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

Resolved: Tobacco use should be banned in the United States

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 12/3/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,045 times Debate No: 83395
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




Select Winner, 2.5k
No new arguments last round. Con may rebut my opening arguments in their first speech


1. No forfeits
2. Full citations should be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (e.g. justice is unknowable, rights don't exist, etc.)
7. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolutional definitions
8. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
9. The BOP will be shared
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss

Pro in this debate will advocate a ban, Con will support the status quo

Good luck to 16kadams, surely a formidable debater.


Sure. I accept.
Debate Round No. 1



Pro will support that something ought to be banned if there is a net detriment to society, as the goal of a government is to better the lives of its people.

Contention 1: Cost
For some reason can't paste images. But I can paste the link to the image.Economic "benefits" of smoking are easily outweighed. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco related healthcare costs and loss of productivity netted 193 billion in the US. Every pack of cigarettes, which is on average 6.36, costs society $35. Tobacco use is bad for society as a whole because non smokers are forced to pay part of the medical bills and nonsmokers also get the disease. Half of people who continue to smoke will die of smoke-related illnesses.

The Federal govenment states that it costs society around 52 billion a year, but even this could be an underestimation, as "Dr. Banzhaf asserted that the Government did not take into account diseases of nonsmokers that could be attributed to smoking by others." Either way, tobacco usage has such a large economically detrimental effect that is should be banned. Even non users must foot the medical bill, as the government helps pay for medical bills of people who are unable to, and non smokers must pay the tazes to the government

Contention 2: For the Users themselves

As Dr. Sullivan said 'Cigarettes are the only legal product that when used as intended cause death,'.
Cigarettes have over 7,000 chemicals according to CDC. Hundreds of those are toxic and 70 are carcinogens. The government ought to ensure the well being of its citizens and ban smoking.
According to Dr Robert N Proctor, Department of History, Stanford University, cigarettes kill 6 million people a year.

"Big tobacco has corrupted science by sponsoring "decoy" or "distraction research",5 but it has also corrupted popular media, insofar as newspapers and magazines dependent on tobacco advertising for revenues have been reluctant to publish critiques of cigarettes.7 The industry has corrupted even the information environment of its own workforce, as when Philip Morris paid its insurance provider (CIGNA) to censor the health information sent to corporate employees.8 Tobacco companies have bullied, corrupted or exploited countless other institutions: the American Medical Association, the American Law Institute, sports organisations, fire-fighting bodies, Hollywood, the US Congress"even the US presidency and US military. President Lyndon Johnson refused to endorse the 1964 Surgeon General's report, for instance, fearing alienation of the tobacco-friendly South. Cigarette makers managed even to thwart the US Navy's efforts to go smoke-free. In 1986, the Navy had announced a goal of creating a smoke-free Navy by the year 2000; tobacco-friendly congressmen were pressured to thwart that plan, and a law was passed requiring that all ships sell cigarettes and allow smoking. The result: American submarines were not smoke-free until 2011"

The smoking industry infamously proclaimed for years with false research that smoking was safe. This resulted in misinformation and millions of easily preventable deaths. This also nullifies any so called economic benefit of smoking, as most of the studies meant to portray tobacco positively are sponsored by the corporations themselves. They have a monetary incentive to keep the industry alive by killing people and getting them addicted to smoking.
Tobacco is a highly addictive poison because of nicotine, which makes smokers physically reliant on smoking. Most smokers want to quit but cannot.
85% of smokers have tried to quit, according to Gallup. According to Center of Disease Control this number is at 68.9 percent. The fact is that most smokers do not even want to smoke but smoking once or doing a dumb mistake forces them to smoke for the rest of their lives, inevitably killing them and harming everyone around them.
Robert Proctor rebuts the freedom argument with "The freedom objection is weak, however, given how people actually experience addiction. Most smokers "enjoy" smoking only in the sense that it relieves the pains of withdrawal; they need nicotine to feel normal. People who say they enjoy cigarettes are rather rare"so rare that the industry used to call them "enjoyers". Surveys show that most smokers want to quit but cannot; they also regret having started. Tobacco industry executives have long grasped the point: Imperial Tobacco's Robert Bexon in 1984 confided to his Canadian cotobacconists that "If our product was not addictive we would not sell a cigarette next week".12 American cigarette makers have been quietly celebrating addiction since the 1950s, when one expressed how "fortunate for us" it was that cigarettes "are a habit they can't break"."

Contention 3: Secondhand Smoke

This contention is enough to win the debate. Voters, pay attention. Seconhand smoke nullifies freedom, as recipients of secondhand smoke do not choose to smoke, they simply breathe and suffer the effects of others selfishly choosing to smoke.
The Surgeon General Report concluded that 2.5 million American citizens died of secondhand smoke since 1964. What more do you need for an all-out ban? Con's counterplan of restricting smoking to private places will not help as smoking in private simply keeps the smoke inside the home and will cause the secondhand smoke to go straight to all the other people inside the home- such as the other family members, especially children.
"It is estimated that secondhand smoke caused nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths each year during 2005"2009 among adult nonsmokers in the United States.""Secondhand smoke exposure caused more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year during 2005"2009 among adult nonsmokers in the United States." (This is citing the previous Surgeon General Report)
A study by David M. Homa, PhD1, Linda J. Neff, PhD1, Brian A. King, PhD1, Ralph S. Caraballo, PhD1, Rebecca E. Bunnell, PhD1, Stephen D. Babb, MPH1, Bridgette E. Garrett, PhD1, Connie S. Sosnoff, MA2, Lanqing Wang, PhD found that from 2011-12, 58 million people were exposed to secondhand smoke.
"Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) from burning tobacco products causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children, and coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers (1,2). No risk-free level of SHS exposure exists (2). SHS exposure causes more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year, and approximately $5.6 billion annually in lost productivity "

Contention 4: Environmental
" In 2005, an estimated 135 million pounds of cigarette butts were dumped into the U.S. environment.2 Cigarette butts are the most common toxic waste found in cleanups and the number one item found on California highways.3 4 And contrary to popular belief, they do not decompose completely.5"
Cigarettes have toxic chemicals in them that threaten aquatic ecosystems when they leak out, according to( Slaughter, E., Gersberg, R., Watanabe, K., Rudolph, J., Novotny, T.E., "Toxicity of Cigarette Butts, and their Chemical Components to Marine and Freshwater Fish, Atherinops affinis and Pimephales promelas,").

