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Smoking law-it's just a tax grab

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 530 times Debate No: 112221
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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I have given up trying to get a half competent response to this. It's the usual 'You smoke, so you wear it" type answer.
I strongly believe the government is using this as a cash cow, tax, forget the basics of offering rehab. Smokers don't qualify for some reason. Government argues that smokers are responsible for all the costs associated with nicotine addiction. I think I would be better off getting high from illegal narcs. I would get help with rehab then no problem. Smokers cannot.
Before you all start quoting government health stats, and I do hope you all respond to this, let me start by letting you know that I, and many like me, have private health insurance. I, we, pay triple premiums for being a smoker. It's more than a miner pays.

Now, very important, the insurance is based on how long you had smoked before. My insurer puts triple premiums on a smoker that has smoked for more than 6 years. At ANY time in your life, and most of them do that. Of course you could be tempted to lie to them, but anyhow, in the event of an illness of any kind it's easy for them to point at your smoking history, it's an easy get-out clause. So don't bother lying about it. You're paying already.

What really bugs me is that I'm spending more on tobacco than I"m spending on living costs. And there's nothing I can do about it.
As a result of all this, I have spat the dummy, and now I refuse to quit. Even if government were thoughtful enough to offer rehab, I will refuse. Because what they have done is bullying, whether smokers are right or wrong, Big Brother is putting the boot in and getting paid. It's not for me thanks. I will quit on my own terms, when I'm ready and when I know it's final.


Your argument is irrelevant because the taxes you pay aren"t for your healthcare.
If anything they exist to cover expenses and damages incurred to others because smoking
Doesn"t only affect the smoker. According a report by WHO at
Tobacco kills more than 7 million people a year. More than 6 million of those deaths
are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-
smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Is your health care plan covering ALL those that
Who might be affected by your decision to smoke? NO.

We think we need to pay taxes on tobacco. Because there are so many bad
effects caused by smoking. Here are some examples.
WHO"s report:
killing more than 7 million people a year. More than 6 million of those deaths

are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-
smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the
cost of health care and hinder economic development.
This is the major problem of cigarettes, and there are many others

There are many ways to solve the problems caused by smoking paying taxes
on cigarette is a pretty good way to potentially fund these solutions.

Furthermore, If the government puts high taxes on cigarettes,
This could discourage people from smoking and lessen the amount of smokers
This will lead to fewer second-hand smokers, and less health problems
will be caused.
Debate Round No. 1


Well so much for this debate, I was expecting more than the usual half competent "You smoke so you wear it" response.

I suppose it's so much easier to quote generic numbers and paste links. WHO (don't get me started on them) obviously have all the answers in Gospel and should be taken seriously. I'm sure they'd have a lot more fuzzy facts about all kinds of substance abuse, including alcohol, many of which are illegal but still readily available to any member of our 'clean-as-a-whistle' public. These are not taxed to the hilt and yet cause a lot more damage to the health system AND economy (seems this is important to the problem) than smoking ever did. I'm not even going to go into the social effects of alcohol abuse, which is legal. I'm not here to swap fuzzy numbers with you. I would like for a doctor to step forward and tell me honestly that he/she has ever signed off a death certificate stating second hand smoke was the exact cause of death. Most evidence has shown that it has never been the single cause of a death. At the most it would have been a complication in an existing terminal disease. (Which was obviously caused by 2nd hand smoke...)
As far as health care costs go, you can be sure there is no loss in it. Any business, insurer or provider, is in it for a profit. If there was no profit to be made, there would be no interest. Premiums for a smoker aren't there to make them quit. Neither are taxes and I resent that you actually expect me or anybody to believe that hype. This behavior by the government is no less than a tax grab, in any other business form it would be labelled extortion and taken to task. The primary reason given by the government was to make smoking less or even plain unaffordable, and to pay for all the associated costs of negative advertising - yet selling,buying and using tobacco is still legal. Why? Simple. There is no tax on illegal goods.


Another issue not to be overlooked is the damage to property and the environment caused by smoking. Forest fires caused by discarded cigarettes can cost billions of dollars annually.

Where does the money come from to combat these fires? Not from the individual smoker, so it makes sense to hoist taxes on the product responsible for such destruction.

Cigarettes are also responsible for 20% of all fire deaths. Who should pay the bills to fight these fires and risk the lives of firefighters to save people from the fires created by careless smokers?

Just a tax grab? No those taxes contribute to fixing a variety of messes caused by the people who insist on smoking cigarettes.
Debate Round No. 2


This is the same old argument which is why I've thrown down the gauntlet on it. I was hoping for somebody to spar with that doesn't keep pasting links as a form of debate.

You have not addressed any of my issues and you're wasting my time.

