The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Spinko Tournament - Conservative Showdown - Smoking Rights

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,060 times Debate No: 17214
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (3)




Resolved: On balance, the US government should regulate smoking.


1. regulate: enforce policy to fight and prohibit the use thereof

2. smoking activity: anything that involves the use of smoking tobacco


1. No semantics

2. No new arguments in the last round

3. Forfeiting will result in a loss

4. Drops are concessions

5. BoP will be reciprocal

I look forward to a good debate

Argumentation will start Rd. 2


I'm looking forward to a good debate.

Some clarifications:

As was made clear in the comments, the debate is about regulating the activity of adults who voluntarily subject themselves to tobacco smoke. An example is the operation and patronage of cigar bars, private establishments that facilitate smoking tobacco.

Because semantics are inherent in word use, "no semantics" means no interpretations of the words or f the meaning of the resolution that are inconsistent with common usage in the context of the debate. Much of the context was teased out in the debate comments made up to this point.

Let's have at it!

Debate Round No. 1


Resolved: On balance, the US government should regulate smoking


The resolution asks us to evaluate governmental regulation of smoking.

First, what makes a governmental obligation? A governments obligation derives from a consequential based cost benefit analysis; governments must maximize the best outcome for the polity. This is true because governments are established to ensure protection of that polity. However, 100% protection and fulfillment of preferences is impossible, especially on the scale a nation of 365 million people. Thus, the government must maximize thus ends. If they do not they are not fulfilling its primary obligation as a State.

Second, any poli-ethical stance will ultimately collapse to a fundamental consequentialist basis. This is true because all evaluations of poli-ethics will deal directly with an evaluation of an end state - even if that end state is a singularity.

Third, consequentalist analysis deals directly with cost-benefit. Thus, the burden is reciprocal in that respect. The judges must weigh the end results of smoking from both it being a beneficial act or a dangerous act.


C1: Harms

Caveat: my opponent may try and say that we are only discussing voluntary exposure to smoke. However, keep in mind society does not operate within isolated spheres. What affects one of us, affects those around us. Thus, the line between voluntary and involuntary is very, very vauge and gray. Thus, the resolution advocates an on-balance approach to evaluation. Even the Surgeon General has argued that that line is hard to pin down. Which comes to my evidence:


In 2006, the Surgeon General released a report on second-hand smoke. The following was concluded:

1. Any amount of second hand smoke is dangerous and threatening to the well-being of an individual. Even simply walking next to someone outside who is smoking harms the body.

2. Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease. Being around second-hand smoke increases your chance of lung cancer by 20% or more. In terms of heart disease, the toxins cause platelets to stick together more easily and at a higher rate.

She provides an analysis: A vast majority of the 4,000 different chemicals in cigarettes are toxic and are carcinogens. Be it first hand or second-hand smoke the chemicals are the same. Therefore, second-hand smoke is no less dangerous than someone deciding to in-take cigarette smoke.



Dr. Barnoya, an MD and PhD at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, has done extensive research into the effects of second-hand smoking at its impacts of cardiovascular health. Her findings has concluded the following:

1. Secondhand smoke (SHS) increases the risk of heart disease by aprx. 30%. This accounts for at least 35,000 deaths annually.

2. Isolated analysis: (1) toxins cause platelets to stick together and cause damage to the lining of the arteries, (2) the toxins cause vasoconstriction, (3) toxins cause the arteries to stiffen, (4) the toxins exacerbate the process of atherosclorsis, (5) the toxins cause inflammation throughout areas of the cardiovascular system, (6) toxins cause insulin resistance which makes heart disease more probable.

[2] Joaquin Barnoya, MD, MPH; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD. Cardiovascular Effects of Secondhand Smoke. San Francisco, CA

C2: Solvency

A) Cardiovascular and Cancerous.

Lorenzo Richiardi offers solveny with a Pro ballot. His study concluded that regulations have an immediate effect on individuals who would have otherwise been subjected to passive smoking.

“Decreases in population rates of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have been repeatedly seen in the first months after the introduction of regulations banning smoking in public places. By decreasing the exposure to passive smoking and its acute cardiovascular effects, smoking regulations may cause an immediate drop in AMI incidence, beginning from the initial days after their introduction.”

The study goes to to conclude that even outside the realms of cardiovascular effects, introducing regulations decreases significantly the carcinogen process that occurs from passive smoking.
[3] Lorenzo Richardi. Cardiovascular benefits of smoking regulations: The effect of decreased exposure to passive smoking. Cancer Epidemiology Unit.