"cigarette filters, cigar tips, and tobacco packaging accounted for 38% of worldwide debris". These numbers are from Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanups
A ban would be effective, as "Smokefree beach laws help reduce butts on beaches by 45% according to the Audubon Society". Banning will reduce the vast litter amount.
"Globally, approximately 4.3 trillioncigarette butts are littered every year. Smokers in the USA account for over 250 billion cigarette butts, in the UK 200 tons of butts are discarded, and Australian smokers litter over 7 billion cigarette butts annually. In most Western countries cigarette butt litter accounts for around 50% of all litter.

Every littered cigarette butt can take anywhere from two to twenty-five years to biodegrade.

Dropped cigarette butts have been the cause of house and apartment fires, as well as some of the largest and most destructive forest fires. Fires caused by cigarette butts claim the lives of about 1,000 people and injure about 3,000 people each year."

"When people congregate in an airport baggage area or enter a smoking lounge where many brands are smoked, the average amount of PM2.5 mass emitted per cigarette is about 14 mg (see Reference 3). Although 14 mg may not seem like a lot of mass emitted, each cigarette weighs only about 0.9 grams total, making it an extremely potent source of air pollution for its weight.

As we shall see in subsequent chapters of this booklet, the 14 mg of particles emitted by each cigarette is really a large amount of particulate matter mass, causing extremely high indoor air pollutant concentrations when a cigarette is smoked at home or in a car. The chapter "Where does the smoke go?" presents calculations that you can do yourself to illustrate that a single cigarette smoked indoors is a potent source of exposure to toxic pollutants, causing concentrations indoors that are often higher than the federal air quality standards designed to protect public health in ambient air outdoors."

Cigarettes cause air pollution, which will happen even if smoked inside, as ventilation ensures it flows outside. Cigarettes are a major source of litter pollution, which costs millions to clean up. Litter costs around 11 billion to clean. If we use the cigarette litter estimate of 38%, this is 4.18 billion a year.


Tobacco use is detrimental to society as a whole by causing addiction and death even to non users. Voters can vote on secondhand smoke alone as I prove it causes diseases and death to innocents not choosing to smoke. Even if 16k takes up a libertarian framework he cannot win. But if you want more, tobacco causes addiction to users and users do not even want to smoke, nullifying freedom. Smoking has a heavy cost on the environment and society. Vote Pro


OBV1: There is a huge leap from concluding “tobacco is bad” to “tobacco should be prohibited.” From a public health perspective, this leap could be harmful, for it would take many more cost-effective anti-tobacco regulations off the table while creating violence, making drugs even more potent, and failing to reduce tobacco use.

OBV2: The resolution reads “Tobacco Use Should be Banned.” Tobacco use, in conjunction with tobacco production, would be prohibited if my opponent’s ideas were put to the test. This phraseology has a significant impact on his case. We will get to the significance of this in a later round.

1. Prohibition is ineffective in reducing use

My opponent’s arguments, for the most part, rely on the assumption that tobacco use would fall if a ban were imposed. Indeed, only if use declines would the health effects to the user and to others become less of a problem. And if use fails to decline, costs to the government would also stay the same--and possibly increase. Banning tobacco would not reduce use, my opponent’s entire position falls apart.

The key reason prohibition would reduce use is that it would increase prices. Indeed, all other things being equal, higher prices reduce demand for most goods. Increasing the price of doing a crime through punishments reduces crime, for example. However, the demand for drugs is inelastic, meaning drug users do not respond to price increases as much as you would when shopping for gasoline. For this reason, prohibition may actually make matters worse. Economists Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen write in their textbook, Principles of Economics, that, “The more effective prohibition is at raising costs, the greater are drug industry revenues. So, more effective prohibition means that drug sellers have more money to buy guns, pay bribes, fund the dealers, and even research and develop new technologies in drug delivery (like crack cocaine).”[1]

If prohibition leads to increased drug costs, drug use is unlikely to decline much in the short-term because the demand for tobacco is inelastic, and tobacco use may increase in the long term because the new revenues given to the cartels from higher prices would allow them to become more efficient. This is simple supply and demand. When supply is equal to demand, the market is happy and everything goes great. But when government officials reduce the supply of drugs, for example when they raid 320 million dollars worth of meth, markets are no longer in equilibrium.[2] By reducing the supply relative to the demand, prices go up. It is through this that prohibition increases costs, and, as a result, makes matters worse.

When prohibitionists argue prohibition increases costs and thus reduces use, there is no strong evidence that drug prices are increasing. Prohibition has failed to increase costs since the 1980s despite there being an increase in drug seizures.[3][4] In many cases, the prices of drugs has declined while seizures have increased. In fact, when Portugal decriminalized drugs, prices did not fall.[5]

Both of these arguments weaken my opponent’s position: if prohibition does not increase prices, use will stay the same, and my opponent’s case falls apart. But if prohibition increases prices, it could increase drug use.

We are forced to conclude that prohibition would make matters worse or have no effect on use at all. Both of these conclusions make my opponent’s arguments, from a public health perspective, impotent.

2. Prohibition makes drugs more dangerous

Outlawing drugs leads to the creation of potent alternatives. While prohibition may rarely be “successful” and reduce the supply of drug, it leads to more dangerous replacements.

In other words, scarcity begets innovation. Innovation occurs when people want to reduce the number of constraints on their enterprise. Tobacco prohibition, as it would reduce the supply in some areas, would constrain cartels and thus force drug cartels to create new, less-detectable (and more unsafe) alternatives in order to overcome the challenges of drug enforcement.