It's also easy to blame smokers for fires, and blah blah, do more research on it and you'll find that Ergon and lightening are way ahead of your "facts". Let's not forget bush campers out from the city. They are completely clueless when it comes to killing a campfire properly.

It's a tax grab,period! Smokers don't insist on smoking, you idiot. Why, at this price?!! They are addicted to one of the most evil handcuffs in all the world of drugs. The only offer of help with it in this society is an expensive regime of patches, o so many variations, none of which work. If they did, all smokers would be quit by now. It takes about a month, cold turkey. To be sure you're clear enough not to be tempted back on it, and that can happen on any bad day at work! It needs a rehab, lock up situation same as cocaine or any other nasty on the market.

This is what needs to happen.

Don't bother replying if you're just going to continue with pasting.


I've summarized the information in my arguments but also provided the links for others to check for themselves just in case they suspect I'm spouting baseless contradictory statements like some sort of amateur. For someone who wanted a serious debate, you might want to stop acting the part of some whiny victim. Many of your arguments and rebuttals so far are based solely on your opinions and experiences, which, hold no weight as they lack any substance. Put a little more effort into your arguments, good sir.

And just so you know lightning accounts for less than 10% of wildfires. The other 90% are caused by people, which includes cigarettes. You can't dismiss this. You can try to minimize the contribution of smokers to the billions of dollars of damages but the fact remains that smokers contribute. Just because you're irate over having to pay more than your living costs for cigarettes isn't an excuse to act like a child by resorting to insults either. I am not an idiot.

And your comment that smokers don't insist on smoking. You are your own rebuttal. To quote you,

"I refuse to quit. Even if government were thoughtful enough to offer rehab, I will refuse. Because what they have done is bullying, whether smokers are right or wrong, Big Brother is putting the boot in and getting paid. It's not for me thanks. I will quit on my own terms, when I'm ready and when I know it's final."

You refuse to quit and suggest you can do it when you are good and ready. I wouldn't consider it a stretch to conclude there are others out there just like you; able to quit when they are ready, but refuse out of some misplaced sense of pride.

You say the cost is too high and there's nothing you can do. Have you tried growing your own tobacco to alleviate the cost? It is legal in many states and those who do it report that the cost is very minimal. Pennies to the dollar. Maybe the cigarette tax is more like a lazy simpleton tax.

Please check your attitude. This debate is not an attack on you or your habit, its an exploration into the nature of the tax presented to the public to vote on.
Debate Round No. 3


Finally!! Apologies to you for implying any insult. It was meant to get a real response from you, and it seems to have worked, no less!

Glad to see you're taking the issue seriously enough to go back and review the debate. You're still short though, look some more. To address your comment on "whiny, victim, opinions and experience.." - Well I understand you want to trade insults, fair enough, however since when has anybody lost the right to express opinion and relate experience.? These are not baseless and are reflections of government attitude. How is it baseless to express personal experience of the result of this attitude? The facts remain, for which you are yet to give rebuttal, in my previous rounds.

As far as your concern for "others" who may think of you as amateur in the way you hold council, let me relieve you of the worry. I am not concerned with the insults, as a smoker you grow immune to all the insults, there are lots. It hardens you. With you it's just you and me having a debate. I don't expect people to make a difference to it, but if somebody reads this and decides to think more about it, then my job is done.

Now the other thing, your "facts". I imagine you are fielding them from somewhere (Please don't tell me WHO), however if I was to waste my time pasting links, you would find quite a different result, depending on the source. I also have firefighter mates who all say the same thing, old electric wiring, HV, and lightening are the biggest cause. The guys out here say campers are the worst. (Maybe they were smokers...)How do the authorities get these figures you're giving me? They count the butts after a fire, must be.

When I said I refuse to quit on the basis of the government strong-arming; well it is tantamount to a hunger-strike in prison when you do not agree with the decision handed down on moral grounds. Right or wrong, it's all about right or wrong. I'm sure you'd argue that that's a war situation and doesn't apply, but..cigarettes are free in the armed forces, mate.

As far as growing tobacco!!? You must be clueless, the government spends more on arial surveillance for tobacco than for weed. The penalty is actually worse! If we start comparing prices for tobacco and weed, we will come to understand why this carry-on is ludicrous. Which brings us back to taxes.

"Please check your attitude. This debate is not an attack on you or your habit, its an exploration into the nature of the tax presented to the public to vote on." Quote.

The nature of the tax? Please elaborate. And while you're at it please explain how the public can vote on's either an election issue or a tax cow, surely. I really don't think it's the former...


Before I move onto further rebuttals and argumentation I want to elaborate on a few things you were confused about. By nature of the tax I mean: the motivation behind the tax laws in whether or not it is simply a tax grab or justified to cover expenses incurred by cigarettes. As for the public's involvement: this debate is open to be viewed by the public and certain qualified members of the public will vote on the winner of this debate, unless I am mistaken on the parameters of who decides the winner of this debate.

