The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
15 Points

This house would not ban smoking #1

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,486 times Debate No: 29145
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)




My previous debate on this topic was forfeited so here I go again.

I will be the Pro in this motion and I will carry the burden of proof to show why smoking should not be banned.

The rules for each around is as follows.

R1: Acceptance
R2: Arguments from both sides (Only arguments)
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Counter-attacks
R5: Final Argument (without Rebuttals)
I look for a great debate.

I am going to open four debates on the same topic to investigate the aspect in this field more widely.


I'd like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to discuss this important issue. It's been a long time since I've done a drug-related moot so this should be fun. It's also especially good to be debating somebody on this half of the Pacific.

I completely agree to my opponent's rules in this debate. I'll be interpreting them kind of loosely, more as guidelines for what each round is generally for than a prescriptive exact rule for every single sentence. "Counter-attacks" sounds the same as "rebuttals" to me so that's what I'll just assume.

My position in this debate is simple - the government should totally criminalize the inhalation of significant quantities of tobacco, cannabis, and other harmful drugs. No, it isn't about smoking fish or spontaneous human combustion. My guess is that this debate will mostly focus on tobacco, but I'll affirm the principle nonetheless. The law would be structured and enforced in a similar way to how most countries around the world enforce their drugs policies, with appropriate local variations in some jurisdictions to improve the impact of the policy. With that in mind I don't think this debate should be limited to any single country, but should take on more of a global perspective on the issue of smoking.

At this point it's probably entirely self-evident that I accept my opponent's challenge. I look forward to a fun, interesting and thought-provoking challenge, and wish my opponent very good luck for this debate.
Debate Round No. 1



Human beings ban activities and object that cause grave harm to the society and individuals. There are laws to ensure members of society do not harm others and these laws are regulated so the purpose of their existence is actually served. This debate comes from this notion, that no one should harm others. Harmful substances such as cocaine and heroin are prohibited since they can ruin lives of people and weaken the fabric of the society. Other than those two, there is endless list of so-called “illegal drugs”. This debate will focus on if cigarette – a substance seen everywhere – should join the league of “illegal drugs”.

The definition of ban in this debate would be if cigarette should be removed completely. In this debate, I will Pro the motion that “This house would not ban smoking”, where I will defend cigarettes. The setting of the debate would not matter because the main essence of this debate would remain identical anywhere. My opponent is free to challenge this place setting though.


Though I am not a smoker myself, I firmly oppose the notion of banning smoking due to three reasons: that they are unenforceable, that they limit citizen’s freedom and cigarette industry brings practical benefits.

Argument 1: Unenforceable Nature of the Motion

There are about 43.5 million smokers in the US solely. In the same country, 21.5% of men and 17.3% of women are smokers [1]. Cigarette is undeniable everywhere in modern society. Just about every convenient stores, newsletter kiosks and supermarkets sell tobacco. Cigarette industry is an industry that has a size of few hundreds of billion dollars. In some occasions, cigarettes are also handmade with rolling paper and cigarette leaves. From these factors, we can already see that cigarettes are easily acquired and easily made as well. When cigarette is so abundant in quantity, it is very unrealistic to enforce a cigarette ban. Passing of the ban would primarily be unrealistic. Giant tobacco companies worth billions and billions would oppose the ban with every resource they can afford. For the sake of argument, let’s assume tobacco companies decided to forsake their lucrative business and became philanthropists by miracle. Even then, we face predicament of having to sabotage all tobacco farms and infrastructures. When that happens, incredible amount of stockpile of this new illegal drug would have to be disposed and be taken care of. These few things are already unlikely to happen. But even under assumption that they happen, the ban would still have to be regulated. Are we saying we are going to place police officers in public places to follow track of cigarette smoke and arresting smokers?

Again, for the sake of argument, let us imagine we live in world with cops chasing for cigarette smoke and tobacco companies became nice enough to forsake their multibillion corporations. Cigarette ban would still be ineffective since it will open up a black market. India bans cigarette from other international brands and this action enforced by Indian Government was admitted by the government (Tobacco Institute of Indian States [2]) to only result in an exponential increase of these banned cigarettes being smuggled in. Banning cigarette is fundamentally unenforceable and purposeless. Even by miracle, if total ban of cigarette actualized, the ban would not serve its purpose since market of contraband will emerge as seen in similar case of India.

Argument 2: Individual Freedom

The argument behind the ban of smoking is that cigarettes cause harms. Nevertheless, every single smoker is well aware of danger of cigarette. In many countries, cigarette companies are required to leave a warning message on their cigarette pack regarding the danger of smoking. Often, they are also required to illustrate the message with gore pictures of victims of excessive smoking.

These are some mild examples. It is understandable why this idea of banning cigarette emerged. But it is evident that harm of cigarette is being well-informed to smokers themselves as well. Already, smokers are restricted in many ways so that they do not harm others. By law, smoking in airplane is forbidden. Many public bathrooms have “no smoking” signs. Most restaurants forbid smoking too. Freedom of smokers is already restricted to a level so that they cannot cause grave damage to others. Any further actions against smokers would be persecuting and demeaning the freedom of about 20% of a nation in the case of USA. It is a choice of lifestyle and a personal freedom. Law can prevent smokers from harming others. But law cannot step further and stop responsible adults from harming themselves. Attempting to help smokers from harming themselves can be done with a better alternative of “educating” which also fits the principle of democracy. If a government truly aims to protect smoker, they should consider something that is against the spirit of democracy and is unenforceable in the first place but consider campaign against smoking. The purpose of banning cigarette seems aimless.

Argument 3: Practical reasons to not ban smoking

The fundamental purpose of banning smoking seems to be missing. Not only this, there are also practical harms of banning cigarette. As shown above, cigarette industry is a gigantic industry that brings billions of profit to tobacco companies. Top 6 tobacco companies in US added up together generated about $346.2 billion of market revenue and they profited about $35.1 billion in 2010 [3]. Banning cigarette would place cigarette companies out of business and would also place countless employers of a huge industry out of work. Harm of cigarette companies going bankrupt is not only limited to personal loss of employers. Thriving tobacco industry resulted in astronomical amount of tax revenue. When an industry that thrives collapses, annual tax revenue of about $17 billion will disappear. As soon as total ban on smoking comes into action, all the tobacco companies will disappear along with $17 billion of tax revenue.