In the case of opiates, drug cartels have hired chemists to make synthetic substitutes for the drug. These drugs are cheaper to make and more easily evade drug enforcement officials.[6] Unfortunately, these synthetic drugs are more potent than the original drug they were meant to replace.

Banning drugs forces drug markets to go underground. Illicit markets are not subject to oversight and regulation. In the current tobacco regulatory regime, the FDA regulates the production, marketing, and sale of tobacco products.[7] The FDA requires labeling, transparency regarding ingredients, requires a reduction the amount of harmful chemicals put into tobacco, make public the nicotine content of cigarettes, etc.[8] If drugs were banned, these rules would disappear. Users would be forced to purchase drugs from unknown, unreputable, and criminal dealers who would not be required--and likely wouldn’t even know--what ingredients are in the product. While tobacco being sold today isn’t “safe,” prohibition would make the drug even worse.

Prohibition is antithetical to public health goals.

3. Prohibition would create violence

As prohibition drives markets underground, violence is the inevitable result. With the market no longer operating under the rule of law, participants in the market use violence to resolve disputes.

Economist Jeffrey A. Miron, in his research on the topic, has argued prohibition of both alcohol and drugs led to increases in the homicide rate. Even when controlling for other factors that can affect homicide rates, the evidence still suggests homicide in the United States is higher than it otherwise would be if drugs were legal.[9]

In the United States, there are 2,000 homicides each year related to gang violence.[10] In the US, the illegal drug trade is a $100 billion dollar a year underground industry.[11] That is $100 billion in the hands of gang members who kill each other and innocent civilians instead of $100 billion in the hands of law-abiding business owners who work out disputes in the legal system. By banning tobacco, the illicit drug industry would expand and create more crime.

It should also be noted that the drug war has led to more resources being used to catch drug dealers and users rather than “real” criminals. In Florida, research has found increased drug enforcement efforts reduced the number of property crime arrests.[12] The decline in arrests was not because drug enforcement reduced property crime; indeed, the study found that property crime increased in the period studied due to the decline in arrests.

Miron has also suggested that, “Eliminating drug prohibition would probably reduce homicide in the United States by 25 to 75 percent.”[13]

4. Harm Reduction

Instead of banning tobacco, which would make harm per use worse, create crime, and fail to reduce use, we should focus on initiatives that actually work. US anti-tobacco policies are already working, as use has fallen to an all-time low. Only 12% of US adults use tobacco, down from 42% in 1965.[14]

The success of current public health initiatives in regards to combating tobacco use can be seen below. This demonstrates we can reduce tobacco use--and the harms that come from tobacco use use--without prohibiting it.

In Sweden, they have legalized the use of “snus,” a smokeless alternative to tobacco. While other countries banned the drug, Sweden allowed its use, and now has the most effective anti-smoking policies in Europe, according to the WHO.[15] In Sweden, 20% of men now use snus, and this is the primary reason Sweden has the lowest smoking rate in developed countries; young men substitute tobacco for a less-dangerous alternative.[17] Electronic cigarettes have far fewer health risks than traditional smoking, and they are helping smokers quit smoking in the US. The vast majority of electronic cigarette users had previously been smokers and were trying to quit--successfully--by using smokeless alternatives.[16] The innovation regarding smokeless tobacco is how the free market is reducing tobacco use without intervention.

However, intervention is still needed.

In the US, California has the second lowest smoking rate.[18] Utah has the lowest smoking rate, though that should be attributed to the largely mormon populace, not specific policies. California has access to the most funded anti-smoking public awareness campaign in the country.[17] California doesn’t simply have the lowest rate of tobacco consumption at this very moment, but the rate of smoking has been, and still is, consistently falling.[19]

Research also demonstrates that “different racial and socioeconomic groups respond equally well to quit campaigns.”[17]

My opponent cites the 6 million killed each year by smoking statistic in order to suggest that the tobacco problem is worsening, but the way he uses the statistic is disingenuous. That statistic relates to the entire world, but this debate is only about the US. Indeed, the increasing number of smoking deaths globally stems from undeveloped countries.[17] In the US, the problem is improving by every measure.

Pursuing a policy of harm reduction, which has been relatively successful in the United States and elsewhere, would reduce tobacco use without any of the negative externalities of prohibition.

1. Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, Principles of Economics, p. 60.



















Debate Round No. 2


Con's main argument is the negative impact of prohibition. I will address it here.

Con cites prison populations and overcriminalization, however, only 1% of drug users are in jail ONLY for drugs. Drug offenders are only 16% of the population.

Con cites that prohibition could possibly lead to more deaths. However this is outweighed by the effects of tobacco on people, and that tobacco kills millions of people a year. He is correct that 6 million is global deaths, but hundreds of thousands die a year from tobacco, outweighing prohibition.

Con also claims that prohibition will not actually lower the use of drugs. However, there is ample evidence proving that the criminalization of something indeed reduces the usage.

Drug control has lowered demand and drug usage by 25% since 2001. Drug control laws reduce use of drugs by 50%. Since legalization of marijuana DUIs jumped 25-50%. This is evidence that legalization makes people more apt to doing something. Logically, this makes sense because most people are rational and do not want to be criminals.
Lastly Con says that cartels would form.However, there already is a cigarette cartel, despite being legal. Cartels still exist under legalization. In fact, according to a large analysis, cartels adapt to legalization to increase their revenue.

Con suggests using smokeless tobacco. However, there is still a sizable population of millions who still smoke, endangering the lives of their fellow citizens. Must we wait until people die until we act?

Extend opening arguments.
Secondhand smoke: The Surgeon General Report concluded that 2.5 million American citizens died of secondhand smoke since 1964. CDC states that 34,000 people die a year because secondhand smoke heart disease and thousands more of lung cancer. Even if usage is down people are still using tobacco, which is harming the lives of fellow citizens.

Environmental: Cigarettes produce a significant amount of air pollution and litter, which is toxic to ecosystems

Economic: BIllions a year are lost due to medical cost

Users: Over 90% addiction, number 1 leading cause of death

In conclusion, vote Con because secondhand smoke harms people, not just the user. Tobacco is negative environmentally and economically, and makes people addicted.

