The Instigator
tmhustler
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Miles_Finch
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

taxes on tobacco

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tmhustler
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,893 times Debate No: 9282
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

tmhustler

Pro

Most taxes on tobacco should be repealed

This opinion comes mainly from my belief that government should not interfere with peoples personal choices.

nothing else is taxed to the extent that tobacco is. these taxes are admittedly designed to prevent people form smoking. why should government have the right to limit what people can do within the law?

These are just my opining remarks, the bulk of my arguments will come in my second round.
Miles_Finch

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting debate that he challenged me to. In this debate I believe my opponent is referring to the federal tobacco tax.

"This opinion comes mainly from my belief that government should not interfere with peoples personal choices."

Does That mean we should get rid of education and schools because it interferes with peoples' personal choices?

Are you saying that people who don't smoke is because of taxes being high and not because they care about their health?

Among adults in the United States, cigarette smoking has decreased from about 42% of the population in 1965 to about 21% in 2006 (the latest year for which numbers are available). It is estimated that more than 43 million adults currently smoke cigarettes. About 22% of men and 17% of women were smokers. Education seems linked to smoking rates, with lower smoking rates in groups with higher levels of education.

http://www.cancer.org...

In the USA there are about 307,234,309 people and out of them 43 million adults smoke.
http://www.census.gov...

The reason they are raising taxes on Tobacco is because it will make it harder for teenagers to buy tobacco related products because most teenagers don't have a job that pays them enough to buy tobacco at the new prices.

http://www.usatoday.com...

Over 13 percent—3.3 million—youths aged 12 to 17 used a tobacco product in the past month. Only 3.3 million will be affected compared to the 43 million that can pay them even though they have increased the taxes on tobacco. The 3.3 million aren't allowed to smoke anyway so this law doesn't infringe on any rights or personal decision.
There is a law that makes it illegal for people under 18 to buy tobacco but they do it anyway this law will re-enforce that law. The sentences below and that link will go into detail about how tobacco affects children's development.

Tobacco affects your body's development. Smoking is particularly harmful for teens because your body is still growing and changing. The 200 known poisons in cigarette smoke affect your normal development and can cause life-threatening diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and stroke.

http://www.elks.org...

This law does help by decreases the money spent on help treating people who want to quit or suffer from using tobacco for a long time; and with more money they can treat other problems that people suffer from.

The tobacco industry is one of the most profitable businesses in the country, making billions of dollars every year. But the costs of smoking are far higher than the income from cigarette sales.
Smoking causes more than $196 billion each year in health-related costs, including the cost of lost productivity caused by deaths from smoking.
Smoking-related medical costs averaged more than $100 billion each year between 2000 and 2004. This translates to $2,197 in extra medical expenses for each adult smoker per year as of 2004.
Death-related productivity losses from smoking among workers cost the US economy more than $97 billion yearly (average for 2000-2004).
For each pack of cigarettes sold or given away in 2004, $5.34 was spent on medical care caused by smoking, and
$5.28 lost in productivity, for a total cost to society of $10.62 per pack.

http://www.cancer.org...

I would like my opponent to provide the prices of tobacco before the Federal Tobacco Tax and after the Federal Tobacco Tax. I feel that way the voters will understand the price more if they are able to see it with their own eyes. I also feel he must show that because of this Tax it interferes with peoples' personal choices.

This ends my argument for this round, next round it will get interesting for I will be able to cross-examine my opponent's argument.
Debate Round No. 1
tmhustler

Pro

I was not just referring to federal taxes but all taxes on {excluding sales tax} tobacco.

I will start this round with some numbers first the cost of the taxes.
federal taxes recently went from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack.
the average state tax on cigarettes is a 1.32, the average tax excluding tobacco producing states is 1.44
the state with the highest tax is rhode Island at 3.46 a pack
the city with the highest tax is NYC at 4.26
The average price for a pack of cigarettes nationwide is roughly $5.12 now subtract that by the national tax of 1.01 and the average state tax of 1.44 cigarettes without tax cost 2.67 per pack this an almost 100% tax
http://www.tobaccofreekids.org...

Does That mean we should get rid of education and schools because it interferes with peoples' personal choices?" this irrelevant because the government does not force adults to go to school

Are you saying that people who don't smoke is because of taxes being high and not because they care about their health?" no but because of these taxes it limits the people who can smoke to those that can afford it.

not certain what point your making with the smoking population stats

I am not arguing that cigarettes are not bad for your health. but that if our government continues to keep it legal than these type of taxes should not exist.