Moreover, government regulations in establishing smoke-free environments has led to a decrease of this number drastically. “An evaluation of a geographically isolated community (Helena, Mont) showed that the number of hospital admissions resulting from acute myocardial infarction decreased after the implementation of a law ending smoking in public and workplaces...” [2]

B) Deterrence

A a linear analysis study done Jeffrey Wasserman, a member of the Health Policy Research Division, concluded that increasing regulations on cigarettes (the sale of and locational regulations) has the effect of decreased cigarette use and in particular the effect of deterring future smokers. And by extension, decreasing regulations on cigarettes has the opposite effect - more people continue and start. His analysis spanned 3 decades of monitoring governmental regulations and deregulations and the consequent effect of that. [4

[4] Wasserman. The effects of excise taxes and regulations on cigarette smoking. Behacioral Sciences Department, The RAND Corporation.

The States with the highest amount of regulations have the lowest amount of smoking compared to States with the lowest amount of regulations have the highest amount of smoking. This combined with the RAND report indicates that indeed a deterrent exists with regulations. [5]




Thanks to Pro for intiating this debate. It gets to he fundamentals of what government should regulate.

The Resolution

The meaning of the resolution is usually determined with respect to the context of the argument presented with the resolution. In this case, there was no argument presented with the resolution, so I see no alternative but to rely upon the comments prior to my accepting the challenge. I stated that I would only debate the question of whether government should regulate people who voluntarily subject themselves to tobacco smoke. I'm still not sure exactly what we are debating, but if it is the regulation of people who voluntarily subject themselves to smoke, then that is a semantic argument relying upon somehow invading the intended meaning of the resolution. By Pro's Rule 1, if it is a semantic argument that concedes the debate.

I think that Pro is not making that semantic argument, but rather argues that because any amount of tobacco smoke is harmful and because anyone putting smoke into the air necessarily subjects non-smokers to smoke, smokers are therefore subject to regulation under all circumstances. Pro can clarify if I have it wrong, but I'll proceed on that basis.

C1: Harms

I concede that substantial smoking harms the health of the smoker. The "harm" question is whether there is practical lower limit of smoke exposure below which the harm caused by tobacco smoke is so small that regulation of voluntary smokers cannot be justified in terms of the public good. Keep in mind that harm is posed in terms of risk. Some people smoke like a chimney and never get cancer or any other illness that reduces their life span. Many of us know such a person, but they are reported in news stories. [1.] Those people beat the odds, but the harm was not inevitable. As exposure to smoke drops, the risk drops. That's a premise of regulating smoking.

Smoking lowers health costs overall, because the savings from smokers dying younger is greater than that of treating their acute illnesseses. [1a.] The harm is only in health.

Let's consider a similar low-probability risks. When a person goes to any public place with many people, a park, school, or concert hall, there is finite risk of contracting a dangerous disease from one of the other attendees. Under a broad principle that government should regulate anything that poses harm to the public, there would be grounds for preventing public assembly altogether.

There might be a special circumstance where the risks are so high that such regulation is justified. Suppose there is information that a carrier of a highly contagious disease is on the loose in a major city, Public assembly might then be temporarily prohibited while there is high risk. However, under ordinary circumstances we rely upon the public to assess the risk of going to the park, or whatever, and to use reasonable judgement in assessing risks. If a dictatorial regime banned assembly for supposed health reasons, with no acute risk, we would be rightly suspicious that it was no more than a cover for imposing a separate agenda.

Consider another case. Is inhaling gasoline fumes in any amount good for a person? I seems reasonable that it is always harmful. Keep in mind that low-level risks are rarely measured. There are imputed from high level exposure. If gasoline fumes in any amount are harmful, can we conclude that the government should ban filling stations? Some states do require gas fume recovery systems to lower overall air pollution. It's reasonable only if it can be shown that (a) overall air quality is improved as a result of the regulation and (b) that public health is thereby improved as a consequence.

What is missing from Pro's case for harm is a showing that the incidental smoke with reasonably regulated voluntary smoking causes measurable public harm.

Wood smoke is about as dangerous as tobacco smoke. [2.] It is reasonable to have some regulation of wood smoke, as when communities ban using fireplaces on still evenings. Nonetheless, a forest fire in Arizona just put the smoke from 750 square miles of trees into the atmosphere. There will always be some wood smoke in the atmosphere. At the very least, it would be unreasonable to regulate wood smoke --or tobacco smoke-- to levels that are below the natural ambient levels.

California decided to ban smoking during the peak of the cigar craze in 1997. The government said that they had to protect employees from second-hand smoke, even though the employees were working voluntarily. Silicon Valley knows all about air filtering. The clean rooms used in semiconductor manufacturing require the removal of microscopic dust particles. It turns out that not only is it possible to apply clean room technology to public spaces, it is cheap enough to be entirely practical. The design involves having the air flow from the floor up to the ceiling where it is sucked in and electrostatically filtered. The design is such that the air in a cigar bar full of heavy puffers had air substantially cleaner than the air outdoors. A non-smoker two feet from a smoker could not smell the smoke. The operators of these places offered to meet any standard the state wanted to impose. They also offered to have employees wear gas masks.