You say I have fallen short in regard to the premise of the debate, then how about this. This debate is about whether or not the taxes on cigarettes is just a cash cow for the government. You say the government argues that smokers are responsible for all the costs associated with nicotine addiction. That's the argument in the first paragraph of your opening statement.

Then you go on about private insurance and your living costs in relation to cigarette prices.

My approach to this debate is to justify the taxes by showing some of the expenses incurred to the government by smokers. If tobacco uniquely contributes to the expenses of the government it makes sense to tax those involved with product. The rest of the nonsmoking public doesn't find it fair to pay anything for a product that increases their likelihood of getting cancer and lowers their overall quality of life when exposed to it any way. The taxes try to alleviate these concerns and come to a compromise so that smokers who choose to smoke can continue smoking.

Your private insurance has decided to charge you triple premiums because you are a smoker... ok, so what. They feel that you are a liability and should pay. The government feels smokers are a liability too and have decided they should pay as well.

In the United States there is a large number of low income people on Government funded medical aid; a kind of medical insurance of sorts. In this case a persons' status as a smoker does affect the use of tax dollars to cover medical care. Costs of smoking and it's adverse medical effects do become an issue that reflects on the taxation of cigarettes. This variable cannot be ignored in the justification of high cigarette taxes.

So your firefighter friends in your local area have told you of their experiences with what causes fires but consider a more world view.

In France, 1999, a single lit cigarette thrown from a moving car lodged itself in the air filter of a transport truck and ignited a fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel that burned for two days and killed 39 people including one firefighter. The damages of the tunnel fire cost over 1 billion in damages to the region. In the USA, a major fire in the thoroughfare between The Oakland Hills in California, was suspected to be caused by a cigarette. That fire left
10,000 homeless, destroyed nearly 4,000 dwellings and cost more than $1.5 billion. In Texas City, Texas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation blamed a cigarette for igniting an ammonium nitrate explosion in 1947, causing the worst
industrial disaster death toll in U.S. history. The explosion caused nearly 600 deaths, 380 hospitalizations longer than two months, 4,100 casualties, and damage to more than 90 percent of the city"s buildings at a cost of more than $4 billion.

The habits associated with smoking are a clearly a source of billions of dollars worth in damages. No individual smoker can pay these bills, but the risk remains. Therefore taxing all those partaking in the dangerous habit is justified.

In regard to your counterargument that growing tobacco is illegal. It isn't, unless you live in Australia, or something. In the United States growing your own tobacco IS LEGAL. Only the sale, or distribution, of tobacco is illegal by private citizens,but if you are growing tobacco solely for your own personal use it is perfectly fine. If you do live in Australia you may want to petition your government to change its laws to reflect the ones in the USA.

I'd also like to revisit the argument of high taxes being used as a deterrent to discourage smoking.
Smoking is a habit that tends to start early in life. Four in five adult smokers started before they were 18; while only one in 100 started after age 26. High cigarette taxes can act as a deterrent and a primary reason why it's effective is that young people are particularly sensitive to price increases. The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) surmised that existing research showed that a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices will lead people under age 18 to reduce their smoking by 5-15 percent. Among adults over 18,the CBO concludes, the decline would be 3-7 percent. Do you want our youth to start a smoking habit? The US government has reason to believe that increasing the price through taxation can reduce the number youths who to start smoking. Even if you argue against it's effectiveness as a deterrent the possibility that it could work is enough for many to support it and your arguing against that would prove self serving and insensitive to many.

My next argument has to do with low-income government subsidized housing in the United States. This could apply to other countries with low-income housing as well.

In recent years the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would ban smoking in public housing units. This would apply to more than 940,000 homes that are subsidized by the federal
government. One of the reasons stated was so children could grow up in a safe, healthy home free from
harmful second-hand cigarette smoke. Low-income housing residents will still be allowed to smoke, but not inside their
homes or within 25 feet of any public housing building. The smoking ban will also crack down on millions of dollars worth of property damaged caused each year from preventable fires and repairs. But the fact remains that over all these years these damages have already been incurred. And who's to say these people will follow these bans?

Low income families rely heavily upon government assistance for housing as well as health care. It is in the best interest to discourage these youths from picking up the habit. A costly habit that could potentially put that youth right back into low income housing when they get older. A habit that contributes to health problems that the government has to pay for since these poor people can't afford private health care. A habit that burns down the homes the government builds for them. A habit that stains walls and ventilation systems requiring unnecessary maintenance expenditures. A habit that reduces property values which in turn cost the government more money.