Sorry for short case, ran out of time

I await 16k


(I didn't proofread this because I have finals, and for the first time I am studying. Proud?)

R1: Cost

No one can deny the effect of tobacco on the country is negative. But the issue with my opponent’s argument is that it assumes prohibition will reduce costs.

Before I begin, remember that my opponent argues tobacco use costs society $52 billion a year, possibly more. But saying tobacco use may cost more than $52 billion is just conjecture. We only have hard evidence for $52 billion, and that is the number I have to respond to.

a) Prohibition itself costs money

In 2010, state governments spend $25 billion dollars on the drug war.[1] In 2013, the Federal government spends a comparable amount: $25.2 billion.[2] This means the current drug war costs about $50 billion dollars each year, similar to what tobacco costs our government each year.

But tobacco prohibition would cost more than $50 billion to enforce each year, well above $52 billion--and likely similar (if not equal to) the harm tobacco inflicts upon society even taking into account my opponent's conjecture. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 24.6 million people have used illicit drugs “in the past month.” However, 55.8 million people--more than double the number that use illicit drugs--use tobacco.[3] Current drug laws, therefore, are trying to enforce the law against 24.6 million users and their suppliers, but if tobacco were to be banned, a market over twice the size of the current illegal drug trade would open up, meaning the government would need a huge amount of funds for new enforcement efforts.

A simple back of the envelope calculation, based on the number of users, suggests tobacco prohibition would cost about $120 billion dollars per year to enforce (55.8/24.6 = ~2.4, 2.4 * $50 billion [cost of current drug war each year] = $120 billion).

This means that tobacco prohibition would likely cost more than the effect tobacco currently has on society. In fact, secondhand smoke costs about $11 billion each year in direct and indirect costs,[4] meaning my opponent’s number is closer to $63 billion. But as the cost of prohibition of tobacco is, at the lowest, $50 billion (current drug war cost) and likely closer to $120 billion, the savings from tobacco prohibition are miniscule and likely non existent. If anything, prohibition would cost more.

b) My opponent assumes cost would be reduced under prohibition

My calculations above may underestimate the net-cost of prohibition. Indeed, I assumed that prohibition would bring the medical costs of tobacco to zero, though that is unlikely to occur. Illicit drug use, from lost productivity and medical costs, is still exorbitantly high.[5]

I will get to this later (as my opponent attempted to rebut these arguments), but if tobacco use doesn’t fall if we ban tobacco, there is no reason to believe prohibition would reduce the costs related to tobacco use, anyway.

R2: Users themselves

It is ironic that my opponent thinks banning tobacco use would help users. As noted in my OBV2, banning tobacco use (see resolution) would mean all users would be criminals if prohibition were passed.

This begs the question: would making tobacco users criminals help them? Probably not. Instead of marginalizing their activity as crime, it is much better to let them come out of the shadows and go through legal rehabilitation centers or use legal products in order to quit smoking. By making them criminals, you force them to purchase goods that they don’t know where they came from or what ingredients are in the drug. While legal tobacco isn’t good for you, tobacco companies are prohibited from adding more addicting and hazardous materials in order to make it more attractive. Cartels would not be subject to these rules. Cartels would put more addictive and unhealthy chemicals in their products if they thought it would make it more marketable.

A new insidious drug called “krocodile” has been sold on the black market and created because heroin is illegal. However, in a free market, this product would not exist. If a drug were to cause injury and the company refused to warn customers, they (or their family) would be able to sue the company through the court of law and make it economically unfeasible to create the drug.[6] Currently, tobacco companies do put warning labels on their products, and the evidence seems to suggest that these labels reduce tobacco use.[7] My opponent makes claims about tobacco companies funding false research, which is true, but the fact is current regulations are protecting the consumer much better than prohibition would and smoking rates are at an all time low without banning the substance.

My opponent claims most smokers have tried to quit--a claim I do not dispute. But by prohibiting tobacco use and making drugs unregulated, more harmful, and more addictive, how would prohibition help users quit use?

If anything, prohibiting tobacco would make the user worse off. They would be criminally liable for using drugs, would be using unregulated drugs that are more unsafe than the legal variants, and they would be forced to purchase from criminal drug dealers and gangs that use violence and extortion in order to receive payment. Prohibition puts users in harms way more than it does in the current system.

R3: Second hand smoke

I would like to note that my position means that we can regulate tobacco even if we don’t ban it. There are multiple ways we could reduce the harms of secondhand smoke without prohibiting tobacco use.

a) Ban tobacco use in public places

This is not the same as banning tobacco use, because people could still use tobacco in the privacy of their own home. By forcing businesses to ban smoking on their property and by enforcing bans on public property, you would reduce public exposure to cigarette fumes while, at the same time, allowing a legal market to provide tobacco to users who would smoke in their own homes.

b) Ban smoking near children

If a parent was a smoker, they would be legally obligated to quit. This would be to protect children and infants who are unable to consent to being near smokers.

c) Require consent from family members

If a man (or woman) was a smoker, but they lived with relatives, roommates, etc., the person in the home would have to sign a letter of consent to the government that acknowledges the harms of secondhand smoke and that the signatory consents to being in the same vicinity as a smoker.

All of these would essentially eliminate (or substantially reduce) second hand smoking exposure without a full on prohibition of tobacco. The CDC has already acknowledged the effectiveness of the proposals I made above, and they say that “Smokefree laws that prohibit smoking in all [public] indoor areas of a venue fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke indoors.”[8]

And for those who have family members or children who do not wish to be exposed to smoke, and the smoker cannot smoke at home, the government could create smoking lounges for smokers who wish to get their nicotine fix. In fact, Switzerland has tried this, and crime related to drug use, drug use in total, and drug deaths have fallen as a result.[9] You do not need to ban tobacco to prevent involuntary exposure.

R4: Environment

This is the weakest argument my opponent makes. The resolution reads: Tobacco use should be banned in the United States. In the *United States.* Banning tobacco use in the US would do NOTHING to reduce environmental harms related to smoking.