(Tobacco smoke particles are about 0.3 microns. [3.] Commercial air filters remove 99.99% of 0.3 micron particles. [4., scroll to the Ultra-cell model] Clean room technology is more elaborate and includes design of the airflow patterns in the room.)

The offers to ensure ultra-pure air were rejected by the State. They used Pro's argument precisely: any amount of tobacco smoke is harmful, period. Never mind that a non-smoker's health would improve compared to the outdoor air, The justification for regulation is that the air isn't perfect. That's the way California law stands today: no level of air quality is good enough.

I claim government should not impose such regulations because they are unreasonable and cannot be linked to a significant health hazard.

C2: Solvency and Deterrence

Yes, regulation is a deterrent. One can go further and threaten people with life imprisonment for lighting up, and that would be even more effective. However, that does not justify banning smoking in public places. Pro cites statistics on health improvements after smoking bans are imposed on public places. That is an argument for regulating the behavior of people who voluntarily choose to be in those places. Voluntary exposure is not the subject of this debate, and snaking it in indirectly is a violation of the rule against semantic arguments.

However, for the sake of debate I will consider the hypothetical that people do not voluntarily enter smoky places. One remedy is that they can be provided with gas masks, or better yet, bring their own. Another possibility, perhaps more appealing, is to require air filtration to reduce the levels of second hand smoke. In either case the resolution fails because Pro is, if I understand him correctly, arguing that any risk of harm justifies any amount of regulation.

We should be concerned about the principle that any amount of harm implies that government should impose regulation to prevent it. The principle provides cover for imposing irrational ideological believes upon a free people. Anti-smoking extremism is a part of a modern ideology that wants to impose religious-like concepts of what behavior is acceptible and what is not. It should not be enough that a majority agree that something is bad in order to ban it, there must be a substantial harm to the public that is not voluntarily participating.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2


==Resolutional Analysis==

--Voluntary vs. Involuntary--

Scope of the resolution

A. On Balance. Remember the resolution states “on balance.” This is particularly important because it limits the scope of the resolution to a majority within either a qualitative and/or quantitative weighing mechanism. I.e. both of us must prove “on balance/in the majority of circumstances or for some outweighing reason” there should be an imposition of regulations or lack thereof.

B. Limitation. Roy keeps mentioning his confusion over the fact that he wanted only voluntary circumstances. But as I mentioned in the last round, the line between voluntary and involuntary is very very vague. His interpretation limits the scope of the debate and thus skews the debate. This is true because all Roy would have to prove is that X group of people who live in complete isolation within the forests of the US should not be regulated. At the same time I cannot say X people shouldn't force a cigarette into the mouth of an infant. In both instances the arguments are unfair and abusive.

C. Reconciliation. Thus, the phrase on balance makes the playing field of the debate more fair since it allows both debaters to show how their side outweighs quantitatively or qualitatively. And moreover, the debate would center around not the obvious examples on both sides but the areas where the limes are gray such as public places, work places and private businesses.


He conceded the consequentialist framework. So you will be evaluating the round via a state obligatory cost-benefit analysis


C1: Harms

Let me first list the concessions of my opponent in reference to my evidence:

1. He concedes both conclusions of the surgeon general, namely that (1) any exposure to SSM is dangerous and threatening and (2) exposure to SSM tremendously increases ones risk of cancer or heart disease.

2. He concedes the Barnoya evidence which tells us that SSM increases the chance of heart disease by 30%. Plus, the isolated pieces of analysis.

Now lets go to his rebuttal:

1. He says there is a threshold where regulations wouldnt be necessary:

(i) He never gave a threshold to weigh the arguments with. At this point theres no way to link this argument to consequentialism since we dont know how to weigh it. So no quantification mechanism

(ii) Regulations will always, ON BALANCE, be needed because as the conceded evidence tells us a decent amount of people will be effected by being around SSM.

(iii) He gives you no argument to qualitatively weigh this argument. How do we know the violation of ones ability to smoke outweighs the harms?

(Iv) Sure, some people beat the odds but the empirics I provided outweigh and the analytics give reason to believe the empirics are true. One example of a guy living to 100 doesnt negate the harms. So I outweigh here because quantitiatively more people are going to be harmed from even a minimum exposure to SSM.

2. Lowers health costs

(i) The resolution states the US government so your empirical analysis doesnt apply. The US does not have a single-payer system that the Netherlands have. As such, the cost-benefit analysis the Netherlands uses (the rationing system) isnt applicable since the US wouldnt be allocating costs based on life-expectancy. The system in the Netherlands would cut health costs for those people which would have them die at a quicker rate.