Banning cigarette is unrealistic. Adding on to that, there are issues with individual rights and freedom of banning smoking if this ban is to be passed. But on top of such a problematic action, there are also practical harms caused by such action. These problems that total ban on smoking carries are too significant and destructive to be seen as collateral damages to solve a social problem. In fact, total ban is not even the best answer if there is a problem to address. All in all, I am proud to oppose a ban that demeans freedom, hurts a country’s economy and is ineffective.




As I suspected, my opponent bases their whole argument around a single industry - cigarettes. This is despite the fact that my opponent concedes cigarettes are harmful, and agrees that when something causes "grave harm" it should be outlawed. I agree with both of these things too, so they're not what this debate is about. This debate is about whether the harms of smoking tobacco are great enough to warrant making it illegal.

Per my opponent's strange rules, I must reserve my rebuttals until next round. I'll keep this round short since my opponent has the burden of proof and I want to emphasize my rebuttal a little more.


Yes it is ( Quitting smoking is really, really hard. That's why many governments need to subsidize support services for those wishing to quit. A smoker will develop a natural resistance to smoking over time, and thus increase their usage of cigarettes to get the same addictive effect. This isn't a rational choice people make - cigarettes have literally altered the smoker's brain to make them want cigarettes.


This has been known for over a century. Here's a pretty picture from 1905 proving the point:

There is an almost exact correlation that I have noticed between smoking rates and the degree of education in any given country. The more you know about cigarettes, the more you realize that there isn't one good reason to smoke them. Lung cancer is the world's leading cause of death. More than 80% of all lung cancer has been linked to smoking. I don't think I need to give you a long, graphic and gruesome description of just how bad it is for smokers (although if you need one, you can find one here: because we already know this stuff. More people die from it in the US than every other drug (including alcohol), cars, AIDs, suicides, homicides and fires combined ( The evidence is overwhelming. Smoking literally causes "grave harm".


Most people who smoke start in their teens, and most teens who smoke do it to look cool or adult ( There is no other real reason to pick up smoking because it's an acquired taste - believe it or not the taste of cigarettes is even worse than the smell for a non-smoker. These motivations often change as the person gets older (mostly due to the addiction factor as the brain attempts to rationalize the habit), but the fact that older people still do it keeps it cool enough for another generation to keep going with it. The costs are massive, and the benefits are ephemeral at best. Properly understood, smoking confers no benefit at all. This is why despite the addiction, almost 70% of US smokers want to kick the habit right now (


Right now, the cigarette industry is controlled by a few big multinationals like Philip Morris and Reynolds American ( These companies make lots and lots of money off the backs of smokers - money that's not being invested into local businesses, into the community, or into improving the smoker's lives in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, ordinary folk like me have to pay for the hospitals when smokers get sick (as they often do). When smokers die young (which they do twice as often), they're not able to work anymore, meaning a loss of skills and labor that hurts the economy more. Aside from the almost hegemonic control that big tobacco exerts over the third world, taking their little money to sell them death, this represents a significant malinvestment on the part of everyone involved.

Aside from money, it is often forgotten that smoking takes a great deal of time. When a smoker feels the urge to smoke during work, for example, that's time that they're not working. For teenagers who start smoking, they're not in school. Smokers aren't outside cleaning up the streets or inside writing novels, because they're too busy poisoning themselves.


Yes, secondhand smoke is actually a thing. Breathing in any other person's smoke - however little, however briefly - puts your health in jeopardy also. Any dispersion of the smoke in the air is almost completely countered by the fact that you're not breathing the smoke through a filter. After smoking the chemicals can linger for days and even latch onto surfaces around the house, negating the effects of ventilation if available. It is as easy to detect a smoker's home as it is a meth lab. The chemicals here are even more deadly - ordinary tobacco smoke contains around 40 carcinogens, while secondhand smoke contains over 70 ( Oftentimes others do not have a choice and must enter the home of a smoker. This may be anyone from government workers to the smoker's own children.

Communities are also torn apart indirectly. Families with a smoker will often hate that smoker's habit due to the costs on the rest of the family. Non-smokers will often want to disassociate from smokers. Having "smoking" and "non-smoking" areas segregates people. Even the mere presence of a smoker in the neighborhood might be taken to be unsightly to some, which is part of why smoking is already banned in many universities and restaurants.


If we put aside the fact that what my opponent told you last round was all wrong, as I look forward to justifying in my rebuttal next round, I believe I have demonstrated sufficient harms to prove that smoking is harmful enough to warrant making it illegal. As we both agree something that is sufficiently harmful should be made illegal, we must logically accept that where cigarettes are posing such a great harm as they are under the status quo, they must be banned.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for this engagement in this debate. As the rule of debate states, I will proceed with rebuttal to Con’s argument. Before that, I’d like to amend to what Con said is the essence of the debate. It is very true we should discuss if the harm of cigarette is bad enough for it to be banned. But we also cannot forget to evaluate the plausibility of the motion.

Rebuttal 1: Addiction

The addictive nature of cigarette can be defended in few aspects. I will show why we can’t simply argue that smoking is not a rational choice made by people. It is an excuse. Firstly, not everyone is required to smoke. Individuals make cognitive and decisive movement to start smoking. It is true that some cases individuals get into smoking due to peer pressure but they still have the final say to smoke or not. Secondly, smokers will be frequently suggested not to smoke by parents, spouses, children or even friends. Smokers are given opportunities and reasons as to why they might stop smoking. It is not like smokers are left alone, being driven only by their desire to smoke. Smokers are also fully aware of harms of cigarette. By choosing to continue smoking habit despite advices from loved ones and full comprehension to the harm, the action of smoking is pretty rational. Thirdly, smokers do not have to smoke. There are nicotine patches, nicotine gums, and electronic cigarettes that helps a smoker in many different ways to abstain from smoking. Government and cigarette company also launches program to help people suffering from addiction. There are alternatives, programs, family, friends, children and loved ones that will encourage and help in one’s process of quitting smoking. One has to ignore all these factors to be still smoking. It is not a valid excuse to say “it’s addictive” to provide reasons why so many people fail to abstain smoking.