5.6 trillion--yes, TRILLION--cigarettes are sold globally each year.[10] Only 264 billion cigarettes were sold in the US in 2014.[11] That means the US is only responsible for 4.7% of tobacco sales in the world.

Removing 4.7% of cigarette sales each year wouldn’t fix anything my opponent talked about. It wouldn’t clean up our oceans, it wouldn’t significantly reduce littering, etc. Tobacco-related pollution would barely budge globally, and as tobacco use is rising in undeveloped countries, would probably be balanced out in a matter of years. And again, this is assuming every smoker stops smoking! I will respond to usage arguments last round, but as use would not decline if tobacco was banned (and possibly increase), environmental harms even domestically would not change.


I am low on space, so I will defend my arguments next round. My opponent’s case has been entirely debunked, and the arguments in favor of tobacco prohibition are extremely tenuous. Voters should instead favor harm reduction policies.












Debate Round No. 3


First off, my opponents rebuttals to secondhand smoke are COMPLETELY invalid in today's round.
a) Ban tobacco use in public places
b) Ban smoking near children
c) Require consent from family members

Round 1 clearly states
"Pro in this debate will advocate a ban, Con will support the status quo"
Status quo is "the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues." (Google). So basically 16k must defend the current system, while I advocate that a ban would be more beneficial to society.

This means that secondhand smoke is completely valid in the round, and the houndreds of thousands of deaths of innocents completely outweigh Con's entire case.

Next in his rebuttal Con states that "by prohibiting tobacco use and making drugs unregulated, more harmful, and more addictive, how would prohibition help users quit use?

If anything, prohibiting tobacco would make the user worse off. They would be criminally liable for using drugs, would be using unregulated drugs that are more unsafe than the legal variants, and they would be forced to purchase from criminal drug dealers and gangs that use violence and extortion in order to receive payment. Prohibition puts users in harms way more than it does in the current system."

Where Con misunderstands is that if tobacco is banned, use drops. This is a fact, as my previous rounds proved. When drugs were banned, the access and demand fo them decreased. A ban makes something harder to get, which reduces use.

Premise 1: A ban would reduce access to tobacco ( make it harder to get)
Premise 2: Lower access means less tobacco
Conclusion: A ban reduces tobacco use.

It is true that there would be a few cases of smuggling here and there. However, just because something may occur even with a ban does not make it right to be legalized. For example society bans robbery yet robberies still occur. By con logic, since something still occurs while banned, it should be legalized.

If tobacco is banned, users will be forced to quit or be forced to look into smokeless tobacco, no more dagerous carcinogens and secondhand smoke.

it is true that the rate of smoking is declining today, however a ban is still necessary because a significant amount of people do indeed smoke.
"There were over 158.6 million women in the United States in 2009. The number of men was 151.4 million" The smoking rate is 17.8% according to CDC. This is 55 million smokers still in the US

Framework my opponent has not addressed, which is that role of government is to better the lives of the people. Therefore in a cost/benefit analysis vote Pro.

Environment should still go to me. He doesn't mention my evidence that US smokers contribute 250 billion cigarette butts and that the litter is toxic. They kill 1000 a year and cost billions to clean, as they are the majority of litter.

Economic: my opponent assumes that a ban would take more money enforcing, based off his conjecture that use that will not go down. This argument is rebutted by lack of access and harder to buy tobacco. making prohibition of tobacco beneficial to the economy


Vote Pro based on a cost/benefit analysis. Con has not shown a benefit to society of smoking, while I directly prove that smoking causes cancer in users and non users alike. It hurts the economy and environment. Back to Con


Time to respond to everything.

Prison populations

I never mentioned this, but it is important to note that my opponent’s statistics prove the anti-prohibition case. If 16% of people in jail are there for drug related charges--1% for use, 15% for trafficking, dealing, or manufacturing--that means, if drugs were legal, we would reduce the prison population by 16%. With each inmate costing $31,000 to the taxpayer each year, reducing the prison population by 16% sounds like a good deal.[1] By adding yet another drug law, we would be increasing the enormous cost of overincarceration to unacceptable levels.

Drug policy and drug use

This is the most important part of the debate. If my opponent loses this point, his entire case falls apart. My opponent cites two extremely sketchy sources, the only valid ones being the DEA (conflict of interest) and the Rand corp study.

It should be noted that the economic theories outlined in the previous round put a doubt into my opponent’s data. As is often said in economics, any good theory has a fact, and any good fact has a theory. As I have undermined the theory behind prohibition reducing drug use, my opponent’s facts are essentially useless. Regardless, they are untrue.

To simply say “drug use is falling” while at the same time enforcement is increasing (and the drop is due to the enforcement) is simply an ad hoc ergo prompter hoc fallacy. As I have previously noted, tobacco use has been continually falling, even during the time period my opponent specified. Further, some illegal drugs, like marijuana, has seen use increase since 2001, whereas other drugs, like cocaine, are still relatively uncommon.[2] These two facts lead us to a different conclusion: social factors, rather than enforcement, drive drug use. Marijuana use has increased despite increased enforcement efforts because it is now socially acceptable. Tobacco use has fallen despite no enforcement because it is no longer socially acceptable. Both of these destroy my opponent’s claims.

Further, countries that focus on treatment rather than enforcement see better results when it comes to reducing drug use.[3] In fact, as the US has continued to prohibit drug use while other countries have moved towards more liberal policies, we have been ranked number one! Yay … Oh, wait, number one in drug use.[4] Boo!

Even the National Academies of Science, the most prestigious scientific organization in the world, agrees with me: Using the marijuana decriminalization in the 1970s as evidence, they find the reduction of enforcement and penalties for drug use did not increase use.[5]

We should compare our current regime of tobacco use to our drug use trends. Marijuana use has increased in recent years, with no change in cocaine use rates. Whereas tobacco use has fallen dramatically. This leads us to a simple conclusion: prohibition doesn’t work. The theories don’t show it, the facts don’t show it.

Prohibition and deaths

My opponent offers zero rebuttal to this. He essentially says this: Oh, my opponent says prohibition would make drugs more harmful and lead to MORE deaths. But it is bad now, so this outweighs it.