(ii) He doesnt link this argument to the framework. Unless he can show how the costs saved would have overriding benefit than the people which were pretty much sacrificed, he lacks a link.

(iii) TURN: within the US system, health care costs skyrocket due to smoking. This is true because smoking and SSM causes high rates of cancer and heart disease. These arguments were conceded. And as such, high rates of cancer and heart disease put tremendous costs onto the system. “Two decades from now, the costs of treating heart disease will triple by 2030, hitting $818 billion, predicts an American Heart Association (AHA)study.” AND

“Despite the successes in reducing and treating heart disease over the last half century, even if we just maintain our current rates, we will have an enormous financial burden on top of the disease itself.” So more needs to be done. Affirming the resolution fiats a solution by helping prevent these harms. AND

“In the nearer future, ten years from now, medical expenses for cancer will soar to at least $158 billion, according to projections from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) last week.That’s a 27% increase from current costs of $124.6 billion.What’s more, if new tools for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up continue to be more expensive, the costs could get as high as $207 billion – illustrating the importance of advancing the science of cancer prevention and treatment.” Thus not only will the system be heavily burdened, the costs will be absorbed by the people due to increased costs for procedures, tests etc.

3. Woodsmoke is just as dangerous.

(i) Extratopical. Who cares if it is? As long as I link into an outweighing benefit by affirming the resolution you have reason to vote aff. And this will be the case because unless he subsumes the benefits this argument doesnt compel a negative ballot.

4. Alternative: Commercial Air Filters

(i) Only aff has substantial fiating power. This is true because it prevents neg abuse from simply saying well lets not do the resolution and do X instead. And this protect abuse on the level that the aff’s research burden would have been exploded to a very large amount. Thus, the neg cant fiat this as a solution.

(ii) Politics Block. Whereas the aff can fiat the resolution into existence with a Pro ballot the con would have to show that the alternative would be passed. When an alternative is presented Con needs to show that the alternative would be passed through the government. And to access solvency the Con would have to get this passed nationally, i.e. in Congress. However due to the Republican majority in the House any mandate wouldnt be passed since it would be: (1) against the libertarian ideals of the Tea Party and (2) it would be politically deadly since it would be seen as controversial since the Republicans almost unanimously oppose the mandate for healthcare.

C2: Solvency and Deterrence

He concedes Sub-A.

1. The Richardi evidence tells you that regulations in public places saw an immediate drop in acute myocardial infarction and thus a decrease in heart disease and regulations slow down the carcinogen process which is exacerbated by SSM.

2. The second Barnoya evidence revealed the same thing except within an isolated example. As such, the pro is protecting against heart disease.

B) Deterrence

1. We can threaten with life imprisonment

(i) The benefits of deterrence have to outweigh the consequences. Threatening with life is imprisonment would create high amounts of backlash. Those harms would outweigh since stability would be compromised. Thus, the government wouldnt be upholding its duty of a cost-benefit.

2. He says volountary isnt topical

(i) Your the one who wanted the debate to be about voluntary exposure. The evidence deals with the harms of SSM. But I think he meant involuntary. However the evidence refers to SSM as well and also as I mentioned the lines are blurred

3. People wouldnt voluntarily enter a smoky area

(i) This is where the line is blurred. But Ill provide some examples: public places such as a park where a kid is playing with his friends and they are in a very smoky area; a restaurant where it is generally a non-smoking area but the area is enclosed so the smoke circulates from those that are smoking; a workplace where smoking is allowed.

4. Gasmask alternative

(i) XA the analysis on fiating power

(ii) XA political bloc argument



The resolution

Pro now claims that "on balance" means "in a majority of circumstances." I thought it meant, "upon a showing of a majority of the evidence." When setting up the debate, in the Comments, I told Pro that I didn't know want it meant to have "on balance" a right to regulate. Pro responded by changing "right to regulate" to "should regulate." That made sense with "on balance" meaning what I supposed. In the comments I was clear that I thought the debate was about involuntary rather voluntary exposure to smoke. Pro attempted to use a semantic trap to evade my clear condition for the debate. Pro's Rule 1 forbid semantic arguments, so Pro is in violation of the agreed upon rules.

Pro's argument that there is no clear line between voluntary and involuntary remains. The argument derives from the notion that since everything affects everything, and bad things happen, nothing can escape regulation by the government. In particular, Pro seems to argue that since there is no line, all smoking should be banned. I argue that government should not impose regulations upon smokers that require second hand smoke to be less than the natural ambient levels in the environment.


