The Instigator
IceClimbers
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MonetaryOffset
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

cigarettes should be illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
MonetaryOffset
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,116 times Debate No: 61668
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (23)
Votes (5)

 

IceClimbers

Pro

Cigs should be illegal con must argue why shouldn't Cigs be illegal
accept first round
MonetaryOffset

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
IceClimbers

Pro

Cigarettes are very bad for you, there not healthy at all it should be illegal
i will provide evidence in my next case
MonetaryOffset

Con

Thanks to Pro for instigating this debate.

Framework

Per typical policy debate protocol, Pro will have the sole burden of proof because he is advocating for an alteration in the status quo, as cigarattes are currently legal.


Rebuttals

Pro's argument is as follows:


P1) Cigarettes are unhealthy
P2) Things that are unhealthy ought to be illegal
C1) Therefore, cigarettes ought to be illegal


I don't contest P1, as almost anything can in fact be unhealthy if used excessively, and undeniably there is a link between cigarettes and cancers. I do, however, contest P2. As I noted, virtually anything can be unhealthy -- alcohol, excessive meat consumption, sugar cubes, you name it -- but this doesn't necessarily translate into justification for a ban. Moreover, Pro has done nothing more than make an "is" statement when our resolution requires that he make an "ought" statement. Consequently, he must not only be able to demonstrate that cigarettes are unhealthy, a point which I don't contest, but how this culminates in a case for illegalizing them.

As Pro has offered no further argumentation, including no sources, I am now going to offer several constructive arguments. Note that this beyond my burden of proof.


Negative Case


I. Self-Ownership Principle

Via Murray Rothbard:

"The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to “own” his or her own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since each individual must think, learn, value, and choose his or her ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation" [1].


This principle, which asserts a natural right to dominion over our own bodies, is important for several reasons. First, if we rightfully own ourselves, meaning that we are free from the coercion which would result from someone else owning or exercising constraint on us, we have the liberty to choose what goes into our bodies. Second, it treats people as fundamentally, intrinsicly valuable individuals capable of deciding for themselves whether it is best to engage in potentially harmful activites, such as smoking. Therefore, the government has no business in prohibiting substances in spite of whether or not it deems them to be dangerous.

II. Black Market

There are a number of severe trade-offs in illegalizing cigarettes. For one, it would not erase the existent demand for cigarettes. Instead, it would drive people to black markets, which would be more dangerous and more violent by virtue of the fact that they're completely unregulated. In fact, black markets for cigarettes already exist.

"Black-market cigarettes are costing many states hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost tax revenue. And the lucrative, illicit trade is attracting violent criminal gangs that can be lethally ruthless.Across the nation, organized crime groups with ties to Vietnam, Russia, Korea and China are all competing for a share of the profits, says Edgar Domenech, who leads the Washington, D.C., field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives...Criminals buy cigarettes in bulk, in states with relatively low taxes such as Virginia or North Carolina. They load the cigarettes into tractor-trailers or rented trucks and drive them north, for example, to New York. They follow the same routes they would use to traffic illegal drugs...Because of high taxes in the city, selling contraband cigarettes at rates even slightly lower than their value in the store can mean big money for criminals.Fairfax County's Wilson says cigarettes are in some cases worth more money to criminals than illegal drugs. Undercover officers, he says, have 'even been able to trade large amounts of illicit drugs for the cigarettes.' For instance, the ATF and Virginia police broke up a smuggling ring last winter where traffickers traded cocaine, thousands of Ecstacy tablets and firearms for nearly 400,000 cartons of cigarettes. The cigarettes were worth more than $8 million on the black market" [2].

Pro's proposal only deals wth legality. It will not prevent people from using cigarettes nor will it remove the incentive for people to sell them for profit. In fact, cigarettes will be even more dangerous because, upon illegality, the government will have no mechanism by which to regulate them. Moreover, this may even result, as has been the case with alcohol, people refusing to self-report their illness or those of others after having used cigarettes out of fear either of being looked down upon for usage or of incarceration.

III. Victimless crime

Prohibiting cigarettes would require placing people in jail for substance ingestion, in spite of the fact that doing so does not impose a harm on anyone else sans the person opting to smoke. Via the self-ownership principle I delineated earlier, this is perfectly permissible. Moreover, the costs of incarcerating people, most of whom will be using cigarettes which happen to be highly addictive and thus in need of medical assistance [3], will far outweigh any of the benefits Pro outlines, especially in light of the resulting black market.

IV. Economic Effects

Prohibiting cigarettes would necessarily lead to displacement and unemployment, which would have dire economic consequences at a time when the economy is still in rough shape from the worst downturn since the Depression of the 30s.

"According to The Tobacco Atlas, estimates of revenues from the global tobacco industry likely approach a half trillion U.S. dollars annually. In 2010, the combined profits of the six leading tobacco companies was U.S. $35.1 billion, equal to the combined profits of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and McDonald’s in the same year. If Big Tobacco were a country, it would have a gross domestic product (GDP) of countries like Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Venezuela" [4].

Moreover, it would remove the significant amount of tax revenue from cigarette sales -- about $17.65 billion in 2011 [5] -- and, by virtue of causing unemployment, increase government outlays on automatic stabilizers such as food stamps and welfare. At a time when the federal deficit is quite high -- $649 billion in fiscal year 2014 [6] -- this is not the time to significantly increase the burden on government expenditures. It may even cause rationing of current government funds, meaning that some people will be necesarily hurt. The point is that there are spillover effects of making cigarrettes illegal.

V. Lack of Public Support

Since we live in a democracy, it is necessary that, for a law to be passed, the public should support that law. However, the vast majority of Americans do not approve of a ban on cigarretes.

"Given Americans' apparent reluctance to endorse increased government regulation of tobacco, it probably comes as no surprise that only a very small minority favor an outright ban on smoking in the United States. The poll finds just 17% of Americans saying smoking should be made "totally illegal" in this country. Gallup has never found widespread support for a universal smoking ban, ranging from 11% to the current 17%, since 1990" [7].


VI. Congressional Gridlock

The current Congress is on track to be the least productive in history, with policymakers unable to agree on important legislation -- on issues that impact our daily lives such as taxing and spending policy [8]. Pro's proposal would necessarily exacerbate this not only by introducing into the fray a proposal that the vast majority of Americans support and that the tobacco industry would spend millions or even billions of dollars to actively oppose, but also by diverting their attention from issues that actually matter. There is an opportunity cost of time, and debating an issue such as this which is significantly less important than, say, the debt ceiling or the next budget, is futile and counter-productive.




[1] - http://utahliberty.org...
[2] - http://www.npr.org...;
[3] - http://www.heart.org...;
[4] - http://www.worldlungfoundation.org...
[5] - http://www.taxpolicycenter.org...
[6] - http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[7] - http://www.gallup.com...;
[8] - http://www.nbcnews.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
IceClimbers

Pro

IceClimbers forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
IceClimbers

Pro

IceClimbers forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
IceClimbers

Pro

IceClimbers forfeited this round.
MonetaryOffset

Con

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MonetaryOffset 2 years ago
MonetaryOffset
You guys gave up before we hit page 1.
Posted by Lucky_Luciano 2 years ago
Lucky_Luciano
Your stare was holding
Ripped dreams
Rage was showing
Hot night wind was blowing

Why ya think you're losing baby?

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy
But here's my vote, so hate m maybe
It's hard to look at you baby
But here's my vote, so hate me maybe
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Zaradi
Oh I do. He says it's not official but it pretty much is. We've even planned our honeymoon.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
debatability
i dont think you do have mestari
i really dont think you do
Posted by MonetaryOffset 2 years ago
MonetaryOffset
No, this isn't a room.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Zaradi
Why would I ever be jealous of you when I have Mestari?
Posted by MonetaryOffset 2 years ago
MonetaryOffset
Lizzy and Matt, get a room.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
debatability
lol DUMMY are you jealous
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Zaradi
Liz pls you basic bitch.
Posted by debatability 2 years ago
debatability
what r u talking about im the prettiest girl
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
IceClimbersMonetaryOffsetTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit by Pro. This left his BOP unfulfilled and thus he failed to maintain it which cost him arguments. In regards to Conduct, forfeits are rarely acceptable in debate settings and this is the case here where Pro gave no reason for his absence from the floor.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
IceClimbersMonetaryOffsetTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
IceClimbersMonetaryOffsetTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Full 7 point drop due to forfeit.
Vote Placed by PatriotPerson 2 years ago
PatriotPerson
IceClimbersMonetaryOffsetTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Agreements left in the middle. Con gets conduct because he actually participated and never forfeited. Spelling & Grammar goes to Con because Pro's was horrible. Arguments to Con because he actually made some. Sources also go to Con because he provided them.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
IceClimbersMonetaryOffsetTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Ff, horrific grammar, Con made objective points and actually sourced his statement. Con wins by a very large margin...