"The reason they are raising taxes on Tobacco is because it will make it harder for teenagers to buy tobacco related products because most teenagers don't have a job that pays them enough to buy tobacco at the new prices." also low income households.

This law does help by decreases the money spent on help treating people who want to quit or suffer from using tobacco for a long time; and with more money they can treat other problems that people suffer from." I cant speak for all the state laws but the federal tax give money to no such programs. "The revenue from the tax increase, which will be used to expand coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program to an additional 4 million low-income children, was signed into law in February." http://www.usatoday.com...

A Price Waterhouse analysis of the U.S.
industry's impact estimated that tobacco production generated $51.5 billion of the U.S. Gross
National Product (GNP), employing 681,353 persons along the way

http://org.elon.edu...
Miles_Finch

Con

State----------- Tax------------Income------------------ Total Price for a pack(Without sales Tax)
Rhode Island----$3.46---------$39,463----------------------------$5.91
New York---------$2.75---------$47,385----------------------------$.5.22
New Jersey------$2.70---------$49,194----------------------------$5.15
Hawaii----------$2.60-----------$39,239---------------------------$5.05
Wisconsin-------$2.52-----------$36,047--------------------------$4.97
Massachusetts--$2.51-----------$49,084-------------------------$4.96
DC---------------$2.50-----------$61,092-------------------------$4.95
Vermont--------$2.24-----------$36,670-------------------------$4.69
Washington-----$2.03-----------$40,414------------------------$4.48
Arizona---------$2.00------------$33,029------------------------$4.45
Alaska----------$2.00------------$40,352------------------------$4.45
Maryland-------$2.00------------$46,021------------------------$.4.45
Maine----------$2.00-------------$33,722-----------------------$4.45
Connecticut----$2.00-------------$54,117---------------------$4.45
Michigan-------$2.00-------------$35,086----------------------$4.45
New Hampshire--$1.78----------$41,512----------------------$4.23
Montana---------$1.70-----------$32,458---------------------$4.15
Delaware--------$1.60------------$40,658---------------------$4.05
Minnesota-------$1.56------------$41,034----------------------$4.01
South Dakota----$1.53------------$33,905--------------------$3.98
Texas------------$1.41------------$37,187---------------------$3.86
Iowa-------------$1.36------------$35,023---------------------$3.81
Pennsylvania----$1.35------------$38,788---------------------$3.80
Florida-----------$1.34------------$38,444---------------------$3.79
Ohio--------------$1.25------------$34,874--------------------$3.70
Oregon-----------$1.18------------$34,784-------------------$3.63
Arkansas---------$1.15-----------$30,060--------------------$3.60
Oklahoma--------$1.03-----------$34,153--------------------$3.48
Indiana-----------$.995-----------$33,616-------------------$3.44
Illinois------------$.98-------------$40,233-------------------$3.43
New Mexico-----$.91--------------$31,474------------------$3.36
California--------$.87-------------$41,571-------------------$3.32
Colorado---------$.84------------$41,042-------------------$3.29
Nevada-----------$.80-----------$40,480--------------------$3.25
Kansas-----------$.79-----------$36,768--------------------$3.24
Utah-------------$.6695----------$31,189-------------------$3.14
Mississippi------$.68------------$28,845------------------$3.13
Nebraska-------$.64----------$36,471---------------------$3.09
Tennessee-------$.62----------$33,280-------------------$3.07
Wyoming-------$.60----------$43,226--------------------$3.05
Kentucky-------$.60-----------$31,111--------------------$3.05
Idaho-----------$.57----------$31,197--------------------$3.02
West Virginia---$.55---------$29,537--------------------$3.00
North Carolina--$.45--------$33,636---------------------$2.90
North Dakota----$.44-------$34,846----------------------$2.89
Alabama---------$.425-----$32,404----------------------$2.88
Georgia-----------$.37------$33,457---------------------$2.82
Louisiana---------$.36--------$34,756-------------------$2.81
Virginia-----------$.30---------$41,347------------------$2.75
Missouri----------$.17--------$34,389-------------------$2.62
South Carolina-- $.07-------$31,013--------------------$2.52

This table I have made is based off of many sources. My opponent argues that people wouldn't be able to afford tobacco because on average it is 5.12 a pack. That is an average if you were to put in all the numbers, but if you were to separate it you will see that it isn't that expensive. Generally States that people on average make a lot of money will have higher taxes on Tobacco but that is because they can afford it. Generally States that people on average make not a lot of money will have lower taxes on tobacco so people in those states so they can afford it.

http://www.top50states.com...
http://www.infoplease.com... (population of each state) If it is important.
http://www.tobaccofreekids.org...

"not certain what point your making with the smoking population stats"

My point I am trying to make is that because people have more education about how tobacco affects their body, less people are likely to smoke. People not smoking isn't because they can't afford it but because they care about their health(the ones that go to school and do care).

"also low income households"

People in with Low income can still buy tobacco not only because of the point I proved above with my table but because of (ETIC or EIC). This will help people with low-income, it is a refundable tax credit.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

"I cant speak for all the state laws but the federal tax give money to no such programs"

My opponent misunderstood what I said. What I was saying is that because less people smoke, the money used to treat them is less for there are less people who smoke. That means more money can be used for other health-related problems.

"The revenue from the tax increase, which will be used to expand coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program to an additional 4 million low-income children, was signed into law in February."

What you just said will be helpful; since people know that their money is going to a good cause and not only the government but for building a hospital for low-income children people may spend more money to help get it built.

"A Price Waterhouse analysis of the U.S.
industry's impact estimated that tobacco production generated $51.5 billion of the U.S. Gross
National Product (GNP), employing 681,353 persons along the way"

I believe my opponent is trying to prove that the tobacco industry is helpful to our economy and these taxes would
hurt it. Unfortunately what he posted is 14 years old, since this is 14 years old it is hard to know if this is still a reliable source.

(Tobacco Institute, 1995; 3-5). The part that was omitted.
http://org.elon.edu...

At the moment I have dismissed my opponent's arguments that he has posted so far. You may check over my table that I posted if you don't believe it to be correct. I didn't put the sales tax in because you wanted most taxes removed on tobacco except sales tax.

I await my opponent's cross-examination of me and his arguments when it's his turn.
Debate Round No. 2
tmhustler

Pro

I would like o thank my opponent for his rebuttal

First non of he sources my opponent list show what the average price of cigarettes per state. { would love to see were is SC a pack is 2.52}

"Generally States that people on average make a lot of money will have higher taxes on Tobacco but that is because they can afford it" The average wage in a specific state may be able to absorb the tax increase but why should they have to. further more what about the people who are below the average would they not have a very difficult time absorbing this new cost.

The taxes in individual state have nothing to do with average income but if tobacco is grown in that state. I am sure if you look at the states with the lowest taxes you would see that they are tobacco producing states.
I am a little disgruntled with the way my opponent uses the word education because all it is referring to is the level of education a person has received{high school, college, graduate} not how much they know about the effects of tobacco. Everyone knows cigarettes cause cancer it says it on the pack. I at no point said the only reason people don't smoke is the price, but if I know the side effects and still want to smoke why should I be charged a 100% tax on them.

"People in with Low income can still buy tobacco not only because of the point I proved above with my table but because of (ETIC or EIC). This will help people with low income, it is a refundable tax credit." this tax credit refers to the income tax and not taxes on cigarettes.

"What you just said will be helpful; since people know that their money is going to a good cause and not only the government but for building a hospital for low-income children people may spend more money to help get it built."

If this is true than why do we not have a 100% everything we buy like hamburgers, cars, soda, etc, etc, etc. would the people who buy those thing also be happy to hear that at least there money is going to a good place.

I only used the sources that I did because it was the most comprehensive source I could find on the subject but since the tobacco company's have become mare profitable since than those numbers I listed are likely higher. { because the hyperlink was there to properly source it (Tobacco Institute, 1995; 3-5). was not necessary.}

Now to my arguments first the taxes are unfair second the disproportionately affect people of lower income

They are unfair because they are taxed to an extent to a ridiculous rate of 100%. why are they taxes to this extent because are government has come to the decision that they are so bad for us that we need further incentive not to smoke. I ask if they are so bad that they deserve to be taxed to nonexistent why not ban them outright. There would be outrage if something like beer, soda, or fatty foods were taxed to the extent that cigarettes are so why is it permissible to do so on cigarettes. Non of these things are good for you yet only one is taxes this much.

It disproportionately effects people of lower income by your very own sources the majority of the smoking population is of lower education and therefore make less money. Actually the largest group of smokers make between 6k and 12k a year. The average smoker smokes a pack to two pack a day this comes to an average yearly cost of 1500 dollars just for the additional tax, this is almost one fifth of there yearly salary. So it is clear how these taxes can force the poor to quit.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com...
Miles_Finch

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his quick response.

"The average wage in a specific state may be able to absorb the tax increase but why should they have to."

They would have to for it makes sense, why would you want to increase the taxes in certain places where people with the average income may not be able to afford it.

"further more what about the people who are below the average would they not have a very difficult time absorbing this new cost."

When looking around on the Internet for that reason I found out that it is possible to buy tobacco online for a cheap price. The people who get a below average income will be able to purchase cartons for $22(other prices but still cheap).
All they will need to do is order them, and if they don't have an Internet they most likely have friends or family members that will allow them to use their Internet.

http://www.cigarettes-line.com...

"I at no point said the only reason people don't smoke is the price, but if I know the side effects and still want to smoke why should I be charged a 100% tax on them."

For the first part, sorry that was me inferring because you never said it so I just thought that you didn't think it was an important factor. For the second part, if you don't want to buy them for 100% tax you can buy them online for cheap prices.

http://www.cigarettes-line.com...

"this tax credit refers to the income tax and not taxes on cigarettes."

I understand it does but they will still get money back from the income tax so it will help them buy cigarettes. Even they it has nothing to do with cigarettes Tax the income tax will help people.

"If this is true than why do we not have a 100% everything we buy like hamburgers, cars, soda, etc, etc, etc. would the people who buy those thing also be happy to hear that at least there money is going to a good place."

Like I said may some people may not want to spend that can of money even if it is going to a good place.

Why don't hamburgers and soda, because they can't be taxed they closes they will every be taxed is sales tax and even the only 14 states have it.

http://seantevis.com...

"Why not cars?"

People go though a Pack or two of cigarettes in a day like you said, meaning it will be more reasonable because people don't go though a Car in a day and Cars are way to expensive to just be buying all the time even for rich people.

Cigarettes are now as expensive as Alcohol and that business has been able to survive and do well despite costing a petty penny. There is no reason to assume that the Tobacco industry will do bad because the Alcohol industry has had expensive prices for the longest time. Why isn't everything Taxed well most likely that will cause a riot for increasing the tax on a few things may make people mad but making everything 100% isn't sensible and may cause a riot.

"They are unfair because they are taxed to an extent to a ridiculous rate of 100%. why are they taxes to this extent because are government has come to the decision that they are so bad for us that we need further incentive not to smoke. I ask if they are so bad that they deserve to be taxed to nonexistent why not ban them outright. There would be outrage if something like beer, soda, or fatty foods were taxed to the extent that cigarettes are so why is it permissible to do so on cigarettes. Non of these things are good for you yet only one is taxes this much."

If they were to ban it people will say that will be against their rights and people will be madder than they were if you increase how much money you need to spend. Soda and Fatty foods people my argue that soda is a liquid that doesn't cause problems like beer does and fatty foods is a food and should not be taxed.

Beer is going to be taxed soon to: if congress gets its way.

http://www.examiner.com...

"It disproportionately effects people of lower income by your very own sources the majority of the smoking population is of lower education and therefore make less money. Actually the largest group of smokers make between 6k and 12k a year. The average smoker smokes a pack to two pack a day this comes to an average yearly cost of 1500 dollars just for the additional tax, this is almost one fifth of there yearly salary. So it is clear how these taxes can force the poor to quit."

The people who get $35,999 or less will be able to buy tobacco off the Internet for cheap prices. There are alternative ways to get tobacco for cheaper prices you just have to look around.

I believe my opponent is doing a great job with this debate, but this debate isn't over yet. One more round to go.
Debate Round No. 3
tmhustler

Pro

The main question for this debate is, why should there be such a huge tax on cigarettes and not on anything else.?
My opponent has cited the medical cost of smoking as a reason for these taxes, but if I choose to smoke and I get sick and then I pay for my medical cost. Why should government be able to punish me? Also the lifetime medical costs of some one with obesity is higher than a smoker. so would it be fair to tax them for medical costs ?

http://www.plosmedicine.org...

My opponents suggests that people should buy there cigarettes online, but the reason why they are so cheap is because they don't pay taxes on them. So this really is not a refutation of my point because it is an instance of people not paying taxes on cigarettes. Frthermore if my opponent had researched this a little further he would know that they are still required to pay the taxes when they file there taxes. In most states it is a crime to buy cigarettes online and not pay taxes on them.

http://www.stateline.org...
http://couponing.about.com...

In conclusion
Cigarette taxes should be repealed because they unfairly single out one segment of society and force them to pay a ridicules 100% tax, and often they are the people who could least afford to lose that money. There are many things that are bad for you but only one is taxed like this.
Miles_Finch

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. It was a tough debate but hopefully I will come out of this the winner.

Now for the first point.

"Also the lifetime medical costs of some one with obesity is higher than a smoker. so would it be fair to tax them for medical costs ?"

Why we don't taxes them is because obesity has to do with genetics. Smoking Tobacco is different is because you are willingly doing it to your body. Obesity has to do with a little of both, people are willingly eating or in some cases not and they are gaining weight even though they are doing everything right.

http://www.medicalmoment.org...
http://www.sciencedaily.com...

"My opponents suggests that people should buy there cigarettes online, but the reason why they are so cheap is because they don't pay taxes on them. So this really is not a refutation of my point because it is an instance of people not paying taxes on cigarettes. Furthermore if my opponent had researched this a little further he would know that they are still required to pay the taxes when they file there taxes. In most states it is a crime to buy cigarettes online and not pay taxes on them."

My opponent says that most states it is illegal but 10 states out of 51 are illegal. Tobacco industries will find ways to get their products to people who don't have a lot of money. They might have specials, they may lower the price meaning it will be cheaper. That means it will be cheaper(I don't know how much cheaper and how cheap they can make it) and people with little money will be able to afford it.

Even though tobacco is costing a lot of money and people who don't have a lot of money might not be able to afford, they will have to might cuts even with out these taxes. Most people will make cuts that aren't important to try and save money so when they do have a lot they will be able to afford tobacco. Those type of people most likely didn't buy a lot of tobacco anyways because they couldn't really buy tobacco when the money they were making were just making ends meet. They would be more worried about having a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and living in a warm house.

Even though more poor people smoke than rich people, we don't know How many packs each group buys. A poor person may buy 3 packs a month, or 1 carton a month because they really don't have the money. Also the reason a lot of poor people smoke is because it is a cheap way to relax yourself and rich people will be able to get professional help. Speaking of rich people, those who smoke may buy 20 cartons in a month.

If the voters are still unsure about who won this, I think this clip will help them decide.

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate that we had and hope the best man wins.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
There are no medical costs to the public associated with smoking. Smokers die younger, and their earlier death saves as much as the complications of smoking cost. This has been independently studied four times, always with the same result. There are disadvantages to dying young, but that's a separate issue.

I think Pro had the better arguments, particularly that the tax is regressive. It the hazards of smoking were a secret, then it might be different, but at this point it's clear. Con won S&G. No conduct violations. No important reference issues; it was mainly about the concept of a "sin tax."
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
Don't worry I can wait.
Posted by tmhustler 8 years ago
tmhustler
sorry for the delay but my conclusion will have to wait till tomorrow
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
Okay, thanks I was unsure.
Posted by tmhustler 8 years ago
tmhustler
its only illegal for fireworks, or to resell the stuff
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
Yeah that is true. I know people who cross the border to get cigarettes that are cheaper. The problem is that annoys me is that it is illegal in a way to buy stuff from one state and go over to your state that you came from. That is what I've been told, but the state government doesn't enforce it if that is real law.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
Wow. Cool debate. Miles' table of the cost of cigarettes per state was particularly interesting.

So how does that work in practice in the US? Don't people cross the borders to buy cigarettes in neighbouring states where they are cheaper?

Here in the UK, cigarettes cost an average of £5.67 (approx. $9.00) per pack, 77% of which is tax.

However, in Slovakia, another EU country where my wife's family lives, cigarettes only cost the equivalent of £1.30 per pack.

That's why every time we drive back from there, we stuff the back of the car with totally legal, Slovak duty-paid cigarettes (many of which I give to friends and relatives who smoke).

This deprives the UK Treasury of their tax, but I wouldn't do it if the tax was lower.
Posted by Alex 8 years ago
Alex
I haven't read the debate so forgive me if this is in it or not.

But, I think that the tobacco tax's are unjust because...Well it mainly hurts the lower class, sure they may be aiming to get people to quit smoking, but really they are causing them to scrape together pennies to smoke.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
tmhustlerMiles_FinchTied
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Vote Placed by tmhustler 8 years ago
tmhustler
tmhustlerMiles_FinchTied
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