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

tobacco should be heavily taxed to reimburse for government health care costs

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 741 times Debate No: 59180
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




the idea, that cancer and other bad health effects from smoking causes an increase in health care costs, in a country that is heavily subsidized by the government. so, whatever it costs should be made up for in cigarette taxes.

my understanding is right now the costs of tobacco to the government are not sufficiently made up for in sales taxes. if it were, it would be more prohibitive for smokers, so they would't smoke as much, and it'd be ensure the government is getting reimbursed for what it spends due to the product.


I will accept. The use of taxes on tobacco for revenue to support publicly subsidized healthcare is bound to fail. This is for a failure to recognize costs of enforcement if the tax is to high, the loss of revenue that comes when less people use tobacco, and the alternative substitutes that are more likely to incur additional costs to law enforcement, Emergency rooms, and in drug rehabilitation.
Debate Round No. 1


it doesn't cost much to enforce, it's just a tax.

if there's a loss of revenue when people don't buy it, then they aren't gettin cancer from it. if they do buy it, they pay the tax.

i see no reason people would substitute for tobacco. people get addicted to it, it's not like they need a fix, no matter what. it's one specific thing that they want. so those consequential costs aren't there


Thank you, dairygirl, for hosting this debate. My case against using taxes on tobacco to fund public health is three-fold; it encourages a black market, encourages less-taxed or not-taxed substitutes, and even in "good" cases results in a loss of revenue.

Firstly, in encourages a black market. Pro contends that there is no cost of enforcement with a tax, but that is not the example New York is setting ( Set the price too high, and people will break the law to get them cheaper. Raising the price, in this sense, simply creates a black market for tobacco, which results in violence between competing smugglers and more money in drug-law enforcement. This is most certainly a negative consequence of a program designed to save money by making people pay more for a carcinogen.

Second, there is the possibility of substitutes. While people may use tobacco for several reasons, there are two large ones not to be ignored; the people hooked on the stuff who want a fix, and the people looking for a buzz. By driving more tobacco underground, people would be more willing to switch to another buzz-inducing agent. Alcohol still sends people to the hospital(, and a consequence of shoving the tobacco industry underground through artificially raised prices is that the same people selling cigarettes would be willing to sell more harmful substances such as cocaine and heroin. As for those who are hooked, but have no desire to depend on something else, there is the problem of overeating. Many who quit smoking overeat, and obesity in those whose bodies aren"t primed for calorie preservation leads to many other health risks; they won"t be paying a cigarette tax, but they will be getting more health services.

Third, there is the nature of bureaucracies. Government agencies tend to rely on budgets to get things done, and they tend to push for every scrap that comes there way from the taxpayers. It does not help that each agency expects the same amount of income at least while pushing for more. A tobacco tax would reduce purchasing of legal tobacco more and more, reducing revenue that would have paid for some of the now-larger subsidized health budget, while tobacco is still sold by smugglers, while quitters get different health problems, and while those not connected to tobacco still pay taxes, albeit more of them, in subsidizing a problem risk group.

Overall, Pro claims that these problems will not occur, but in at least one case, it already has! In the case of tobacco becoming a gateway drug, research has shown that greater legalization of marijuana has reduced use of harder drugs(; is it really difficult to guess how making tobacco illegal will help the sellers of these harder drugs? As for government programs, the federal government of the United States (as well as many other western governments) have a poor track-record of programs costing more than anticipated and revenue consitantly being subsidized by the central bank and promises to pay more later (loans). Thus, taxing tobacco to fund publicly subsidized healthcare will simply not work.
Debate Round No. 2


you've proven you're a better debater than you started out to be. i do have plenty more to add, but i think i'll just coast this one out. and forfeit.


My statements stand alone in refutation of Pro's BOP. Increasing taxes on tobacco to garner revenue for publicly subsidized healthcare will result in many more problems than would be solved. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by PauseAndThink 2 years ago
I hope you're aware you haven't specified a country in which you know of this to be taking place, might I suggest you state clearly what country your targeting. As far as I'm aware, the country of my origin does incur a hefty tariff and tax on all tobacco products for this very reason.

Specify, and I'd be more than happy to take on this debate.
Posted by AlexanderOc 2 years ago
What is with this girl and making two of everything?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dynamicduodebaters 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Phoenix61397 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF (basically).