The high taxes can potentially save the government billions of dollars by discouraging people from smoking in the first place. Or it can cover the various expenses caused by those who smoke. It's not just a tax grab.
Debate Round No. 4


Righto, seems you're a yank. Explains a lot of the difficulty with this. That is, for me not you, we tend to speak plainly here in Oz. Legal stuff here is not the same. But I think it is fruit from the seed taken from the U.S.

First point I need to make as concerns your argument re- smoking deterrent for young people or new starters. I am totally in agreement about preventing this. If this tax was working I wouldn't be here shouting about it. It isn't! There was a 2%-5% reduction in smokers the first 2 years the law was made real. 10 yrs later it appears it has not gotten less but is now increasing. Of course this data is relevant only to people like me and I was lucky to hear it, try find it now, it's gone. One night scoop for some news newbie. It's not the kind of news the government wants on it's election podium.

When it first came into affect with all the negative ads and strange photos,(kids can't be fooled with CGI) well, I remember all these teenagers crowding the kiosks shouting about who had the pack of smokes with the worst pics.
Later it becomes like a birthmark, you forget it's there. Somebody still has to pay for it tho, the tobacco co's sure don't, nor do the governments..

My argument is perhaps too ambitious, I really need to know how do you put a blanket ban on one drug yet keep it legal?
Things seem to be going in reverse here, we just legalized medicinal weed but now pressure's on to legalize all weed.
Well there you go, MORE TAXES.
I'm not going to go into how "bad" that is,.
See, if we had to go into comparisons as I think we should, in order to cover this topic realistically, then we need more than 5 rebuttals apiece.
I am 100% sure that this whole thing is a bleeding bear. like the Chinese do.. Or a chained dog that you can whip, like we do. To provide release for the chained, for a smoker it needs rehab no less. No whip.. That investment will start to see dividends if it's done right.
Ban tobacco completely WITH MAJOR PENALTY, but offer these long time addicted smokers the chance to REHAB, it's a one-off cost to government and (the economy).

I cannot understand how a lot of what you have said in context with this debate makes sense, to me anyway, mate. It seems to me you have avoided the crux of the issue. I have tried to get something out in the open to do with the smoking problem and yet you have not appeared to be in any way... conducive ?

Thanks for the effort tho.


Yes, well, I am an American, but I also live in Korea. So it was a bit difficult to choose which perspective to choose and I didn't figure out you were Australian until you mentioned that growing your own tobacco was illegal. In Korea there is also national healthcare so the health risks caused by smokers IS directly paid for by tax dollars. In Korea they have some of the lowest taxes on cigarettes in the world which in turn leads people and law makers to consider raising the taxes to cover the costs for health expenses and the maintenance of public smoking areas.

In regard to your information regarding the tax discouraging smokers. It's a shame the info can't be found. People should be trying to analyze the anti-smoking methods accurately to ensure we can approach the problem most effectively. But as it stands raising the prices has at least some marginal desired effect and it doesn't cost the government anything to implement it.

As for experience with the kids reacting to anti-smoking ads. Everyone has their own experiences. I can go on about how most kids in my school growing up took the warnings to heart and scoffed at the kids who insisted on smoking and how the kids who smoked were in the minority.

How do you put a blanket ban on one drug and keep it legal? It isn't really a ban if you think about it. I don't know how much you know about American history, but there was a time that Alcohol was outright illegal. It was a mess that created a network of organized crime that cost the government too much money to fight. By making substances like alcohol, cigarettes and weed legal and tax them is an attempt to take the revenue away from organized crime and to cover any potential costs that may come with it's legalization. It's a compromise to give the people who want the stuff what they want but also ease the minds of the people who are opposed to it's legalization. It's part of the acceptance process for the masses. You have to pay because society decided your habit was bad. Trust me having a tax is better than being thrown in jail only to be released with a criminal record.

All the arguments I've given you were to show the rationalization people present to justify their vilification of smoking. The health concerns, the fire damages, the reduction to property value. You've tried to minimize these and naturally so since you are a smoker, but it doesn't change the fact that these serious concerns still exist and in the eyes of most people. People want to do something to make themselves feel better, to ease their conscience, about the fact that smoking is legal. The tax is one of those ways.

You are upset your cigarettes cost so much, but I don't think you have done enough to convince others that the smoking law is just a tax grab. The damages smoking causes are very real and the government has to pay for many of those damages one way or another. Even if the tax is only capable of paying for some those costs, in the eyes of most, it justifies the law.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by dukeofpanda 3 years ago
NileRivers, why don't you refrain from launching insults during the debate.
Posted by asta 3 years ago
What if your a smoker who is uninsured? To keep it consistent, it should be illegal for insurance companies to charge extra for smokers. The government would pay for health bills from smoking. This would get funded by a tax increase in smoking (to $19.72 per 20 pack of cigarettes) so if you can't afford the high prices, you don't smoke and then no doctor bill from the smoking.
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