Pro makes false claims of my conceding several points. I conceded that smoking is bad for health. I did not concede that any exposure to second hand smoke is dangerous and threatening. I gave the example of gasoline fumes. The fumes are never good for you, but clearly when the concentration is low enough they are neither dangerous nor threatening. If there is only one smoker in the United States, say in a isolated cabin in Alaska, the resulting smoke would not be good for the other 311 million citizens, but it wouldn't be dangerous or threatening to them. It would be negligible

Pro falsely claimed that I conceded second hand smoke increases heart disease by 30%. The study Pro cites makes the claim for non-smokers living for a long time with one or more heavy smokers. It is not prima facia to claim that therefore exposure to any amount of second hand smoke produces a 30% risk. When I say it is not prima facia, I means that ordinary common sense tells us that a slight whiff of second hand smoke will not produce the same health hazard as the worst case of continually heavy exposure.

Even though the claim does not stand on its own, I nonetheless refuted it. I went on at some length comparing trace second hand smoke to other low risk events. I said, "
Keep in mind that low-level risks are rarely measured. There are imputed from high level exposure." That assertion is broadly true because low level risks from a specific cause are impossible to isolate from other causes. Pro gave only evidence of the harm from a very high level of second hand smoke, and provided no evidence of the quantitative harm of very low levels.

Pro claims I "never gave a threshold to weigh the arguments with. At this point theres no way to link this argument to consequentialism since we dont know how to weigh it." That's false. I established that wood smoke is as dangerous as tobacco smoke, and that there is always some level of wood smoke in the air. I then gave the threshold, saying "it would be unreasonable to regulate wood smoke --or tobacco smoke-- to levels that are below the natural ambient levels."

I established that modern technology makes it practical to reduce the smoke levels in place having many smokers to levels of smoke below that of of the ambient outside air. Thus, if the door is opened to the outside, the outside air is then improved by the purer air escaping.

Pro insisted that there must be a quantitative threshold for cost-benefit analysis. Pro selected "no smoke whatsoever" as the threshold, and jumped from that to claiming that government should ban all smoking. Pro provided no evidence that trace amounts have a measurable bad effect. How would it be possible to show that air purer than unfiltered outdoor air is bad for a person? It's not possible.

Medical costs

Pro makes two arguments with regard to the medical costs from smoking. First he says that because the US doesn't have a single-payer system, it is not relevant what the total cost burden is on the health care system as a whole. Then he says that smoking in the United States is a problem because it is increasing the total costs in the health care system.

First let's sort out the facts of the health costs. Pro cites evidence that the costs of treating heart disease and cancer are expected to continue to rise in the United Sates. The expected increases in cost cannot be due to smoking because tobacco use has been in a steady decline since 1990. Other things cause heart disease and cancer, but Pro only cited the cost of treatment, not the prevalence of the diseases. Treatment costs rise because all medical costs risk.

Pro's evidence does not contradict the study I cited, which showed smokers die younger resulting in net savings of health costs. For smokers, we expect the costs of treating heart disease and cancer would be higher than the population norm. However, the costs of treating other age-related maladies decreases, more than offsetting those costs.

Pro says that lacking a single-payer system the costs are irrelevant. That's mostly true, which rebuts his second claim that the rising costs are a disadvantage. The exception is that with smokers checking out early, there is a lower total burden on the health care system. Now, it remains true that "checking out early" is not good for those who choose to voluntarily subject themselves to smoke, but that's a problem for those who take the risk, not for the health care system. Individuals are free to engage in all sorts of risky activities, from driving automobiles to hang gliding, with the risks borne by themselves, including higher insurance premiums.

More semantics

Near the end, Pro starts speaking in tongues, saying "Only aff has substantial fiating power. This is true because it prevents neg abuse from simply saying well lets not do the resolution and do X instead. And this protect abuse on the level that the aff’s research burden would have been exploded to a very large amount. Thus, the neg cant fiat this as a solution."

He does not offer an English translation, so I must hazard a guess. I think Pro is saying that the resolution requires either that either (Pro) government should have some regulation of smoking or (Con) that there should be no regulation of smoking. That's not my understanding of the resolution. It was clear at the outset that I was advocating no regulation of voluntary exposure to smoke, while supporting regulation that would prevent, say, maliciously blowing smoke in the faces of babies. By allowing regulation of involuntary exposure, I obtained "fiating power" to which Pro now says he has exclusive right.

So what is the debate about? Pro (as best I can determine) argues that since there is no threshold on the hazards of second hand smoke, the government has the right to ban all smoking. I claim that at the most extreme, government should not ban voluntary smoking in which the second hand smoke to which others are subjected is purer than the ambient air. I always maintained that government could regulate involuntary exposure, so discussion wood smoke and air filtration is relevant to establishing the threshold for regulation.

There are many parallels for using ambient exposure as the threshold. The full-body scanners used by the Transportation Safety Administration at airports are safe because they produce less exposure to radiation that the traveler get from flying at altitude. Workplace exposure to arsenic is compared to ordinary background levels of arsenic.