That makes no sense. I argued it would be *worse* than it is right now, meaning if it is already bad currently, prohibition would make it that much worse. Indeed, evidence from the war on drugs lends credence to my position. Even when scholars claim drug prevalence falls, the harms the drugs have on society increase because the drug becomes less safe and less regulated. Since the onset of the war on drugs, “we have seen dramatic increases in drugrelated emergency department visits and drug-related deaths coinciding with this period of increased enforcement.”[6] Other scholars argue that drug prohibition “[marginalizes] drug users and reduce opportunities to minimize health risks applying public health measures,”[7] which makes drugs more dangerous and can be described as “a war on public health.”

This, along with the previous argument, leads to two disturbing outcomes. First, if I win the use argument, tobacco harms will stay about the same--or increase, if the economic theories I presented are accepted--and second, if I win the death argument, prohibition would *increase* the number of deaths and increase the costs on society. As my opponent has effectively dropped this argument, and he cannot respond to it last round, I essentially win this debate.

Harm reduction

I will tie in first my R2 arguments, an argument that my opponent drops. He only says, “shouldn’t we do something?” The answer is yes: Let the market continue to opt for safer products. As I have noted, prohibition isn’t really doing something anyway, it just makes the problem worse.

My opponent claims many of my policies are irrelevant because I have to defend the status quo. This showcases my opponent’s ignorance of the law: 28 states have already banned smoking in enclosed public spaces.[8] I am defending the status quo by extending the laws the majority of states already have to every other state.

It should also be noted that the majority of harm reduction strategies--taxes on tobacco products, images on the packages, anti-smoking campaigns, and other policies have already significantly reduced tobacco use. Indeed, the reduction in tobacco consumption due to the strategies I have outlined have saved eight million lives, reduced the number of lung cancer deaths by 800,000 all in 50 years (close to the amount of time the drug war was declared).[9] On the other hand, prohibitionist policies have led to an increase in illicit drug deaths since 1999.[10] The number of opiate deaths have increased since the 1970s.[11] It is clear that harm reduction, if you are worried about the costs of tobacco, offers a solution to the drug problem. Prohibition makes the problem worse. If use is falling already, why ban it and get all of the negative externalities of prohibition? My opponent’s logic makes zero sense.


A huge amount of my opponent’s case was about global pollution. My opponent drops all of this for domestic littering statistics.

First, as tobacco use is falling due to harm reduction, harm reduction will reduce the amount of littering even if we do not ban tobacco.

Second, while tobacco does have some inherent environmental costs, it has environmental benefits, too. The death of millions of European bees is a huge environmental problem, and the declining bee population has been called “the biggest foreboding danger of all facing humans is the loss of the global honeybee population.”[12] But research has suggested tobacco could help save the bee population. Tobacco plants carry chemicals that kill parasites that have killed many bee populations, and when bees fertilize tobacco plants, the parasites in the population begin to die.[13] Genetically engineered tobacco plants have been shown to kill insidious environmental toxins, too.[14]

Tobacco has some effects on our domestic environment, to be sure, but my opponent only focused on the harms. As tobacco could prevent the largest impending environmental disaster--the death of the bee population--destroying the tobacco industry may not be a wise solution to the littering problem. Harm reduction strategies will eventually minimize the problem--and as prohibition doesn’t change usage rates, marginalizing drug users probably won’t solve the problem.

Second hand smoke

My opponent makes this odd argument: “[The] role of government is to better the lives of the people. Therefore in a cost/benefit analysis vote Pro.”

This, if anything, supports the Con case. I have shown that prohibition would cause crime, make drugs worse, marginalize drug users, and do little to reduce use. While second hand smoke is a real issue, continuing the harm reduction policies would reduce tobacco use to a rate where second hand smoke wouldn’t even be an issue. My opponent’s responses to harm reduction has been almost nil, which undermines my opponent’s case.


My opponent seems to accept my calculations if use does not decrease. As I have given many more reasons to believe use would NOT fall--and my opponent has offered only a barebones rebuttal to that point--it is safe to assume that the economic costs of banning tobacco would outweigh the benefits. Whether or not we use my opponent’s calculations in R2 or upper-end calculations, the costs are likely to outweigh the benefits.


My opponent’s entire case is based on a false dichotomy: ban tobacco now and eliminate all tobacco problems or we will all drown in costs and pain. As I have demonstrated, there is another way: continue with our successful harm reduction policies that have halved tobacco use in fifty years. We will half it again and again if we continue forward. My opponent’s solution, prohibition, makes the problem worse. It does little to reduce use while increasing crime, the potency of the drug, and marginalizing drug users. Banning tobacco use and production is a terrible idea.















Debate Round No. 4


This debate is mostly about usage. If usage indeed decreases due to a ban vote Pro.

There are main reasons why criminalizing tobacco use decreases use.

1. Most people do not want to be criminals and violate law; therefore, they will abide the laws of society, as most people are not criminals. Some people will break the law in every case (murder, robbers, etc.) but these people are few

2. Prohibiting something reduces access to something, restricting the supply

3. Because of lower supply, the price goes up

There is clear evidence on this, as in the historic example of Prohibition.

According to Blocker, PhD, in the National Library of Medicine,
"Nevertheless, once Prohibition became the law of the land, many citizens decided to obey it. Referendum results in the immediate post-Volstead period showed widespread support, and the Supreme Court quickly fended off challenges to the new law. Death rates from cirrhosis and alcoholism, alcoholic psychosis hospital admissions, and drunkenness arrests all declined steeply during the latter years of the 1910s, when both the cultural and the legal climate were increasingly inhospitable to drink, and in the early years after National Prohibition went into effect. They rose after that, but generally did not reach the peaks recorded during the period 1900 to 1915. After Repeal, when tax data permit better-founded consumption estimates than we have for the Prohibition Era, per capita annual consumption stood at 1.2 US gallons (4.5 liters), less than half the level of the pre-Prohibition period."

He cites Miron and Zwiebel from National Bureau of Economic Research.

Miron and Zwiebel use data of cirrohsis rates, alcoholism rates, alcoholic pyschosis, and drunkeness arrests. Using their data they found that alchohol usage fell to 30% of Pre-prohibition level, and then went to around 60-70% of pre-Prohibition level. This is a 30-70% reduction.
Mark H. Moore,professor of criminal justice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, wrote "alcohol consumption declined dramatically during Prohibition. Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929. Admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis declined from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928.

Arrests for public drunkennness and disorderly conduct declined 50 percent between 1916 and 1922. For the population as a whole, the best estimates are that consumption of alcohol declined by 30 percent to 50 percent.

Third, violent crime did not increase dramatically during Prohibition. Homicide rates rose dramatically from 1900 to 1910 but remained roughly constant during Prohibition's 14 year rule. Organized crime may have become more visible and lurid during Prohibition, but it existed before and after.

Fourth, following the repeal of Prohibition, alcohol consumption increased."

This is clear that overall usage decreased, while violent crime rates did not increase significantly.

Even CATO Instititute, a staunch libertarian think tank against prohibition and supporting drug usage stated in an article AGAINST prohibition:
"At first glance, the evidence seems to suggest that the quantity consumed did indeed decrease. That would be no surprise to an economist: making a product more difficult to supply will increase its price, and the quantity consumed will be less than it would have been otherwise."

CATO admits that usage went down overall. Before my opponent attempts to use the graph from the CATO source, the graph was based off of Warburton, and the source itself stated "Warburton's estimates are the most reliable, although he felt that he might have underestimated the sales of the most potent products--spirits" Warburton is more unreliable than my highly qualified experts and irrerutable logic.

Using clear logic and evidence we see that prohibiting a substance reduces usage.

Reduced usage is a overall benefit to society. Extend all evidence- the hundreds of thousands of deaths to users, the hundreds of thousands to non users, and medical costs, along with environment,

"28 states have already banned smoking in enclosed public spaces.[8] I am defending the status quo by extending the laws the majority of states already have to every other state."

No, the status quo is it legal to smoke in enclosed public places in 22 states. It is legal to smoke in public places such as parks in all states (Correct me if I am wrong).


These studies prove secondhand smoke can "from a neighboring apartment can travel through ventilation systems, pipes, walls, open windows and doors, electrical sockets and even tiny cracks in plaster and drywall.". Studies " found smoke residue on surfaces and in the air of both smoking and non-smoking rooms in 30 California hotels where smoking was allowed. ""Volunteers who stayed overnight in the smoking hotels also ended up with sticky nicotine residues on their fingers, whether they stayed in smoking rooms or not.""Cigarette fumes probably become lodged on the hair and clothes of parents as they smoke outside, says Matt. The particles could then be brought back inside the house, where they would hang in the air or settle in dust. Family members may then inhale them directly or unwittingly transfer them from hand to mouth.

Infants are particularly at risk as they spend most of their time indoors and often put objects into their mouths, says Matt. Contaminated dust can settle on toys, carpets and bedding and may remain there for months, he adds."

Secondhand smoke is a large danger to society and can only be eliminated through a ban, as it can travel through everything. Smoke is a gas, so even if banned publicly, it will travel and harm innocent non users.

16k is defending the status quo of banned in enclosed public spaces for 28 states, but a ban is needed for the well being of all.

Economic is not as important, but I still prove a multi-billion dollar loss. Even the monetary gain of tobacco, the "revenue", is taken from addicts into the hands of big business. Economic comes second to morally correctness. No one should profit off of mass-production and sale of poisons that go straight to users- tobacco.

Environment:"A huge amount of my opponent"s case was about global pollution. My opponent drops all of this for domestic littering statistics."
Ok but... From last round "Environment should still go to me. He doesn't mention my evidence that US smokers contribute 250 billion cigarette butts and that the litter is toxic. They kill 1000 a year and cost billions to clean, as they are the majority of litter."

This is about domestic smoking.

"Tobacco plants carry chemicals that kill parasites that have killed many bee populations, and when bees fertilize tobacco plants, the parasites in the population begin to die."

OK, so you admit tobacco has poisonous chemicals that kill animals, this is not all good. Tobacco use has been proven to poison marine life, as stated in round 1 (opening).

I will turn his ENTIRE honeybee case around.

"A new joint study from the USDA"s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing published in mBio, the American Society for Microbiology"s journal, suggests that aside from neonicotides, parasites, pesticides, and other bee killers, a tobacco virus is what is killing our bees. The study calls it the Tobacco Ring Virus (TRSV) and points to it as a probable cause of CCD. It seems strange that a virus could jump from plant to animal, but in the mad science world of biotech, it isn"t uncommon.

The really scary part of the TRSV virus is that not only is it jumping from one species to another, but it is moving up 6 levels in biological hierarchy from the plant to animal kingdom. For those of you who have not studied biology, there are normally stop-gaps, or checks in balance in mother nature via 9 levels, namely: species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain, and life. The plant virus spreads horizontally between bees and vertically from eggs to queen bees."

Tobacco creates viruses that DIRECTLY kills bees, and this Tobacco Ring Virus jumps from species on 6 levels.
"Here we provide evidence that a pollen-borne plant virus, tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV), also replicates in honeybees and that the virus systemically invades and replicates in different body parts."


Vote Pro for 3 main reasons. First, usage will go down with a ban. Second, tobacco usage is inherently bad for killing innocents-secondhand smoke. Third, environmental- litter, air pollution, and killling animals,

Thanks for a great debate. Vote Pro


Did alcohol prohibition work?

My opponent introduces a new argument last round--alcohol prohibition. And while it is generally the norm to ignore new arguments in the final round, I will respond to it anyway.

My opponent claims drug use fell during prohibition, but that claim is misleading. And there are a few reasons why we don’t know the real rate of drug consumption. The main one being we had no direct statistics. The criminals who sold alcohol didn’t pay taxes on their profits, so no direct statistics exist. We are forced to rely on indirect measurements that may or may not be valid. This puts a dent in my opponent’s case.

But even the indirect statistics my opponent presents do not seem to prove his argument. In fact, “the biggest drops in alcohol consumption and alcohol problems actually came before national prohibition went into effect.”[1]

Many of my opponent’s arguments use weak timelines as well. Many of them begin in 1910 or in that vicinity. But prohibition began in 1920.[2] If, as noted, alcohol problems were falling during 1910-1920, and then stabilized (indicating an increasing trend), the 1920s levels would be lower than 1910. But comparing 1910, a year at the peak of alcohol problems, and 1920, a year after the legal market seemed to have dealt with the problem, you don’t really have an accurate picture as to what prohibition accomplished.

While my opponent points to many alcohol-related problems, the facts suggest they began to increase during prohibition. While number of alcohol deaths fell before prohibition and continued to decline until 1922, they began to increase again in 1922, during prohibition.[1] If you use the rate of alcohol deaths, which is more accurate, it is lowest in 1920 (falling since 1910), but begins to increase thereafter.[1] I have created a graph of this data. The data suggests, if anything, the Tyler-Cowen hypothesis is correct: drug use increases when prohibited.

While prohibition may cause some users to quit use, the general facts seem to show that usage rates seem to stay unchanged and the higher prices brought by prohibition, which increase use, cancel out any deterrent effect.

Many of my opponent’s statistics relating to crime and other things are unrelated to prohibition. During prohibition there was an economic boom, which tend to reduce crime. And alcohol consumption increasing after prohibition is not surprising, either. The great depression’s worst years were behind it, so people’s disposable income--which they would use to buy more alcohol--increased.

Second hand smoke

My opponent argues that, even if these public smoking laws are passed, deaths will still occur. However, as prohibition of tobacco would do little to reduce use, most smoking would occur indoors in the apartment complexes my opponent worries about. As it would be dangerous to smoke in public, they would smoke in their homes. And, according to my opponent, smoking in the home is the worst offense possible.

Further, as prohibition would make all of the current policies that reduce smoking invisible--you cannot regulate a black market--use would probably increase. I have explained this time and time again, and my opponent has ignored the harm reduction argument for too long. Harm reduction, not prohibition that marginalizes users, is what will improve public health.

“a ban is needed for the well being of all.”

As my opponent has ignored, prohibition makes drugs worse, meaning the “well being of all” would deteriorate under prohibition.


“Economic is not as important”

This is essentially a concession…

“but I still prove a multi-billion dollar loss.”

No you don’t. I have shown that the costs of enforcement, incarceration, increased crime, and more potent drugs would far outweigh any economic gains from prohibition. And while he claims my calculations are unrealistic as they claim no decline in use (a reasonable assumption), his calculations are even more absurd: they assume zero use after prohibition. My opponent proves, at most, a few million dollar loss, whereas enforcement, no matter what, will cost in excess of one hundred billion.


The tobacco ring virus is carried by more than just tobacco. The virus is carried by “ field grown crops, ornamentals and weeds. field grown crops, ornamentals and weeds.”[4] A ban on tobacco would do little to combat weeds.

Further, the problem of parasites are much larger than the problem from tobacco ring virus. In fact, parasites are the leading cause of bee decline. The amount of dying bees has doubled since 1990, and the parasite in question is considered the leading cause by most researchers.[3]

My opponent didn’t “turn” this argument. He simply believes this disease is carried only by tobacco because of its name, when (1) it is carried by other common plants, and (2) the issue of parasites, that tobacco combats, is much greater. Also note he totally dropped the benefit of cleaning pond scum.


Vote Con.

    • My opponent drops that prohibition makes drugs worse.

    • Prohibition increases crime.

    • Prohibition does little to reduce use.

    • Any global environmental impacts are nil, any domestic impacts are likely nil as well.

    • The economic impacts are vastly overstated, and it would likely cost more money to pursue prohibition than continue with harm reduction.

    • My opponent drops harm reduction, which means he concedes that it is a superior option.

Vote Con.





Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
The Voter's Union has provided 2 votes for this debate.
Posted by Hayd 2 years ago
I was brief with my RFD since I wrote it at 1 in the morning XD
Posted by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Ignore the 3/3, that was only a one part RFD, that was all.
Posted by Midnight1131 2 years ago
RFD 3/3

Overall my analysis of the arguments doesn't cover every argument made, you'll notice that. This is because in the final two rounds, there was a great deal of dropped arguments and the entire debate centered to a few arguments. These being secondhand smoke and whether or not prohibition reduces rates of tobacco use. In this case secondhand smoke doesn't even matter, because if prohibition is shown to fail at reducing tobacco use, there's no reason to support a ban. Whether or not a ban would reduce tobacco is a contention that can easily discredit every other argument made by both sides, since both agreed that tobacco has a negative effect on society. This very important contention was won by Con. He discredit Pro's arguments about both drug control and alcohol prohibition, showing that drug usage was falling even before increased enforcement, and that alcohol related deaths were falling before prohibition, and started to flatline and even rise afterwards. This was the crux of Pro's rebuttal, and Pro already failed to address the rest of what Con had stated. Such as prohibition leads to violence and makes drugs more dangerous.

Due to this critical argument, I give the win to Con. His case was able to show that a tobacco ban would be ineffective and that the current policies are already giving pretty decent results. He was also able to discredit every single on of Pro's contentions. He showed the enforcing a prohibition would outweigh the costs of tobacco on the healthcare system, that banning tobacco wouldn't help tobacco users and instead make them into criminals, and that it wouldn't really have a significant effect on the environment. Due to these reasons I vote Con.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
Nah, this is one of my worse debates.
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
I started writing up an RFD, but this debate is just *so* cluttered and messy. It's really tough to read: improper headings, cases, rebuttals and defense in different rounds, etc. I hate reading this. (The arguments themselves aren't bad, though.)
Posted by Hayd 2 years ago
I'll be voting on this soon :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Hayd 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Clear win for Con
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD IN COMMENTS - If either side has any issue with this vote feel free to contact me. This is a vote out of the Voter's Union.