Rebuttal 2: Fatalities

Now the figure that Con gave regarding deaths caused by cigarette is very questionable. Drug-related deaths figures are very often inaccurate since it depends on method the victim consumed. In most cases, death with victims that had two or more kinds of drug at the point of death counts for all the drugs that were seen in the body [1]. Not only that, it is impossible to confirm cigarette usage was the direct cause of death. I do not disagree that cigarette is very harmful to health. Nevertheless, it is only an indirect cause. We can’t know if the critical reason of death was solely due to smoking habit. Moreover, smokers do not die within just a year of smoking. It takes decades and decades for one’s health to be increasingly deteriorated just because of cigarette. During the decades, one has countless reasons and chances to quit smoking. They can always quit if they try really hard. Referring back to the motion, we need to discuss if the harm is enough. I have shown that the number my opponent gave is inaccurate to begin with and also showed it takes decades and decades for one’s health to be at risk purely because of smoking habit. Try eating McDonalds every day for 40 years. Won’t that cause so-called ‘deaths” as well?

Rebuttal 3: Society

Con gave interesting argument regarding how smoking hurts society. His point “smoking is expensive” and “smoking ruins communities” both falls under this category.

On his point “smoking is expensive”, he complained that ordinary citizen will have to pay for hospitals for smokers while he advocates and protects the society. This is a contradiction because smokers are part of the society as well. They deserve to be treated in hospitals. Complaining to pay tax to cure victims of cigarette is already very anti-social. Are smokers not citizen? They in fact make up around 40% of the entire population of the US. When nonsmokers get sick, won’t they be treated with tax that smokers paid? Smokers create huge tax revenue. Regardless, they do not complain about tax revenue they created being used for other purposes. Cigarette is not also a direct cause to diseases. Just about anyone can get sick. One has to contribute to the society to benefit.

Moving on to the argument that smoking ruins communities through means of second hand smoking, I have a very simple alternative. Prohibit them in public places like we are doing right now. In the case of Gangnam District of Seoul, smoking is banned on roads [2]. Restaurants have discretion to prohibit smoking as well. Potential harm that cigarette might inflict on society can be prevented very easily. Now regarding how smoking splits family, I would just like to say normal families won’t separate just because of one habit. That is not the spirit of family. You forgive, tolerant and persuade.

Through discipline and humanity, social harms that smoking inflicts can be and are already eliminated.

Rebuttal 4: Personal Freedom

My opponent questioned the point of smoking in the first place. Smoking is a recreational habit that might help one release stress and can also serve as socializing method just like alcohol. But regardless, it is very irreverent and the reason why “point of smoking” relates back to my previous argument. It is spirit of democracy. No matter how pointless an action can be, it is up for individuals to decide. Smoking, which can be harm-free to the society under disciplines, should not be banned just because it is allegedly pointless when it is not pointless. We ban things that cause harm to society. I have shown smoking can be arranged to cause minimal harm to the society. I also have shown that deaths related to smoking are inaccurate. Now it is up for individuals to decide if they want to smoke or not. We don’t just ban things.

I wait for my Con’s defense and rebuttal to be previous argument.





I thank pro for their rebuttals. In this round I'll focus on rebutting my opponent's material.


I agree tobacco is unenforceable. Black markets will happen. Just because a law is unenforceable does not mean it should not be banned, though. Governments have long banned all manner of drugs - from marijuana to heroin - which continue to be consumed around the world today. Government bans have not stopped murder, domestic violence, theft, arson, or pretty much any other terrible crime on the books. For that matter, the same goes for non-terrible crimes.

Even so, just because it is unenforceable does not mean it will have no effect if it is banned. Banning smoking would create a social stigma against smoking, that it is "wrong" or "illegal". Heavy smokers could not really function in society without giving up the habit. Moreover, banning all smoking makes it a lot easier to enforce. One of the big problems with banning marijuana has always been that it is visually difficult to distinguish a marijuana cigarette from a tobacco cigarette, but the action of smoking is fairly unique and easy to identify. This all provides a strong disincentive both to starting smoking and continuing the habit. This is why we ban things at all when they are massively harmful - besides sending a clear message that society never endorses it, the fear of being prosecuted and removed from all they love may just be enough to convince a hopelessly addicted smoker to end the habit.

All this would be true even if smokers were never actually caught, just like many users of other drugs are presently caught. If smokers are caught, then that multiplies all the incentives to quit, and besides that there are nice rehab facilities available for them to be sent to.

Individual Freedom

It is a fallacy to say that smoking is simply a natural right. It is not - the existence of cigarettes creates the right, and that existence is premised on government approval. The goal of government has never been to maximise individual freedom, but rather to limit it when justified. That's why we have these things called laws. Every single law inherently limits freedom in some way. Since pro has already accepted that such limitations on freedom can be justified in cases where the harms associated with that freedom are sufficient, individual freedom cannot be taken as an excuse for commodifying death.

The role of the government is not simply to disseminate information about making good decisions. Everyone from charities to churches do that already. For example, the vast majority of democracies do not allow false advertising, despite the fact that nobody other than the consumer is directly harmed. To prevent serious harms, sometimes the government needs to step in and limit your personal freedom.

This is also relevant to my addiction point. While not denying smoking is addictive, pro claims smoking is a choice. What I am saying is that this "choice" is not "freely made". This is why most smokers do want to quit, but also why so few do. The whole point of protecting choices is also to protect the ability to go back on those choices, not merely provide that ability like pro suggests governments should do, and are doing already. It clearly is not sufficient, because right now the majority of smokers have lost their ability to choose - they have chosen to stop smoking, but they can't help it. The fact that the addiction is so strong that it happens in spite of all the government, family and friend support that smokers get, as pro correctly demonstrates, only strengthens the point that smoking is highly addictive. Freedom of choice is therefore not a valid excuse for allowing smoking - smoking is an act that undermines that individual's right to choose.


In Africa, there has recently been a large movement to help farmers convert their farms from tobacco to maize, which both earns the farmers more money and helps drive up tobacco prices. Now they're starting to fare much better. The biggest harm has actually come from the tobacco crop itself, which ruins the soil and has thus contributed to many of the great famines in Africa. There is no reason why farmers could not transition to more high-yield crops. This is why tobacco production is relatively rare in the first world.

The actual manufacturing process of cigarettes is almost entirely automated. There are no huge job losses. A really big machine simply puts the tobacco on a long line, rolls paper around it, and cuts it into cigarette-sized pieces. As the process has continually become more automated over the last 30 years, more and more jobs have already been lost. Compared to other industries, transitioning out of tobacco is not hard at all as tobacco manufacturing involves very few specialised skills.

The biggest loss will be made by the filthy rich executives of these companies, their sly marketers, and deadly lawyers. Lawyers and marketers can transition to plying their trade legitimately in other sectors, using their considerable experience in working with tobacco. Executives have it harder, but at least they would retain their wealth.


Pro claims smoking is only a "contributing factor" in death. The point is that smoking seriously increases the risk of dying in the near future. The evidence is clear that smokers are much more likely to suffer from diseases. We also know that it's statistically impossible for these smokers to have had these diseases at their age were it not for their habit. Why? Because the science is that tobacco smoke is poisonous in hundreds of different ways. It isn't just a lifetime of smoking that can kill you. A single, secondhand exposure is enough to cause cancer. We now have more than enough evidence that cigarettes are the single most deadly product that people can buy at a supermarket, being directly implicated in more deaths than every other product combined, and that includes alcohol (negating his point that other drugs aid the process of cigarettes killing). The link to lung cancer, for example, is undeniable - almost every lung cancer patient is a smoker. Yes, eating a lot of McDonalds will harm you, but at least there is a safe level of McDonalds consumption. The same is not true for tobacco.

Far too many people die from it, and for what?


Pro gives two reasons to smoke. First, to socialise. I dealt with this point in my last round. Second, to release stress. This is because smoking poisons your brain's ability to be stressed. This is hardly a benefit. My opponent's claims that it's irrelevant simply fall flat - there is no benefit to outweigh the massive costs to society that are caused by smoking.


Pro notes smokers have the right to demand money from me for their habit to allow me to be social. In doing so, he concedes smoking has harms on others. It's true that getting sick generally hurts society quite a lot, which is why it's so bad that smokers tend to get sick a lot more than everyone else. Pro's only other counter was the government gains in tax revenue may in part offset this cost, which is true in terms of the cost of the hospital bed - but not the economic cost to the rest of society as a whole, nor the cost in terms of time, nor the cost of patients who are denied hospital beds because the hospitals are full of terminally ill smokers. What's really anti-social here is smoking.


Pro agrees smoking should be prohibited in public. Remember that according to the resolution he must defend that smoking should never be banned, so this amounts to a concession. Moreover pro does not respond to the point that often people NEED to be with a smoker in their private space, such as in the case of a smoker's children.

Disassociation is not anti-social if it is justified. In this case, I cannot think of any stronger reason to disassociate from someone than that they are anti-social enough to try to kill themselves and everyone around them by smoking death sticks.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3


I thank Con his well-crafted round. The debate basically came down into few clashes. I will proceed in systematic order.

Clash 1: Harm and its collateral damage

Both sides talked about harm of cigarette how it is enough or not enough to cause a ban. Under this category, Con argued 1) that cigarette is causing so much harm already, 2) that it is unfair to treat diseases that might resulted from cigarette and 3) that cigarette harms others.

On Con’s first point, he gave death rate of cigarette. Nonetheless, such figure is very questionable since cigarette cannot be a direct cause of death despite it increases chance. Also, taking from the fact that 40% of citizens (US) are smokers, the number cannot be seen as drastic. Please remember that it is nearly half that chooses to smoke. In usual cases, it also takes a smoker few decades for the smoker to result in possible disease and we are talking about those who smoke a pack each day. Viewing the usage rate and frequency of usage, cigarette fundamentally is not harmful enough to be categorized illegal. By the time a normal 20 year old smokers to reach the age where they can incur disease due to their smoking habit for 4~5 decades, their death cannot simply be seen as death due to cigarette but also due to old age. Smoking might contribute partially to their life that ended 10 years earlier but just shortening one’s life few years after an entire life of usage cannot be seen dangerous enough.

On Con’s second point, he complained about having to pay for patients that incurred disease due to cigarette. While I re-emphasize that cigarette can only contribute in causing diseases, I state that not all 40% of the entire citizen which is smoker end up in hospital and that at such old age, smokers or nonsmokers will both end up in hospital due to old age since it is pretty obvious that it takes very long time for cigarette to inflict disease on ordinary people. It is increasing risk of disease at far-future which we know already that just about anyone face higher risk of disease at far-future. We don’t know if a 70 year-old grandfather who is a smoker would not end up in the hospital if he never smoked in his life. Old age already causes vulnerability. Smoking habit merely contributes. It is likely that even nonsmokers would be hospitalized and my Con would need to pay for their medicine as well. Smoking habit merely contributes. But on the other hand, when my Con gets a seriously disease for some reason, smokers will pay for his medical fee. We have to give to receive. That is the spirit of society. Blaming everything on cigarette is fallacious. Also on the same point, I do not understand why anyone will complain having to pay for medical feel. Out of annual tax that one pays each year, only minimal portion is used for Medicare. Additionally, major disease that cigarette allegedly causes which is lung cancer is a disease that are often insurance at a very low rate. In the case of Korea, lung cancer patients face serious economic burden. I don’t see any reason why Con would want to complain.

On Con’s third point regarding community, there is a huge misunderstanding. I never defined this topic as to argue smoking should never be banned but my definition was that cigarette should not be banned completely. On the other hand, I have proved there can be other measures that are less drastic, sacrificing, efficient and unforeseeable that does not include total ban of cigarette which shows Con failed his BOP. Cigarettes are banned at public places. That is enough. Smokers are no longer allowed to smoke in places where they can infuse dissatisfaction. On cases where nonsmokers have to be with smokers like cases of family, I do not see any cases where a family would wish to split just because of a member’s smoking habit. It’s a family. Families are supposed to discuss, forgive, sacrifice and love. US court also denies smoking habit as legitimate reason for divorce. Smokers and companies are already oppressed enough. In Korea, cigarette companies are not even allowed to launch a sports team. Their advertisements are very often sanctioned by media and government. Do we really want a reverse discrimination?

Clash 2: Balancing between reason to keep and reason to ban

This category was also dealt very broadly. Con and I argued mainly on three aspects under this category: individual freedom and loss of ban.

On matter regarding individual freedom, Con argued since cigarette is so harmful and it is also addictive, tyrannical actions such as total ban of cigarette is justifiable. Both premises that Con’s idea forms on are inaccurate. Firstly, Con argued since cigarette is causing so much death for no reason, it should be banned. Nevertheless, Con failed to show exactly how cigarette is so bad and as bad as other drugs like cocaine. The truth is cigarette is not nearly as bad as drugs categorized as illegal. As I have explained, deaths due to cigarette are highly inflated and inaccurate. But not only that, cigarette usually causes far-future harms. It’s usually senior citizens that die indirectly by smoking. A string of time is taken for one’s continued smoking habit to cause serious harm. By the time cigarette normally affects one’s health substantially; one is most likely already at the age facing death. Research shows cigarette shortens about 10 years of one’s life. That much of harm is not nearly bad as other illegal drugs. Secondly, Con argued smoking is no longer choice of individuals. I argue there are un-ignorable rate of smokers who smoke on irregular basis. Those people choose to smoke on some occasions. Those who smoke daily, as Con said, they have people who has to be exposed to their smoking habit like a family. It is very widely known fact that families ask a smoking member to stop smoking. Each year, many smokers start the year off by deciding to quit smoking. There is rehabilitation system if one desires. But on top of that, there are harmless alternatives to assist in process of quitting. People do have the choice to smoke. Smokers buy cigarettes themselves. It is a rational decision to walk to the store, choose the type of cigarette and pay. There are cigarettes with weaker degree of nicotine as well. It is a rational choice though I admit that for smokers, it is very tempting to smoke. Banning something that does not inflict harm that is anywhere near illegal drugs and something that people can in fact quit is state tyrannical. It is just like obesity. I am sure nearly or more than 70% of obese people would want to quit overeating but they enjoy eating when they eat fast food. It is beyond doubt smokers enjoying smoking. The harm is not nearly enough to call for ban.

Second point under this category is the part where government explicitly imposes state tyranny. Con marginalized loss of individuals in the cigarette industry. However, it is not a minute loss. What else can be said about individuals losing their work, their clients and their company that they built their entire life? I have proven that harm of cigarette is not nearly enough for it to be banned. When it is not enough at all, it is tyrannical for government to shutdown companies.

Clash 3: Unenforceable

On top of the fact that cigarette is in fact not as harmful as the prejudice and governments do not have legitimate reasons to ban cigarette, it has also been proven that there is huge loss of money, job and democracy in this motion. Now, I want to argue on top of all those facts, banning cigarette is simply unenforceable. Con explained that is why law exists. Laws cannot protect everything but it symbolizes. I want to ask why cigarette has to be symbolized as wrong or illegal. I proved reasons as to why cigarette cannot be categorized as illegal drugs. Banning cigarette is not only tyrannical, but it is also something that we can’t even start, enforce and regulate.

Cigarette ban is unjustifiable, tyrannical and impossible.



I thank my opponent for his continued rebuttals. Following his lead I too will structure this more thematically, although I see the points of clash a little differently.

1) Is smoking really that bad?

Pro has time and time again tried to tell you that smoking is, at most, a minor contributing factor in the deaths of some smokers. This could not be further from the truth. First of all, non-smokers die too. My opponent seems to be unwilling to engage with this. In the USA, that causes over 46,000 cases of heart disease every year ( You heard that right - causes. The idea that tobacco smoke, a multi-carcinogen, does not "cause" disease is about as correct as saying that arsenic doesn't kill you. Of course there is a small chance that a given person will survive a dose of arsenic, but the point is that taking arsenic makes death a near-certainty - and when it happens, arsenic can be isolated as the cause. Similarly, smoking, while not always as immediately deadly (a good thing for the tobacco companies), kills people. That's not to say that smoking is NEVER immediately deadly - and I must reiterate here that a single exposure to even secondhand smoke can cause cancer. It is not merely a contributing factor. And even if it was, it is not a minor problem - one in five US citizens is killed by smoking ( That means the coroner has actually gone through on one in five dead bodies and said "no, this is not a case of death by old age or anything else - smoking is responsible for this person's death." The same thing can be proven with statistics, as I have explained in previous rounds and my opponent has ignored.

Even if smoking did not kill you, however, the fact that smokers get sick all the time is bad enough. In the USA the cost to the healthcare system alone is $35 for each pack of cigarettes smoked (, which last I checked is around double the total price of such a pack, let alone the tax revenue. The 10 years figure pro cites is misleading because it's an average. This average is naturally pulled down by much younger people than those in their 70s getting diseases. This cost has been downplayed by my opponent as borne by smokers also - bear in mind that the $35 is a marginal figure (so that's how much MORE expensive they are than me per pack that they smoke), and relates only to direct costs (the indirect costs are much bigger). At no point has my opponent really engaged with any of this. Answering my opponent's new argument about insurance, I agree that it is good that it is covered by the government, but that's because governments must take responsibility for the health of their people. It's an unjustified standard to say that governments should not intervene when the person is (somewhat) healthy but must intervene if they are sick.

Pro has also attempted to downplay the harms to the rest of society. At one point he even tried to tell you it's a benefit, such as to jobs and to tax revenue. I dealt with those points and my opponent fails to defend them or extend them in this round, although he does continue to assert them. The harm that I've been pushing is the breakdown of community and family. Pro responded first by saying that a ban in public places is enough. First, a ban in public places is still a ban on cigarettes. If you agree they're good to ban to keep out of the community, then perhaps pro can finally engage with my point that sometimes others from the community actually need to be around the smoker when not in public. I should add that most countries around the world do not currently have such a ban in place. Secondly, pro argued that there are more civil mechanisms for dealing with this. Imagine you are a 4 year old and both your parents are smokers. You get glue ear. Tell me, how is this preventable? Even though it's idealistic that everybody could simply be talked out of smoking by a concerned family member, that isn't what happens - nor is it only family who are affected. I may be able to forgive somebody who tries to kill me, but at least I would expect them to stop.

2) Can smoking benefit anyone?

If there was ever a situation in which smoking was justified, you can bet my opponent would have said it three rounds ago. I explained why people start (coolness) and why people continue (addiction). Even if smoking is not banned for the same reasons as suicide pills are usually banned, smoking should be banned for chemically altering the brain to make the smoker want to smoke - effectively taking away their ability to choose (weaker nicotine does not mean less health harms, although the effect on addictiveness is still being studied). My opponent cannot keep asserting that support is available for smokers. Even among smokers who do eventually quit - given all the support that pro mentions - they have to try an average of around five times before they succeed in quitting. Walking into a store may be rational, but buying cigarettes is not - it is irrational to want to quit smoking and buy cigarettes, and yet 70% of smokers do. It is true that other illegal drugs are also addictive, but that's why they're illegal - and smoking should be too. If obesity was a consumer product, then I'd be in favor of banning that too, although it's somewhat less justifiable given that at least there is some benefit to eating.

Such risks might be acceptable if there was a legitimate reward. In this debate, not only has my opponent not provided one, I've also proven that there isn't one. He just keeps asserting that it's "beyond doubt" that it's enjoyable, although his reasoning is apparently a bit of a secret. If this is so, then why do they want to quit? I've provided far more detailed analysis as to what's really going on that also happens to actually fit the data.

The simple fact remains: tobacco is the most harmful product we have. It kills more people than all the other drugs.

3) Is banning the correct response?

Governments are faced with a situation where their people are suffering under the shackles of the most deadly of the immediate threats to mankind. My contention is that when the people, supposedly in a free society, are by an overwhelming majority - both of users and non-users - unwilling to be enslaved or murdered by a torturous and horrible drug that has already claimed the lives of so many, and where this drug has failed to show any real benefit to society, however small, then the government is entirely justified in declaring that is never something they will support, regardless of how much the cigarette lobby lines their pockets with cash.

I told you governments exist to limit our liberty when there is grave harm. Pro agrees with me. Society can attempt to navigate these problems without intervention like my opponent suggests, but they've been trying that for a century. Our death rate is still too high, and still too much of that is preventable. If a person was to pump tar into another person's lungs and radioactive polonium into their throat then they'd be thrown into jail for life or executed, but when a consumer product does that, then pro says governments should allow it. I think that's crazy. The harm of cigarettes is way out of proportion to the harms of everything else. Why should smoking be symbolised as wrong? Because it is wrong. There's nothing right about poisoning yourself, poisoning your friends, wasting your money (with little to no benefit to the economy or jobs as I have shown), wasting everybody else's hard-earned money, killing your own children, dividing your community - and that's not even the beginning of it! So basically, if smoking is bad for you, given that there is no good to outweigh the bad, it must be banned.

I look forward to the final round.
Debate Round No. 4


The essence of this debate comes down mainly to three parts. I will highlight each part and show at the end of the day how Con misinterpreted the case and has lost on those points.

Essence 1: Harms to the users

Down the bench in this debate, Con continuously discussed that cigarette is harmful but he never was able to connect that premise to this motion, discussing if there is a legitimate excuse to completely ban cigarette. I will point out how harm that Con talked about does not equal to legal reasons to ban cigarette.

Firstly, the harm that my opponent is talking about is surely exaggerated and radical. As I have mentioned, researches shows on average, smoking habit only can shorten one’s life for about ten years. It is also a truth that it takes a long time for habitual smoker to have recognizable vulnerability to diseases. It takes about 40 years for one to finally have him/her life threatened by cigarette.

Secondly, reasons for “death by cigarette” also include a lot of other factors such as exercising habit, dietary habit, lifestyle and etc. There is so much more than smoking habit. Cigarette is a scapegoat in this situation. What my opponent is doing here is similar to blaming Ford for all deaths caused on road by Ford cars, blaming Heineken for murders and rapes committed by criminals under the influence of alcohol.

Thirdly, the addition of cigarette is drastically different than that of illegal drugs. Though cigarette might be addictive, the addiction is controllable. My opponent’s argument that smoking is no longer a choice will only work in case like cocaine where addiction simply cannot be quit without help. As to cigarette, it is very possible to quit with strong. Indeed there are countless cases where smokers succeed in quitting. It is just that it is hard. When it is so possible to quit on your own, how can one ever claim smokers are no longer smoking on their own volition? The fact that many people fail to quit smoking does not prove anything on my opponent’s premise that smoking is no longer people’s will. Just because many people fail to quit, it does not prove the extremely addictive nature of an object. Many fail losing weight but it does not mean overeating is addictive. There is a reason why gambling, alcohol, game and cigarette are legal when cocaine, heroin and ecstasy are illegal. The essence is the strength of addiction. Those things that are legal can be quitted by one’s volition whereas illegal drugs cannot be quitted without external help. Bottom line, my opponent’s claim that addictive nature of cigarette means that smokers are no longer exercising freedom to smoke falls completely flat. Do you ever see a smoker running desperately to 7/11 to buy a pack of cigarette and suck on them crazily, like how a drug addict might? Smokers are definitely choosing to smoke.

Essence 2: Harms to others

Even on this, it is evident my opponent exaggerated and misinterpreted. He enforced the idea of second hand smoking is analogous to murder. I will combat this shortly.

As given from my previous examples, smoking is illegal in public. As my opponent correctly argued, the action of smoking is quite unique which makes capture of smokers in public place noticeable. Law does not protect every freedom. Governments are free to encourage smokers to smoke less and prohibit them to harm others in public but governments cannot intervene more than that since anymore sanction than that, the government will have no legal ground to enforce. As for situations where nonsmokers have to be with smokers, there are so many alternatives. My dad used to be a smoker and he only smoked in one particular room of the house. This is actually very common in families where smoking member smokes in isolation to prevent secondhand smoking. The situation is simple, unlike how my opponent views pessimistically. Con also said smoking will ruin families and the community. In response to that, I would like highlight cigarettes nowadays are legal and yet there are no cases of the entire community and families breaking down by cigarette.

Essence 3: Plausible legal grounds to enforce a total ban

This is the burden of proof that my opponent carried and failed. I ask voters to focus deeply into this part. He successfully explained some reasons why smoking might be harmful but he never landed those ideas to the motion. This debate was evaluating if there is an enough ground for a government to enforce a total ban based on the status quo. Before I start analyzing this main essence, I would first like to state that there is no problem in the status quo to deal with.

Why shouldn’t cigarette be categorized under illegal drug? The reason is that in many different ways, cigarette is not nearly as harmful as illegal drug. Let alone the fact that cigarette can be quitted with one’s strong will when illegal drug cannot, the harm that illegal drugs cause to human body is incomparable with cigarette. Again, it takes a long-term abuse for one’s life to be susceptible to death. Viewing from the fact that only one country on the entire globe forbids cigarette, countries view the type of harm that cigarette causes to be insufficient ground for a total ban. There are also other things that are legal and should be legal and yet are analogous. For example, alcohol is an unhealthy substance that causes many problems but is perfectly legal. However, we know reasonable usage of alcohol does not cause critical damage to one’s health, and for that reason, alcohols and cigarette should stay legalized. Another analogy is teenage dating and game that are roots to many teenage problems. But does a government forbid teenage dating just because it causes problem? That type of privacy intrusion is not justifiable and is against right to pursue happiness.

Lack of “benefit” does not mean a ban. Smoking is a recreational activity. Con fails to see the reality. If smoking was so painful and not enjoyable, are all smokers’ masochists to put a pain on themselves voluntarily? Also, Con is over relaying on the figure that 70% of smokers want to quit smoking. But majority wanting to quit does not disprove enjoyable nature of smoking. Game addicts will want to quit game but that does not mean games are boring. Put simple, my opponent’s statistics mean nothing. It is not the role of government to decide of a certain recreational activity is pointless or not. Governments do not intervene with personal choice to drink vodka until 3 a.m. in the night though it benefits no one but is harmful just like cigarette. By saying we should ban cigarette, we are also saying such behavior I stated above should be banned too.

What does the court says? On lawsuits where cigarette companies were sued by sick, vast majority of the court verdicts admitted the fact that cigarette contributes in diseases but cigarette companies should not be legally accountable since cigarette itself is nothing to blame. The law does not even force cigarette companies to pay for the loss of individual smokers. That already proves that there are no legal ground for cigarette to be blamed for one’s death from cigarette since the potential harm was warned. Then how can the same law impose a total ban on cigarette? Cigarette is not a scapegoat to start blaming for one’s bad decision. There are social smokers who only smoke on some occasions. If we ban cigarette that is unlike illegal drugs, it opens up window for anything harmful to be banned. Games cause harm to children in many ways and is also addictive but can a government ever force a child not to play any game? Government can protect and try to help out but their action to ban is crossing the line. The spirit of democracy is not where governments babysit the nation.


Blaming cigarette and calling a ban is analogous to blaming Heineken and Ford for death caused by drunk-driving. Cigarette itself does not carry enough harm to be illegal. People should stop finding scapegoats.



I thank my opponent for a fun debate. No idea how that round could be construed to be "without Rebuttals" as my opponent's rules stipulated, so I'll ignore the rule too.

I'm advocating a change in the status quo. I'm saying that the courts and governments of the world (with minor exceptions, such as Bhutan where cigarettes are completely banned already) have got it wrong. It's irrelevant to this debate what the courts and governments are saying right now. As my opponent wanted it in round one, however, they carry the burden of proof. They need to show why the governments of the world have got it right.

Their only remaining justification is that it couldn't be completely enforced. No law can, but that doesn't mean we should have no laws.


We both agreed that when something is really bad (in my opponent's words, causes "grave harm") it should be banned. This is why this argument has always been connected to the motion. Governments should ban bad things.

I have shown that cigarettes do no good. Pro has not shown any good except for constantly reaffirming that there must be something good or else nobody would keep smoking - I like to call it addiction, and I don't think it's good. Pro has never proven any good from smoking outside of his imagination, except perhaps dropped arguments like job losses. On a simple cost-benefit analysis, cigarettes lose. My opponent notes that it's the role of the government to decide this. Actually no, we're debating the topic, not the government. In reality it's also the role of the government to decide whether to not ban smoking.

Pro denies the addiction is that bad. It's not true. Nicotine creates more dependance than heroin and stronger withdrawal symptoms than cocaine ( Yes, a lot of people have quit, but that's because there's a lot of smokers. Some will always have ultra-strong willpower, and even they almost never are able to quit on their first try. You can't just wake up one morning, decide to quit, and then be smoke free. It's a long, difficult effort that genuinely hurts, taking months if not years. Even so most people fail and must try again. It may be a statistic I've used a lot, but that's because it's so important - 70% have already decided to stop. This is not true of cocaine or heroin. Smokers are drug addicts.

Should we blame cigarettes and the companies behind them? YES, absolutely. Of course there are occasional confounding variables, although pro has not proven any - but the point is that, after more than a century of exposure to the dangers, coupled with the extremely high incidence of cases where smoking can be directly isolated among the other factors as the cause of death, we know exactly how deadly they are. We know they give people terrible diseases. Citing that they only die a decade earlier (which is still a lot of time by the way - and I should add that more recent research actually shows 15 years instead of 10) is not sufficient because death is not the only harm of cigarettes. It's also ongoing illnesses, and harms to others. The former my opponent has liked to ignore. Not all diseases kill, although smoking usually does.

My opponent lists other products that are also harmful (although alcohol and road accidents combined are still less deadly than cigarettes, as I've shown before). I told you the reason why cigarettes are different is because they cannot be used safely, whilst drinking in moderation is safe, and driving safely is safe.

Talking about harms to others. My opponent claims families and communities have never broken down because of smoking. This is. again, simply not true ( It's an attempt to ignore my substantial analysis. But even if people are NOT outraged, they should be! Hundreds of thousands die annually from second-hand smoke. My opponent has by now advocated creating special "smoking rooms" in the houses of smokers, a plainly new argument in the final round. Still there are numerous flaws in the plan, such as the rather obvious fact that the room can't be guarenteed to be airtight. Pro said he'd look more into my murder analogy, but didn't. Secondhand smoke is manslaughter at best (if the user was unaware that cigarettes were harmful, for example, although given the warning labels they'd have to be extraordinarily dumb), and murder at worst. In the final round he also completely ignores all my substantive analysis about lost money and lost time.

Point is that smoking is bad. It's a problem. It's harmful. It's deadly. There are more than sufficient grounds to ban it.


Governments forbid cannabis because of the harms to the users. If my opponent agrees all illegal drugs should rightly be illegal, and that the harms caused are the qualifier for being illegal, then how about making something more deadly, more dangerous and more powerful illegal too? I used to room with a guy who was a moderate cannabis smoker. One day he decided to quit. And he did. It was that easy. Didn't even have to try twice. His friends even tried to tempt him back into smoking cannabis, and he kept off it. But it's more than just the addiction - it's also all the other harms, and the lack of a clear benefit, to society in general. If there are other products that are more deadly I'd be happy to ban those too. Vodka just so happens to not meet the standard, and thus should be allowed.

I believe the spirit of democracy is actually to govern by the people. The people are saying they don't want cigarettes. People are suffering needlessly. You don't need a nanny state to end a still greater persecution - not by the government but by the cigarette companies - in order to effect a change, because I've already shown that the incentives are created to end smoking even if no smokers are ever caught under my proposal. Nor do I believe we live in nanny states just because our governments look out for hundreds of drugs already. Besides that, it sends a message, and a very good one at that.

The claim that I've never related the harm to the resolution is absurd. Just scroll back up and see for yourself.

We agreed that governments should ban bad things. There's only one question I'd like you to honestly ask yourself - are cigarettes doing more harm than good? Think about it carefully. If my opponent has not met the burden that they declared they had in round one, of proving more good than harm from smoking (harms being their qualifier, not mine), then I win this debate.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by babyy 5 years ago
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Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 5 years ago
Economics. This to me is the least important clash (as it is to many BP judges) and Con probably still wins even if Pro takes it on the grounds that doing the right thing sometimes costs money. However, Con mitigates the harms of job losses etc by pointing out that the process is largely automated and those who lose out will on the whole be tobacco companies rather than workers and the damage done by tobacco to the soil, and his substantive material about lost productivity due to smoking-related diseases and young smokers not going to class probably hands him this point on balance of harms too.

If either of you wish to question any part of this RFD, feel free. Thank you both for an interesting debate to read.
Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 5 years ago
OK. I'll take conduct first. I've given this to Pro because of Con's attempt to redefine the meaning of the motion. The plain meaning of a 'Ban smoking' debate is total ban, and Con made it clear in his first round that that is what he was arguing for. Semantic mech-bashing detracts from the quality of debate.

Sources. This should be fairly uncontroversial. Con made repeated reference to sources of acceptable validity to buttress his case and prove that what he was saying was true. Pro used only a couple of sources all debate. More =/= necessarily better, but pro as a young debater would do well to learn from the way Con deployed his sources here.

Arguments. Pro brought three main arguments, and I think Con successfully negated all of them. On the enforcement argument, Con issues the correct response which essentially boils down to 'I don't need to prove there will be no more smoking anywhere, just that there will be less.' Pro brings the important black market argument, but does not do enough to substantiate why the harms caused by the black market would be worse than the harms caused by free availability of cigarettes themselves. Pro could for example have pointed to the Mexican drug wars as an example of major harm caused by prohibition.

Personal freedom. Pro allows that govts can ban things that are massively harmful, but denies that smoking is particularly harmful. This is just prima facie unpersuasive, for one. Also, I don't care if heroin is more harmful, that's not the debate. Con does a good job in demonstrating how smoking inflicts harm beyond the individual smoker, and how the nature of addiction means that the choice is not really 'free' (essentially the positive freedom argument).

Economics analysis will come in second post.
Posted by Ike-Jin-Park 5 years ago
I find OhioGary's RFD a bit inaccurate since Con and I both agreed on the fact that one of the essence of the debate is if the harm of cigarette is bad enough for it to be criminalized, not if cigarette should be limited at all.
Posted by youmils03 5 years ago
Why I voted the way I did:

Good debate! You both are talented arguers who are bound to win many debates in the future.

I vote Con relatively quickly. This is because the impacts extend throughout the round. I think Pro is inconsistent in that a plan to affirm the resolution is not introduced in the Round 2 speech but merely referenced without solvency later on in the round.

Pro: Work on your grammar. You are frequently missing an article or punctuation, which obscures the understanding of your arguments. You also remain inconsistent throughout the round. Sometimes, you present a new argument or a new impact that your opponent has little capacity to counter. I also had a hard time understanding a few of your arguments. The biggest piece of advice I have for you is to go over warrants for your arguments.

Con: "Smoking is pointless." is NOT a unique reason to ban it. I could argue that guns, video games, candy bars, and ice cream are pointless. Is this a unique benefit to the abolition of all four? Clearly not. I become less and less likely to vote for you as the debate goes on. You need to carry through ALL of your impacts and explain why they matter, not just one or two of them. For example, you have many contentions but only two voting issues.
Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 5 years ago
This is going into my to-vote list. I'm leaning con, but I need to re-read carefully.
Posted by Ike-Jin-Park 5 years ago
Please use Google translator if anyone wants to look into the Korean News in detail.
Posted by Ike-Jin-Park 5 years ago
The link does not work for some reason.

Try this:
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by DudeWithoutTheE 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by youmils03 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I vote Con. See comments.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a tough debate and while I admire Pro's debating abilities, Con took it this time. Both guys were very cordial; tie on conduct. Con had slightly better S&G; S&G to Con. The debate had different rules imposed by Pro; however, Con followed them. Moreover, Con rebutted Pro's arguments one by one. Con caught Pro on word play by pointing out that Pro agreed with Con over banning in public places. Pro said that banning in public places was permissible; this weakened the resolution and left openings where the resolution should not be supported in its entirety. That moved the debate to Con. Great debate, guys!