Government should not ban smoking based upon involuntary exposure less than ambient.
Debate Round No. 3


==Resolutional Analysis==

1. If Roy checks his PM he will see when I discussed the on balance portion of the resolution I stated "in the majority of cases."

2. The comments tell us that there is a dispute over involuntary vs voluntary however the argument I made wasnt semantical rather it was a substantive analysis over the nature of implementing the resolution within the context of there being a gray line between involuntary and voluntary. So it wasnt a semantical trap as my opponent points out.

3. He disregards the 3 points of analysis I provide in mylast speech. Thus, we will be looking at the resolution from an on balance perspective within the realm of disputed and not obvious cases.


This is key. Remember he drops the framework which tells us governments are bound to best protect the populous from harms. As sch, he had the burden to show that the harms of regulations outweigh the benefits. He had not done so, and since this is the last round no new arguments are allowed.

And this gives a prima facie reason to vote Pro. This is true because insofar as Roy doesnt provide us with a harm to weigh, any benefit from regulating smoking will outweigh (since theres nothing to weigh it agains.)

And the alternatives fail since it doesnt say why regulating is bad or harmful, but rather theres other ways to mitigate potential harms.

And he fails to properly weigh the health care costs argument becuase all he asserts is that there is a less of a burden on the system. Alright, thats fine. But why is that important? He doesnt impact back to any outweigh good whereas my arguments link back to a minimum of saving more lives. But Ill show later why the health care argument doesnt matter.


C1: Harms

1. Low threshold, gasoline fumes and burning wood

--> It is important to note that when he makes this argument in the first round he states "Is inhaling gasoline fumes in any amount good for a person? I seems reasonable that it is always harmful. Keep in mind that low-level risks are rarely measured. There are imputed from high level exposure." This does not answer my objection. I objected to the fact that my opponent no where tells you what this threshold level is. Unless had provided one we must assume the Surgeon General is right in this case: that any amount of SHS is dangeorus and threatening to people around the smoker. Refer to the Rd. 1 analysis - tobacco smoke contains 4,000 different chemicals a lot of which are carcinogens. So at this point any threshold he might bring up is new, so dont allow it. His assumption about health risks isnt sufficient.

--> The only shred of an argument that he amde was that it would have to be lower than the natural ambient levels, in the case of burning wood. Howevr again he never provides a specific threshold that can be analyzed universally (since it is dependent on burning wood) and that it doesnt link into "on balance" since it assumes a slight variable in the environment.

2. 30% stat is based on people living with heavy smokers

--> That is completely false. The Barnoya evidence was an analysis on numerous studies with both heavy areas and light areas. The result was thus a median result.

Medical Costs

1. Cost is lower cause people have died + tobbacco use has been in a steady decline + Euro analysis

--> He ignores the impact of my argument. Even though smoking is not the ONLY cause of heart disease and cancer, it is a major contributing factor. Thus, as long as I win that reducing smoking reduces those 2 diseases than I will be linking into less costs that are incurred due to heart disease and cancer.

--> TURN: The argument that tobbacco use is on a steady decline flows Pro. This is true because this advantage is due to the advocacy of the Pro - namely that regulations cause a detterent and quiting effect. Remember, he drops the deterent point in his last speech so this gives me a clear link to higher medical costs.

--> No the analyss of a single-payer system is VERY important. He ignores my point that healt care costs are less in the Netherlands because the government uses a cost-benefit system when deciding on how to ration care. As such, smokers will get less care in the Netherlands because its cost effective. Whereas this does NOT apply to the US because we do not ration our care based on cost-benefit. We ration it based on profit. As such if a welathy smoker can pay to get all his cancer treatments and heart treatments he will live longer than those in the Netherlands.


Sorry if my jargon was confusing. I get ahead of myself, but yes you interpreted it correctly.

1. Roy says that he is advocating against regulations on all forms of voluntary exposure.

--> Not really. The resolution was"on balance" it was not an absolute resolution

2. Roy says he obtained fiating ability by allowing regulation of involuntary exposure

--> Not really because you rent fiating that into existence for analysis because those regulations already exist without a Con vote.

He drops my politics argument. This said that even if you GRANT that Con can fiat an alternative to the resolution he would still have to pass congressional muster. This is true because I fiat with the power of the resolution, whereas he would have to fiat with a politics base. Thus extend my arguments that Congress would never pass those alternatives because its a libertarian tea-party type Congress and it is a solidly Republican house.

C2: Solvency

He drops and thus concedes all the solvency evidence. This gives me a clear link to the framework.

Extend Richardi and Barnoya-2. Both pieces of evidence tell you that increased relations resulted in less AMI in the analyzed areas and less signs of cancer.

