apart from e.g. the concept that smoking is mainly used instead of enjoyed in these social stratum [6]. So can citizens deal with the risks of smoking self-responsible? Obviously they can, if they are proper informed and properly educated.

Should the government therefore fight the problems of education and misguiding advertising or just ban the results of it's basic failures?

4 | Direct and indirect deaths

I will spare us all the articles about Indonesian children with severe health issues and death due to the toxic production of jeans and cheap clothing or animal drug testing reports. All these exist and and they all are indirect deaths and morally and social problems created by our daily lifestyle and choices. You already stated that there are organisations that fight for the rights of these minorities and that this is not part of the topic. But as we scratched this problem before I want to extend the idea to the point, that smoking is directly killing the smoker while other choices harm third parties that don't have a choice.
Talking about the importance of change I'd say we first need to take of those who cannot protect themselves and then think about how much we need to do for the individuals that engage in the risk knowingly.

5 | Culture and it's relevance

I die a little inside thinking that Bilbo and Gandalf are soon going to be bad role models and that I can use my fathers hand-rolled and crafty Cuban cigars for a last bonfire, but you are right that this for itself is not a sufficient argument for cigarettes. Although you cannot ban one without the other.
One might say that the Jewish circumcision is a more severe and painful cultural act done to infants that cannot even give consent, so you might see that abolishing something with a strong cultural background is going to create a bit chaos. Probably another reason why governments don't like to take that risk. It was easier to ban LSD and Cocaine before it became widely popular, that's why law and and risk are not always as linked as one might wish.

6 | Ideas from New Zealand

I lately spent a year abroad and I noticed for example that NZ does not sell you cigarettes the way I knew it from Germany. They don't show the cigarettes in the supermarkets and stores and they don't advertise them; if you want them you have to ask for them. And they are absurdly expensive. Not sure if this is an argument, but I have 15 minutes left to review this so I am going to say, it's something one might think about.

7 | Summary and Final words

Smoking and other legal and illegal substances all take part in the difficult decision whether we TRUST and EDUCATE our society and support it's development softly or whether we FORCE and CONTROL the society because we are unable to educate them and unable to control the economy that influences our society.

Banning is not the answer. The right and indirect enhancement of knowledge, social status and youth protection will decrease the cigarette addictions in total and are a way better and positive method than a ban.

[1] Spektrum, Gehirn & Geist, Journal, March 2011, Wege aus der Sucht (How to deal with Addiction), Grohman, Schweizer
[2] New York Times, August 2005, Your Body Is Younger Than You Think, Wade,
[3] Hurriyet, Smoking ban could be next victim of crisis, Erdeniz
[4] Hale, J. (2011). The Development of Food Preferences. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2014, from
[5] American Journal of clinical nutrition, Bitter taste, phytonutrients, and the consumer: a review (2000), Drewnowski, Gomez-Carneros;
[6] Richard Layte, The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin, Received September 1, 2006
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Yeah, I wasn't as clear as if I was sitting at the computer, but it got the job done.

Just to clarify your points.

* As for the body cells renewing. I don't count what is in sources as points, but rather what you put down on paper (or electrons as the case may be). To state something makes a minor point, but he could have really hammered you on that if he was focused. He would only have to bring up a cancer argument to note that the body does not naturally cell renew cancer away in many cases and hence the large number of cancer deaths...

* The whole taste thing was bad for Pro. He never established that a product that tastes bad should be legally banned from being produced and sold. As such he wasted valuable debating space on an irrelevant topic. I may not like protein bars. I may even find that the thought of eating them makes my mouth dry up and my stomach churn. However, I cannot say that the product should be legally banned on that basis.

* As for the advertizing issue. You dealt with that really well. You can argue that the government can justifiably limit the ability to promote a product that may have serious health consequences. By showing an example of this already being done is very effective.

Like in our debate - you make good points, but you don't seem to build the points out. As such instead of arguments, they come across as more of opinions. Now this can be somewhat effective when you are Con, but those are easily refuted. Fortunately, here Pro essentially did the same (or less). With him having the BOP he never really firmed up his arguments.

I view it like the walls on the old Gothic Churches. A vertical wall will stand, but it is weak. You buttress it from the outside, and add arches on the inside and one adds the diaphragm of the roof and that tipsy wall becomes incredibly solid. Likewise your debating style needs to have more supporting arguments or facts as reinforcement.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
Oh and Thanks! That was an amazing review. Especially if typed on a mobile advice. I already struggle to switch correctly between three different auto-correct and try to avoid problemas con el Korrektion. Not to talk about a full page feedback.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
@Geogeer probably I may answer some unasked questions:

* The sources in Round 2 went missing due to a technical fault of mine. Although it would be fine to critique that itself, I did include a source for the body cell renewing [2;]. It's not much better than Wikipedia and I'd totally take critique for the quality as well, but it's there.

* since cigarettes are at least partly consumed for their taste, one might say there is a reason for taking about it.
But mainly did Pro state in the first Round that he wanted to debate a Smoker to get an insight into that habit. So I assumed there would be personal interests in correcting the misunderstanding that one only smokes for the effects and never for the taste itself. And also: I have difficulty not-correcting something that I think is wrong. It's a pretty nasty habit because I get sidetracked and everyone else gets annoyed. So I kinda see your point there.

* And I obviously did not connect the dots that I think cigarette industry gets its power from being able to influence others into beginning or continuing an unhealthy habit. That's how this turned into a display-argument; as the resolution (should have been) (was) that less display and advertising weakens an abusive business strategy while not banning the product itself. Next time I'll try to clear the path of thoughts for other's to follow.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Part 2...

Sorry I'm typing this out on my iPad so it is in reverse order...

Con final critique deals with other drugs. Her criteria seems based on natural vs. synthetic and the immediate state of delirium that the drug put one in. Pro had already stated that there are thousands of chemicals added to cigarettes, so the natural aspect IOC this argument is somewhat nullified.

Pro comes back with a study stating that tobacco ranked 9th for combined addictive and social issues. And then goes on to state that alcohol is 5th. DON'T DO THAT! Pro has thus partially nullified his own argument. Now while it can easily be argued that because it isn't as bad doesn't mean it is good, but it doesn't help your case any. Pro goes on to state that there are over 100,000 tobacco related deaths every year. Now we are getting somewhere! Wait, no we aren't. Is that 100,000 in England, in the US, world wide, in Chicago? A number without context is only a minor point and much easier to refute.

Arguing about other things that may or may not be worse (child factories) than smoking is a red herring and ignored.

Pro attempts to rebut the other drugs issue, but instead of rebutting, he simply asks semi-rhetorical questions. Asking questions in return is not a rebuttal especially when you are Pro with a sizeable portion of the BOP.

Pro's argument that a cultural heritage alone is insufficient to legalize something - which is true. However, he kind of leaves this argument hanging without a direct rebuttal to the cultural heritage of smoking. I count this as a partial rebuttal.

Con finishes the debate noting that pro has not stated a clear threshold for when the state should intervene. As con cannot respond to this it is only taken as consideration - however it is partially effective ad Pro already noted that alcohol is more socially damaging than cigarettes.

While I believe that Pro could have won this debate with more pointed arguments, I do not believe he met the BOP.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
As an aside, I've never smoked and never will, nor do I think people should smoke - especially cigarettes. I do however have a great fondness for the smell of a good pipe.


An interesting debate. First of all I give no credence to the taste issue. Why did each side waste so much space on this? If cigarettes tasted like excrement covered in bile it wouldn't be justification to make them illegal - nor was it ever shown that bad taste is sufficient to ban a product from the market.

Likewise the economic argument is of no benefit to Pro. This was at best a pre-emptive defence on the part of Pro. (Con could have probably pushed here and made some points as there were major assumptions on Pro's part). This morphed into advertising removing free choice, which con countered with her New Zealand example (it is the same here in Canada).

Thus the debate was reduced down to the 3 main and interlinked arguments. Health (death), comparison to other drugs, and personal rights and freedoms.

Normally I don't recommend that debaters should concede points, however in this case con conceding a certain amount of damage makes the remainder of her appeal sound more reasonable. The question is was it reasonable. Her first counter to health was that the body renews. I give this little credit because this was not supported with any evidence, but merely stated.

Cons second argument is much more effective in that it should be restricted to adults and not permitted around children, indoors and possibly going so far as to limit the level of medical intervention provided to this self inflicted damage! This is very effective and pro completely let it slide. She attempts to build of of this with a cultural argument. For me the cultural argument holds a marginal sway and was weakly supported. Con adds the right of people to engage in risk if they so choose. While this is not unlimited, it is a very strong argument.

Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
I'll vote on this in a day or 2.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
damn, I forgot the sources [x]. I was going to number them further anyway so you get a full list after the next post. Sorry about that; I was short on time this weekend.
Posted by Mr_Soundboard 2 years ago
Smoking isn't banned because it makes very few people very very rich.

Part of my student selected component in medicine was a module on lung cancer and the course was basically designed as a social interaction with members of the public and to raise awareness of the physical downsides to smoking.

I went and spoke to university students, primary school students, college students and the elderly and after my damning presentation of just how bad cigarettes are physically and financially, every single one of these groups asked me the same question, "why doesn't the government just ban it?" More than a few of these people were even smokers lol
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ajab 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Not that I was asked, but I am going to remove my vote as this is not my field of expertise.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm not exactly sure how con is losing this. At best pro argues that there isn't much positive benefits, but fails to connect that with a reason they should be banned. What precedence is there? How do we determine what needs banning? These and many other points that needed covering, were largely ignored. Con should have hit on this a little more, but she was too focused on her arguments and not focused enough on rebuttals. Pro's rebuttals were seriously lacking. They consisted of mainly examples that weren't relevant to the resolution. Drug use, and tribal rituals are outside of the realm of this debate. Unjust actions by the state yesterday, don't justify the actions today.