At this point I outweigh in terms of strength of link to the resolution insofar as I am giving a CLEAR and CONCEDED benefits for affirming the resolution. Roy has not done so.

Thanks for the good debate. : )


I'm not sure how good a debate this was. It's been interesting to play debate as a game, but the preoccupation with debater's points has led to subordinating the issues.


1. A semantic issue endures over what "in a majority of cases" means. Are there two cases: voluntary and involuntary? Are there 311 million cases, one for each citizen? Or is it some number of logically distinct situations --workplaces, homes, public buildings, parks-- with each being determined by evidence and logical analysis? At no point did Con count cases and claim that a majority demanded regulation. If he had done so we would know what counts as a case. Beyond that, if a majority of something ought to be regulated, is that supposed to mean that all cases should be regulated? Con's summary claims regulation is required because "a decent amount of people will be effected by being around [SHS]." Nearly all who have significant risk from second hand smoke are those who subject themselves to it voluntarily. There is no majority defined.

2. I never argued that the issue of infinitesimal second-hand smoke was a semantic argument. I said that explicitly in R2. It is some other species of debater's point. The notion behind that is every individual decision somehow affects every other person. Individual freedoms are thereby abolished. The argument is specious, but it's not semantic.

3. Pro says I ignored "three points of analysis." He has multiple overlapping repetitive numbered sequences so I don't know what he is talking about. The substantial points of the debate are simple. The basic one is whether people have a right to free choice whatsoever based upon a supposed government right to regulate trivial impact to others.


Con claims I never established that the costs of regulation outweighed the harms. From the outset I argued that the cost of regulation was in loss of individual freedom. What is freedom worth? It cannot be quantified and does not need to be. Consider how one would one argue against slavery. The Pro-slavery arguments might include the benefits of full employment, whereas the anti-slavery argument rests primarily on the value of freedom. There is an economic argument against slavery, but few care about it.

To make the point I cited risky activities like skateboarding and skiing. The benefit of allowing them is that people get to choose their own risks for rewards.

Those reading the debate get to decide whether trivial impacts on others justify the loss of freedom. Note that Con took it as self-evident that "better health" is worth something that justifies government regulation. The value of better health, per se is also not quantified.

In R1 I argued a second harm. "When a person goes to any public place ... there is finite risk of contracting a dangerous disease from one of the other attendees. Under a broad principle that government should regulate anything that poses harm to the public, there would be grounds for preventing public assembly altogether." In the case of smoking, the low risk is an excuse for imposition of regulation is due to an irrational intolerance. I offered as evidence the lack of comparable regulation of gasoline fumes, wood smoke, and arsenic when the levels of those thing are comparable to ambient.

Con did not respond to either harm that I claimed, but rather said that I had not claimed a harm.

Medical Costs

There is no study that shows that smoke at ambient atmospheric levels causes a significant health risk. (How would such a study even be conducted?) Pro says that some lower levels of smoke where included along with the high levels. However, he admits that the median was used in the evaluation. The study is clearly dominated by high-smoke-level cases. Consequently, my point stands that there is no demonstration of risk at levels near ambient.

There is no foundation in science for all levels of smoke posing the same health risk, and making that claim defies common sense. The claim is not prima facia. Although I did refute it, I don't have to because it does not stand on it's own.

Con concedes that under a single-payer system, health care costs decrease due to smoking. Pro previously argued that under an individual health care system, people are paying for their own costs in the form of insurance premiums, so there is no public cost or benefit by reducing voluntary smoking. I agreed with that argument when Pro made it. Virtually all the acute costs to individual smokers are born my the smokers themselves.

Con then makes an argument that s "rich people" receive better health care so in the United States we should expect smokers to live longer, which he claims would increase the cost of caring for them. Pro offered no evidence that his assertion of better care by "rich people" is true. In the US, about 86% of the population is covered by some type of health insurance, and free care is is almost universally available trough the emergency room system. Pro offered "rich people get better care" as a new argument in R4, so I am entitled to introduce evidence to answer it. To my knowledge, no study in the US has shown a net savings when life expectancy is taken into account. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports, "... in a population in which no one smoked the costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and non smokers."

Con argues that because I did not provide a specific level of smoke that defines "ambient" that my argument fails. Con has not contested that the technology to reduce SHS smoke to levels below any ambient level is both available and practical. I cited the specific case of Silicon Valley establishments offering to filer air to a level much cleaner than the outdoor air. Ambient levels may vary, and it is therefore reasonable to require more filtering in places that naturally have very clean air. However, Con has not shown any technical problem in measuring ambient air quality, so his objection is pointless. Air quality is measured routinely for environmental reasons. Just measure whatever the ambient is.


After all has been argued, I think Con is arguing "Because any amount of second hand smoke poses some health hazard, the government should ban all smoking." I cannot guess what else it might be that Con is arguing. My argument is, "Government should not regulate smoking beyond what is required to reduce involuntary second hand smoke to levels below atmospheric ambient." Con's latest rebuttal again speaks in tongues, "Not really because you rent fiating that into existence for analysis because those regulations already exist without a Con vote." We arguing what the government should do. Many localities, voluntary exposure to second hand smoke is banned outright. Clearly I am arguing that ought to be undone in favor of a much less severe regulation.

Debate Issues

Con wanted this to be technical debate, so okay.

Con demanded in the challenge that there be no semantic arguments in the debate. He could have at any point cleared up the semantics but presenting a clear meaning of the resolution. I provided my understanding of what the resolution meant and Con never agreed or disagreed. Con made the rule that there should be no semantic arguments, so he violated his own rule.

Con's lapses into debate jargon shorthand did not conform to standard English and make his arguments difficult to understand. I had to take space decoding his arguments as well as answering them.

Con made the silly mistake of abbreviating second hand smoke (SHS) as SSM (same sex marriage), and persisted with that through the fourth round. It's silly, but it's a distraction. He also apparently failed to run the spell checker on his R4.

Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Thaddeus 7 years ago
If you inhale SSM, you will die.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Anyone can vote,like any other debate. The tournament will count tournament votes separately, that's all.
Posted by baggins 7 years ago
Unfortunately, debate was not well defined. Going through the comments, I feel that Pro was clearly responsible for the vagueness in topic while Con was quite consistent in his approach. What happened in PMs is immaterial to this debate. I considered this debate from voluntary smoking POV.

None of Pro's contention proved to be strong enough.
C1 Harms: Minor harms can come from other things also. What if alternatives exist?
C2 Cancerous ++: Effect of little smoke not addressed.
C3 Deterrence: Alternatives ignored. Ignored that this argument can be stretched.

Reading Pro's argument was tough. Where as, Con's narration was superb.
Posted by baggins 7 years ago
@ Steelerman6794

No one can stop you from voting. I am not sure whether your vote is counted or not, but that will matter only if there are different winners based on your vote. That rarely happens.
Posted by BlackVoid 7 years ago
Since Roy accepted the framework, I weigh the round on who is going to benefit society the best.

Roy makes a big deal about voluntary vs involuntary. However, Cirrk shows that Second hand smoke, a side effect of voluntary exposure, causes involuntary harm to others. So if smokers are causing health problems for other people, then the government is justified in intervening. Roy does make a good point that people often voluntarily enter smoky areas, however, Cirrk's third rebuttal under Deterrence showed that this isn't always the case; that SHS can happen even when you try to avoid smoker hot spots.

Based off that, Cirrk wins convincingly because Roy concedes that deterrance works and that voting pro empirically reduces SHS. You can link direct solvency to a Pro ballot.

Though this only matters if SHS actually is actually harmful. Well common sense would tell us that it is. But additionally, Cirrk's evidence tells us that SHS causes a whole sh!tload of health problems. Roy's gas fumes and wood smoke examples aren't applicable to SHS because they aren't inherently dangerous, whereas SHS is.

Also, Roy tries to bring up the loss of freedom as a harm of regulating smoking in round 4. This was especially confusing to me because I never heard him talk about freedom or autonomy in his other rounds. He did say that "From the outset I argued that the cost of regulation was in loss of individual freedom". However, reading over his arguments once again, I find nothing of the sort. His argument seemed to be that "Gov. should not regulate something that isn't harmful", not anything freedom-related. So since Cirrk can't respond to it, I toss it.

Essentially, its proven that SHS is not always voluntary, so intervention is justified. SHS is proven harmful, and regulations empirically reduce it. Based off the consequentialist framework, thats reason to enforce it.
Posted by Steelerman6794 7 years ago
Is voting open to the public or is only a specific panel of members supposed to vote?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
It was obvious to me that CiRk meant "SHS" by "SSM." However, in true debater fashion, that shouldn't stop me from whining about it in the debate.
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
Lolol: "exposure to SSM tremendously increases ones risk of cancer or heart disease." it's the newest and best argument against same sex marriage
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
Oh jeez. Maybe a Freudian slip. It should be SHS - second hand smoke
Posted by Thaddeus 7 years ago
If serious, it means same-sex-marriage. I used hyphens because I like-hyphens.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate comes down to the interpretation of the resolution which was discussed in the comments. Roy clearly asked if the resolution “does not affect unwilling participants” and Cirrk in his next comment indirectly but says “so basically that is correct”. On that note Roy clearly wins argument. Cirrk also makes quite a few spelling mistakes in R4.
Vote Placed by baggins 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments and spelling to Con. Analysis in comments.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments.