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The Contender
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The Benefits of Smoking Actually Outweigh the Risks ( Take 2 )

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,667 times Debate No: 51514
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)




*Con must have completed at least three debates prior to this one. Because of the subject matter, the arguer must be at least 18 years of age or older.

To my surprise, I won this debate the last time I argued it ( as can be seen here: ).

Because of the subject matter, I want to have a second debate; I feel that, although I lean towards concurring with the majority of my arguments in the first debate, I still think the debate deserves a "second take" because of the generally held belief that smoking tobacco is seriously detrimental to the smoker's health.

I may be recycling some of the arguments I used in the first debate, but I will do my best to use brand new arguments for this specific debate in order to keep the evidence fresh. To keep it fair though, my opponent may recycle some of the arguments used by the opponent I argued with in the first debate as seen in the link provided above, although the use of fresh, new arguments is strongly encouraged for this debate.

This time, there will be five rounds, although the first round will only be for acceptance. Second round is for presenting arguments, and the rounds that follow will include the negative cross examinations and the rebuttals.


I'll take this debate on.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for choosing to take on this controversial debate. That said, I will start with my arguments. I would also like to clarify that,

Argument 1: Tobacco is recognized for its medicinal properties by Native Americans.

As represnted by video provided, Tobacco seems to be recognized for its medicinal perperties, as it has been for centuries (see link in paragraph two of round one in the original debate). The group heard in the video is the "Dream Seekers Native American Youth Group" [1] In fact, it is viewed as a "sacred medicine".
I would like to turn the attention of my opponent and my audience to this diagram:

The Aboriginal Medicine Wheel

Shown above is the Medicine Wheel, which is divided up into five parts. The eastern part (shaded yellow) is understood to include the sacred medicine of tobacco. An excerpt on the Native American view of tobacco provided here:

"Tobacco (the East) is held as a scared plant by most First Nations peoples. Tobacco connects us to the spirit world; it absorbs prayers and carries them to the spirit world. If a request is accompanied by an offer of tobacco that is accepted, the promise must be honoured. Tobacco can also be used to thank the Creator for his gifts: if you enjoyed good weather, you could leave some tobacco on the ground, and say thank you for the gift. Tobacco is generally not smoked, except on special ceremonial occasions" [2]

As implied by the video shown, and the evidence provided here, the benefits of smoking tobacco in a responsible context apparently outweighs the risks involved.

Argument 2: Anti-Smoking campaigns are not incredibly honest.

It would come as no surprise that the tobacco companies would be dishonest concerning their products, because that is how the people in charge can earn money and making a living to support themselves and their families; but what most people do not notice is that anti-smoking campaigns, too, are not telling the entire truth about the risks of smoking tobacco. Worse, they make baseless claims, portraying smokers as filthy people deviants one minute, then as weak cancer sufferers the next. Consider the following image:

entirely honest?

There are several logical issues associated with this single advertisement.
1. Style over Substance: Using the slogan "A Tip from a Former Smoker" is an example of the Argument by Slogan fallacy. This is when "a slogan (catchy phrase) is taken as truth because it sounds good and we might be used to hearing it" [3]
2. Argumentum in Terrorum: The faded colors, horrifying imagery, and the quote "record your voice for your loved ones while you still can" appear to have been created to "scare smokers straight." This is an example of an Argumentum in Terrorem: you cannot prove something to be true with fear. An Argumentum in Terrorem acts as thus: "If you don’t accept X as true, something terrible will happen to you. Therefore, X must be true."[3.2] I could just as easily say that, if x person does not believe in God, then x person will suffer in hell eternally. The logic does not follow.
3. Confirmation Bias: How many smokers do the voters and my opponent see who look like this woman? I would assume not many. In my lifetime, I've only known one smoker to have a stoma. The likelihood of developing cancer from smoking is actually quite small (I will be elaborating on that later). That said, anti-smokers would need to have filtered out all of the healthier smokers to find the people who have serious smoking problems at the bottom of the barrel - thus, the confirmation bias fallacy.

Why all the fallacies? Why can't they just provide the evidence in these ads so that we can consider smoking tobacco rationally? To answer, listen to what anti-smoker Michael Siegel has to say about such a debate:

"Do not get into arguments with the [tobacco] industry about the scientific evidence. This is exactly what the industry wants. It wants to draw public health practitioners into a debate ... But all the industry needs to do to succeed is to create a debate. This will cast doubt in people's minds and convince the public and policy makers that there is some sort of controversy or debate out there over the health effects of secondhand smoke. This is, of course, not at all true. There is no debate in the scientific community. But the perception of a debate or controversy may be all that is needed to sway policy makers against voting for clean indoor air legislation." [4]

There is no debate? There is always a debate, no ifs, ands, or buts. Discouraging debate is the equivalent to discouraging rational and free thinking.

Argument 3: The health benefits of smoking tobacco.

So if the Native Americans believe tobacco can be a good thing, and anti-smoking campaigns are dishonest, what health benefits of smoking are there then? Believe it or not, many.

A short list compiled by FORCES included these health benefits to smoking, along with links providing information on the scientific studies which discovered them:

- "Smoking protects against parkinson's disease"
- "Smoking improves human information processing"
- "Higher nicotine cigarettes produce greater improvements [in information processing] than low nicotine cigarettes"
- "Nicotine can reverse the detrimental effects of scopolamine on performance"
- "Smoking effects are accompanied by increases in EEG arousal and decreases in the latency of the positive late component of the evoked potential."
- "Smokers in general are thinner than non-smokers, even when they ingest more calories"
- " "...All smokers had less plaque, gingival inflammation and tooth mobility than nonsmokers and similar periodontal pocket depth." "
- "Smokers have lower incidence of postoperative deep vein thrombosis than nonsmokers"
- "
"Hypertension and postpartum hemorrhage were lower in smokers" "
- "RBCs [red blood cells] from cigarette smokers contain more glutathione and catalase and protect lung endothelial cells against O2 [dioxide] metabolites better than RBCs from nonsmokers."
- "There is a low prevalence of smoking in ulcerative colitis. This disease often starts or relapses after stopping smoking."
- "Smokers have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease than nonsmokers
- "Urinary cotinine concentration has confirmed the reduced risk of preeclampsia with tobacco exposure."
- "smoking may protect against neural tube defects."
- "Maternal smoking may hinder mother-child transmission of Helicobacter Pylori infection."
- "Research indicates that nicotine holds potential for non-surgical heart by-pass procedures."
- "Nicotine has positive effects on cognitive performance in Down's syndrome."
- "Nicotine has a positive effect on inflammatory bowel syndrome."
- "Not ONE of the over 100 diseases attributed to smoking can be PROVEN by sound scientific methodology to be "caused" by smoking."

And finally, in terms of secondhand smoke,

- "The huge passive smoke study the WHO tried to bury clearly shows that passive smoke has a protective effect on those who are close to the smoker ... Moreover, of the 100+ studies performed to date on passive smoking, only a small, minor one has shown a statistically significant increase of risk for the non smokers. All the others have not." [4]

Argument 4: "Smoking does not cause Lung Cancer (according to WHO/CDC data)" James P. Siepmann, MD [5]

I would argue that smoking packs upon packs of cigarettes a day may be a problem, responsible use of cigarettes can have benefits, and more, have very low risks for developing cancer. "Would you believe that the real number [of smokers contracting lung cancer] is <10%?"(Siepmann, M.D.) [5]

In fact, I would encourage my opponent and the voters to take a look at the data collected here:

and here

That, although smoking rates have gone down in the past several decades, cancer rates have shot up. Clearly, if smoking were the culprit for cancer, wouldn't these cancer rates have decreased? Furthermore, the data provided here
shows that, although Japan is notorious for having the most smokers, it also has some of the healthiest people in all of the world.

"Furthermore, although they have the highest smoking rate of any major nation, the Japanese are remarkably healthy! At birth, a Japanese male has a whopping life expectancy of 75 years (as opposed to 72 in the U.S.A.). Japanese girls, at birth, have a life expectancy of 80 years. Those are the highest life expectancies in the entire world."[6]

It actually appears that smoking does not have much influence on the life expectancy of the smoker. In fact, many of the world's oldest were smokers, including

- the actor Patrick McGoohan, who passed away at age 80
- poet James Whitmore, who passed away at age 87
- regular smoker Bir Narayan Chaudhuri, who "died prematurely" at the young, young age of 141. (yes, 141).
- Sir John Mortimer, who passed away at the age of 85
- And many others, as seen here:

Concluding statement:

The Smoker's "Paradox"

In light of tobacco's medicinal history, its benefits, and the questionable nature of its opposition, it is clear that the act of smoking tobacco clearly contains benefits which outweighs the risks. Its benefits include prevention Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's, as well as improving human information processing, and many others. Upon reviewing the evidence, the resolution stands.

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I would like to thank my opponent as well for taking on this topic. As someone who has never smoked and never will smoke, I hope to inform everyone on the risks of smoking and why any benefits smoking may provide are either marginal, non-existent, or can be given without smoking. If my opponent agrees, I'd like to set the burden of proof as being on Pro - that would mean Pro must positively prove the resolution in order to win. However, if he would prefer we can set the BOP as being split, meaning each side must prove their own case.

Within the medical community, tobacco smoking is regarded as a major health hazard, enough so that in 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) attributed it to 100 million deaths in 20th century, and that one billion people could die in the 21st century from it due to its increasing prominence in poor and developing countries.(WHO, page 6) Dr. Margaret Chen, the Director-General of the WHO, noted that "tobacco use can kill in so many ways that it is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death in the world".(WHO, page 7) The WHO describes tobacco as "the single most preventable cause of death in the world today" and noted that, with five million annual deaths, it kills more people than TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined. They state that tobacco kills up to half of its users and can harm everyone exposed to it.(WHO, page 8) The health risks of tobacco smoking have been well-known for more than a century now. In 1912 Dr. Isaac Adler suggested lung cancer was related to smoking, and in 1929 Fritz Lickint published a study giving evidence to this theory, showing those with lung cancer were likely to be smokers. The epidemic did not truly begin until the rise of cigarette smoking following World War I - prior to the war it was a rare disease, but following the war lung cancer rates spiked.[2] In the 1950s we began seeing more research linking tobacco to lung cancer, including Richard Doll's 1950 study in the British Medical Journal and the British Doctor's Study, which conclusively proved the link.[3] The famous Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States was published in 1964, linking smoking to emphysema, increased risk of heart attack, chronic bronchitis, and a 70% higher age-corrected mortality rate, in addition to lung cancer and underweight newborns in smoking pregnant women.[4] Simply put, the evidence here is overwhelming - and these are just the old studies! Newer studies have shown risks from second-hand smoke and even the residue that tobacco smoke leaves on outside substances.

These are strong words - how can a simple plant be so harmful? That is what I am out to prove, and I hope that by the end of this debate everyone will come away with a greater understanding of tobacco smoking's immense risks.

Why is tobacco smoking so unhealthy? Let's look at the facts. According to the National Cancer Institute, "Of the more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful... Among the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 69 can cause cancer". Let's take a look at some of the 'greatest hits':
*Arsenic - A toxic chemical that, in addition to being a carcinogen, disrupts the production of ATP.[6] Well-known as a rat poison.[7]
*Benzene - A cancer-causing chemical linked to bone-marrow failure, leukemia, DNA and chromosome damage, and organ damage.[8]
*Beryllium - A carcinogen that causes berylliosis, a pulmonary disease.[9]
*Polonium-210 - An extremely toxic radioactive isotope of polonium, notably used to murder Alexander Litvinenko.[10]

Those are just a few of the deadly chemicals smokers inhale each time they take a drag. In addition, smoking damages artery linings and increases the risk of blood clots, leading to risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also contains carbon monoxide, which decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood, and nicotine, which increases heart rate and blood pressure.[11] Carbon monoxide and cyanide are believed to lead to pulmonary damage, resulting in emphysema and COPD.[12] Oral issues include oral cancer, periodontitis, teeth staining, and bad breath.[13] A side effect of the artery narrowing caused by smoking is impotence, something 85% higher in male smokers than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking is a key cause of ED - meaning it is responsible for all the Viagra commercials that come on in football games.[14] Reproductive issues aren't just limited to men - because the smoke chemicals interfere with estrogen production, women are hurt here as well.[15]

The result of all this crap? Smokers lose upwards to 13 years of life.[16] That is 13 fewer years to see their grandkids, travel the world, or enjoy retirement. And that's just the death statistics - it doesn't account for, for example, smokers surviving with COPD or ED. It doesn't account for smokers that are impotent, or have suffered miscarriages because of the damage of smoking. It doesn't account for second-hand smoke. It doesn't account for the effect of smoke on pets, the noxious smell of smoke, the residue it leaves on everything it touches. It doesn't account for the cost of a two-pack a day addiction, or of medical treatment for when you are dying from cancer. Just from years lost alone this debate resolution is disproven - what on earth could be worth losing over a dozen years of life over?

With the bad stuff out of the way, let's look at some positives of smoking. Hey, smokers don't have as many knee replacement surgeries! Well, that could be because smokers aren't likely to jog and aren't generally obese. Why aren't they obese? Because nicotine is an appetite suppressant. Never mind it is highly addictive and might actually make the food you do eat taste worse, that is indeed a positive.[17] Of course, you don't need to smoke to get nicotine - you can just go buy some of the nicotine replacement gum products to get smokers to stop smoking.

Another plus is you might not get Parkinson's.[17] If you would rather die young than risk getting a condition maybe 2% of the population at most, I guess smoking is an option.[18] It's a similar thing with Alzheimer's: apparently nicotine might reduce the risk or push back offset a bit longer. Of course, it could just be because people who smoke die sooner, so they don't get it.[19] You also might have less of a mortality rate from heart attacks, but this might be because you'll get them younger so your body will be more used to them.[17] Smoking also helps clopidogrel, a blood-clot inhibiting drug, work better.[17]

Simply put though, none of these slight benefits outweigh the risk - and in many cases, you could just get the same effect elsewhere, either from another, less harmful drug, or from just using nicotine and cutting out the smoke. Either way, smoking is most certainly more of a health risk than a health benefit.

Debate Round No. 2


I'll take the full BOP.
(sentences w/ underline used to quote con)

As to the first segment of my opponent's second paragraph, I would have to ask - how are these numbers gathered? How do we know for absolute certain that these deaths were "caused" by smoking, and not some exterior force? When a smoker dies from a disease in the hospital, it is protocol for the doctors to record the death as being "caused" by smoking, regardless of whether or not the disease itself was actually caused by smoking at all. This creates a fallacious statistical conclusion as the 'Detection Bias'. "Detection bias occurs when a phenomenon is more likely to be observed for a particular set of study subjects. For instance, the syndemic involving obesity and diabetes may mean doctors are more likely to look for diabetes in obese patients than in thinner patients, leading to an inflation in diabetes among obese patients because of skewed detection efforts."[1] So, as for the numbers being provided by my opponent, I would be interested in seeing the experiment executed to provide these evidences.

The problem of lung cancer:

Here is the real scoop on the association of lung cancer with smoking: as for the Surgeon General's reports on smoking causing lung cancer, the actual results of the experiments themselves are astounding. Consider the results of experiments on animals done "between 1964 and 1982", which were meant to "educate" smokers to stop smoking:

"Prior to the writing of the [Surgeon General] Report, numerous experiments had been conducted, attempting to induce lung cancer in laboratory animals by painting their lungs and trachea with cigarette tars, forcing the animals to inhale vast quantities of tobacco smoke, etc. All of these experiments failed, miserably! Consequently, at page 165 of its Report, the Committee was obliged to concede that "Bronchogenic carcinoma has not been produced by the application of tobacco extracts, smoke, or condensates to the lung o r the tracheobronchial tree of experimental animals with the possible exception of dogs". The phrase "possible exception of dogs" related to a single experiment, of which the Committee wrote that "this work has not yet been confirmed. To this day, it remains unconfirmed and it remains true, to this day, that despite hundreds of experiments18, nobody has been able to induce a single cancer in lab animals by exposing them to ordinary tobacco products or smoke."[2]

But wait, there's more:

Other researchers attempted to induce lung cancer in lab animals by using nasty combinations of industrial strength carcinogens. They used mixtures of ozonized gasoline and mouse-adapted influence viruses; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, directly applied to the lungs of rats; mixtures of benzo(a)pyrene and iron oxide dust; radioactive cerium; and beryllium oxide. Even with these noxious brews, the results were not entirely successful. For one thing, some of the experimenters reported "distant metastases", i.e., tumors occurring in sites far from the lungs (which makes me wonder whether the "treatments" had simply weakened the animals' immune systems to the point at which cancers were springing up spontaneously throughout their bodies). Moreover, not all the animals got sick. For example, two out of ten rhesus monkeys injected with beryllium oxide developed cancers but 8 did not"[2]

The problem of emphysema:

The evidence is equally sketchy concerning the link between smoking and emphysema, as my opponent has claimed. In fact, a study prior to 1973 had shown that the disease occurs genetically.

"Some time subsequent to 1973, a genetic cause of emphysema was discovered. In an article in...Grolier's Encyclopedia, Howard Buechner, M.D., explains that a significant number of the people with the disease lack a gene that controls the liver's production of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). This protein controls or degrades an enzyme called neutrophilelastase, produced by the white blood cells. When the enzyme is left unchecked, it destroys alveolar tissue."[3]

The correlation between emphysema and lung cancer, therefore, is moot. Even if the correlation existed, it would still be multifactorial, and therefore moot - for multiple sources of the very same carcinogenic substances found in cigarettes are found outdoors everyday! I quote it thus:

"DIRECT MEASUREMENT read-outs from BC AirCare laboratories indicate that vehicular emissions 1995 in the Vancouver's Lower Mainland amount to 324,500 tons, or 2 pounds per person per day. How does that compare with 0.5 millionth of a gram per cubic foot of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in a normally ventilated room[?]."[4]

A simple walk around the city during the winter can reveal the pollutants each of the city's citizens are breathing. Take a glance at the blackened snow on the side of the street, and you'll see how the city's polluted air is literally turning snow, which was once white, a charcoal black. For reference, I invite my opponent and the voters to take a look at the photograph provided below:

snow blackened by airborne carcinogens/pollutants

(Mmmmmm, see that beautiful blackened snow? You're breathing that!)

The problem of bronchitis:

"Bronchitis has hundreds of inflamatory causes, i.e.: cold temperatures, allergies, and alcohol. Smoking (even inhaled in substantial doses) plays an infinitesimal role in bronchitis. Far more important is the body structure: a slim, non smoking individual with a small chest is exposed to a far greater risk of bronchitis than a heavy smoker with a large chest."[5]

Heart attacks?:

"For many years, anti-smoking activists have insisted that smoking "causes" heart attacks. In truth, there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

As early as the 1950's government scientists began conducting studies ... to assess the "risk factors" which lead to heart attacks and stroke. Early on, they identified three such risk factors: Smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol. As the years have gone by, however, other researchers have identified still other risk factors. Taking estrogen pills has been identified as a risk factor in women 36 . Male pattern baldness has been identified as a risk factor in men 37 . Vitamin and mineral deficiencies have been blamed for heart attacks, as well as eating fatty foods and drinking too much alcohol.

There are other obvious risk factors: 100% of all heart attack victims breathed air during the time prior to their heart attack. 90% drove automobiles. 95% paid income taxes."

(sorry Mr. President, the doc says I can't pay income taxes anymore because it puts me at risk for heart attacks!)

Statistical arguments moot at best:

This goes back somewhat to what my opponent was mentioning earlier about smoking causing "100 million deaths in the 20th century", but statistics, sadly, are not a good basis for belief. A good explanation for this can be seen here:

Greg, in this video, discusses statistics and the flaws involved with them. I would like to quote him saying "statistics and...corrolary data are...the second weakest form of imperical data to rely on" (he says this at about 8:48). As for smoking, consider this:

let's say a smoker lives in an old house (also once owned by a smoker) for ten years and develops negative cardiovascular effects. This smoker goes to the hospital, stays for a month, then passes away. The doctor operating on the smoker states that the death was caused by smoking, and this smoker's death is then added to the death tally which anti smokers continue to tout left and right. However, three months later, a house inspector inspects the smoker's house, and discovers that the walls were actually painted with lead, which has also been known to cause negative cardiovascular effects. So, the smoker's death may not have even been a result of the cigarette smoking at all! That said, I challenge my opponent to refrain from statistical arguments.

Avoiding "toxic chemicals" futile:

"Those are just a few of the deadly chemicals smokers inhale each time they take a drag."

A drag of what, the outdoors? According to my sources, the pollutants we breathe in each time we step outside includes, but is not limited to:

-Nitrogen Dioxide

-Carbon Monoxide


-Sulfur Dioxide



-Benzene (petrol additive)



-Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)


Although it is true that some of the chemicals my opponnent mentioned may exist in trace amounts in cigarettes, chances are, you've already consumed them.

"Cigarette butts contain hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, arsenic, and lead that are partially filtered out during smoking. But when the butt is discarded, these chemicals leach into the environment contaminating our waterways and land."[5]

Oral health:

Perhaps choosing to brush your teeth more often would be an arguably better way to take care of your oral health than to refrain from smoking alone?

Life expectancy:

See Round 1.


The cause for COPD is unknown. [3]


This is contrary to historical evidence. As my opponent pointed out, cigarette smoking had its heyday in the 1950's; but what did we also have in the 1950's? The baby boom!

"There is absolutely no proof of that, of course. Smokers have been reproducing successfully for thousands of years. The most famous "lovers" were (and are) smokers." [Source 6, Round 1]


Marilyn Monroe

(Sex symbol and smoker Marilyn Monroe.)


(Clint Eastwood: The face of ED? Such talk is nothing but blasphemy.)


May actually protect the health of others [Source 6, Round 1]

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I'd like to thank my opponent for a thoughtful response. I disagree with his arguments, and I'll explain why.

In his opening statements, my opponent makes four arguments: that tobacco is used medicinally by Native Americans, anti-smoking campaigns don't tell the whole truth, smoking has health benefits and smoking doesn't cause lung cancer. With all due respect to my opponent, all of these arguments are easily refutable. Before I begin, however, I want to examine my opponent's sources - after all, he is arguing against one of the standard, most accepted facts of modern medicine; he's making an extraordinary claim, so it makes sense he'll need some pretty extraordinary evidence. What are his sources? Let's take a look:
*His first is a dead link to an e-commerce website.
*His second is to the University of Ottawa's Aboriginal Health department, explaining the role of tobacco in Native American culture. However, this source specifically notes that, in Native American culture, "Tobacco is generally not smoked, except on special ceremonial occasions" - my opponent notes this himself in his block quote of it. In other words? Tobacco smoking isn't used in Native American medicine.
*His third source(s) come from a website on logical fallacies, which he uses to explain that tobacco ads are bad by claiming them as being 'Argument by Slogan' and 'Argumentum in Terroreum'. The problem? Neither of these actually fit them.
**To the first, the 'argument by slogan' fallacy applies only to slogans that put the slogan itself over facts. To give an example, in the SpongeBob Squarepants episode "Chum Bucket Supreme", Plankton is trying to create a catchy slogan to bring customers in. His first sign, "Chum is metabolic fuel", was factually correct to some degree, but not catchy, so customers ignored it.[1] In contrast, when he changed the slogan to the catchy 'Chum is Fum', customers flocked in to the place in droves,[2] despite the fact that the food in the restaurant is awful that even Plankton won't eat it.[3] In contrast, the anti-tobacco ad in question is both catchy and based on a factual instance - that is, a smoker getting throat cancer and having to speak through a stoma.
**To the second, 'Argumentum in terroreum', this also relies on the claim not being factual. For example, in the video game Link: The Faces of Evil, Ganon threatens to murder Link if he refuses to join him,[4] something that is clearly not true as Link defeats Ganon by throwing a book at him.[5] In contrast, pointing out the risks of tobacco usage does not fit this criteria, as the claims made are true; in other words, it is no more of a fallacy than warning a kid that if he jumps off a cliff, he will die. Warnings are not equal to fallacies.
*His fourth citation is Forces, a Dutch website. What is Forces? According to a translation of the front page, it is "The smoking site for the Netherlands and Flanders". What does they say about themselves? "Here you can find the information rather keep the anti-smoking organizations secret. Or do not want to read".[6] In others words, it is the InfoWars of the Dutch smoking industry. As for the webpage itself, it doesn't link to scientific studies, only other parts of the website. This makes up the entirety of his 'positive aspects to smoking section' - hardly an unbiased, impartial source in that regard. Additionally, he uses this source to support something that is not in the article itself - a quote from Michael Siegel. He makes this guy sound like an evil, sinister advocate trying to trash someone's party. In fact, in the actual article itself ("Responding to Tobacco Industry Attacks on the Scientific Evidence Linking Secondhand Smoke to Disease and Death"), that's not the case: he compares the efforts of the tobacco industry to protect itself to that of a defense team that faces overwhelming evidence against it. Rather than attempt to disprove all of the evidence (something they cannot do), the goal is instead to focus on individual facts, concocting conspiracy theories to create doubt in the minds of the jurors. This is why Siegel said not to debate the tobacco industry - they have a vested interest.[10] The tobacco industry wasn't interested in an honest debate, they wanted to instead pull an OJ Simpson. If you recall correctly, Simpson had a ton of evidence against him and should have been convicted, but his defense team was able to install doubt in jurors by conspiracy theories. Siegel opposes the industry trying to defame scientists, and aptly sums up his view by saying that, instead of debating the tobacco industry on whether or not the EPA's science on this issue is corrupt, bring the fight to the tobacco industry by exposing people who have been paid to write pro-tobacco articles.
*His fifth citation is used to support an entirely semantical argument: that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer, only increases the risk. Even if we take the source as entirely factual (which would be interesting given it had to be corrected for factual errors), it still leaves us with several proofs of negative effects on smoking on cancer; namely, smokers are still eight times more likely to get lung cancer and make up 85% of lung cancer patients.[7] The source even agrees smoking is bad for you.[7]
*His sixth citation goes back to the lung cancer argument, from a book by Lauren A. Colby. In this book, Colby questions whether AIDS is actually caused by a virus[8] and claims nicotine is nor more addictive than cake.[9] Hardly a reliable source!

So, just from sources alone, my opponent's four arguments have been entirely demolished. I have directly proven that tobacco is not smoked as medicine in Native American culture, that tobacco ads are in fact honest and that smoking is indeed a cause or, at the very least, leads to a vastly increased risk of lung cancer. I have also indirectly disproven is arguments on the health benefits of tobacco by undermining his source (Forces, a pro-smoking site that sources itself). About the only points I haven't directly argued are his claims based on personal experience or individual cases. For example, my opponent argued that he's never seen a smoker have to use a stoma. Well, I've never seen an elephant. Does that mean elephants don't exist? Of course not. His second is arguing that, because some individual smokers have lived long lives, it must not be that bad. This is a silly argument, bordering on logical fallacies, but two can play at this. At least four actors who have played the Marlboro man have died of smoking-related illnesses.[11] This includes anti-smoking advocate Wayne McLaren, who died of lung cancer in 1992 at only 52 years of age.[11] Other famous smokers to die of smoking-related illnesses include Patrick Swayze (57), Terrie Hall (53, the woman with the stoma in the anti-tobacco ad), Chris "Punch" Andrews (43), Nat King Cole (45), Jack Cassidy (50, died from accidentally setting fire to his bed while smoking), Roy Orbison (52), Captain Phil Harris (53), Babe Ruth (53), Ian Fleming (56), King George VI (56). This toll includes tobacco moguls R.J. Reynolds (58) and R.J. Reynolds III (59).[12]

In addition, I want to rebut some of my opponent's third-round rebuttals. I've used up about 80% of my text allotment on the first part, though, so this may be a bit short, but rest assured I will get around to this more fully in the second rebuttal round.

To open, my opponent argues on how the numbers are gathered. Although I certainly trust the WHO more than Forces on this issue, this is a perfectly valid issue - how do they gather numbers? Well, you just have to look at the document. Although the opening pages - the thesis and abstract of the report, essentially - are not cited, the rest of the report is meticulously cited to internal citations. Due to character constraints I cannot link directly, but one can find the cited information on page 14 of the report as well as all 115 internal citations on pages 60-62.

After this, my opponent directly tries to refute the lung cancer claims. His sources? The book and Forces. He tries to argue that, because lung cancer hasn't been directly inducted in animals through tobacco smoke. Aside from the obvious immorality of these studies, my opponent's own source in round 2 established that smokers have 8 times the risk of lung cancer and comprise 85% of lung cancer patients. Coincidence? I think not. Even if we discount direct links we still have mounds of indirect evidence.

As to emphysema, my opponent claims that a pre-1973 study gives a genetic cause for the disease so tobacco doesn't cause it. This is silly; a disease can have genetic causes and other causes. In the case of lung disease, both pollution and smoking can cause it. Recent studies demonstrate 20% of smokers and 50% of lifelong smokers get COPD, and at least 80% of COPD patients are or were smokers, as compared to just 5% of cases being genetic.[13] Why is this so high for smokers and low for genetics?

I'll continue rebuttals in the next round.

Debate Round No. 3


"His fourth citation is Forces, a Dutch website. What is Forces? According to a translation of the front page, it is "The smoking site for the Netherlands and Flanders". What does they say about themselves?"

"In others words, it [FORCES] is the InfoWars of the Dutch smoking industry."

(where are my opponent's sources for this claim? Such a claim demands the BOP for such a theory)

"As for the webpage itself, it doesn't link to scientific studies, only other parts of the website. This makes up the entirety of his 'positive aspects to smoking section' - hardly an unbiased, impartial source in that regard."
(I'm no expert, but do believe that websites such as the WHO and the CDC would most likely link themselves as well, not to mention that they, according to my opponents arguments, appear to be biased against smoking)

"Even if we take the source as entirely factual.."

"His sixth citation goes back to the lung cancer argument, from a book by Lauren A. Colby. In this book, Colby questions whether AIDS is actually caused by a virus[8] and claims nicotine is nor more addictive than cake.[9] Hardly a reliable source!

If you can't attack the evidence, attack the source. This is a very popular argument to use, albeit that it is actually what is comonly referred to as "Argumentum Ad Hominem."
Such is the fallacy which my opponent has fallen prey to.
(the original link provided was botched; I'll provide an improved one in the sources below)
That said, I will now refute my opponent's arguments.

Medical recognition of tobacco in Native American culture:

My opponent seems to have not read Ottawa web article titled "Aboriginee Medicine and Healing Practices" very carefully. On the contrary, it clearly mentions "the four sacred medicines (sweetgrass, tobacco, cedar and sage)." Furthermore, it also reads, and I quote:

"Sacred medicines such as cedar, sage, sweetgrass or tobacco are burned in an abalone shell. ...the medicines represent gifts from mother earth and the burning represents fire, the next two elements. The person puts their hands in the smoke and carries it to their body, especially to areas that need spiritual healing (mind, heart, body). The smoke represents air, the final element. Perhaps the smell of the burning medicines stimulates the brain to produce beta-endorphins and promote healing processes." [see Source 2, Round 1]

In fact, tobacco has been used medicinally for centuries. Here is one account of a man who used tobacco leaves to treat his erysipelas condition:

"He, with a look of astonishment, said to me, “I did not know you till you spoke; what is the matter with you?” I answered that I had had a blister on my forehead. “Yes,” said he, “and it has given you erysipelas.”

Erysipelas (An example of erysipelas infecting the hand)

I was at once alarmed; and on going to a looking-glass, was amazed at my appearance. My face looked like a large pumpkin. … After reaching my room, as soon as I could wet the tobacco, I placed it over my forehead, temples, eyes, cheeks, and nose, barely leaving breathing space for the nostrils…After about four hours had elapsed, I raised the bandage, and was gratified to see that the outlines of my nose were visible, the eyes enlarged, and my cheeks much less full. I continued the application, however, till morning, and had the satisfaction of seeing that I was relieved. … I remember Dr. Hambleton said, “No doctor could have cured you in three weeks.” [1]

"My brother, who is a practising physician in North Carolina, to whom I had explained the uses of tobacco, told me that some years ago, when sore throats were an epidemic in his neighborhood, he had used tobacco in more than a dozen cases, always with success, while other physicians in that vicinity had lost some of their patients, having treated them differently."[1]

The use of logical fallacies:

In fact, they actually do fit. The example against the Argumentum in Terrorem which my opponent provided is actually an example of the Argumentum ad Baculum; the appeal to violence fallacy. The Argumentum ad Terrorem (a.k.a. Fear Mongering) looks a little more like this:

anti-alcohol adentirely honest?

(if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck...)

If someone feels the need to resort to manipulating the primal fears of others, then it would be reasonable to critique whether or not the fear mongerer truly has any substantial evidence to back the claim. (from what I learned in the alcohol poster, drinking alcohol makes you look like a meth head - is that truth?).

As for Argument by Slogan - the quote "A Tip from a Former Smoker" appearing in a plethora of TV ads and posters, it seems to me that the anti-smoking campaign is, in fact, arguing by slogan.

It appears we have conceded that anti-smoking campaigns actively use the fallacy of confirmation bias, as he/she has not contended this statement.

Statistics revisited:


I challenged my opponent to refrain from the use of statistics as a basis for argument, but my opponent argued, and quote:

"it still leaves us with several proofs of negative effects on smoking on cancer; namely, smokers are still eight times more likely to get lung cancer and make up 85% of lung cancer patients."

I refer back to the video I provided, where Greg mentions Pascal's Wager, the study involving surger on the vegas nerve, and the feminist claim that "90% of men are likely to commit a crime against their wives". (does that sound reasonable/logical to you?)
In fact, the statistics against smoking can actually act in reverse.
"Would you believe that the real number [of USWM dying from lung cancer] is < 10% (see Appendix A)? Yes, a US white male (USWM) cigarette smoker has an 8% lifetime chance of dying from lung cancer but the USWM nonsmoker also has a 1% chance of dying from lung cancer (see Appendix A).
"You don't see this type of information being reported, and we hear things like, "if you smoke you will die", but when we actually look at the data, lung cancer accounts for only 2% of the annual deaths worldwide and only 3% in the US.*"[see Source 5, Round 1]

I would extend this quote as a small piece of evidence, but not as the basis of my argument - and much less, the basis for my support of the BOP.

Apparently, the source believes the benefits outweigh the risks:

Although, I will concede that, yes, the source believes that smoking is not the healthiest option in the world. Here is the quote my opponent was referring to:

"Yes, smoking is bad for you, but so is fast-food hamburgers, driving, and so on. We must weigh the risk and benefits of the behavior both as a society and as an individual based on unbiased information. Be warned though, that a society that attempts to remove all risk terminates individual liberty and will ultimately perish. Let us be logical in our endeavors and true in our pursuit of knowledge. Instead of fearful waiting for lung cancer to get me (because the media and much of the medical literature has falsely told me that smoking causes lung cancer), I can enjoy my occasional cigar even more that I know the whole story." [see Source 5, Round 1]

The source itself, presumebly written by a doctor of good standing, must logically believe that the benefits of smoking outweighs the risks if the source actively chooses to smoke the cigars anyway.

Closing statements for Round 4:

"my opponent argued that he's never seen a smoker have to use a stoma.

This is false; I remember very clearly that I argued, and I quote, that "In my lifetime, I've only known one smoker to have a stoma." I do hope and trust that my opponent is reading my arguments carefully.

"Well, I've never seen an elephant. Does that mean elephants don't exist? Of course not.

Well, I've never seen God. Does that mean God exists?
The issues I have with this reasoning aside, I want to clarify that the argument I was making in Round 1 was that smokers with stomas are few and far between. The smoker I saw with a stoma was an elderly man; now, I am not one for making hasty generalizations, but I think it would be reasonable to say that most, if not all, smokers who develop threats to their health such are at an elderly age where they would have begun to develop health problems anyway (that's the thing about getting old, after all).

"So, just from sources alone, my opponent's four arguments have been entirely demolished. I have directly proven that tobacco is not smoked as medicine in Native American culture, that tobacco ads are in fact honest and that smoking is indeed a cause or, at the very least, leads to a vastly increased risk of lung cancer."

No, my opponent hasn't - one cannot disprove the resolution by attacking the sources of the evidence. Second, I have shown that Native Americans do recognize tobacco as a "Sacred Medicine", and that tobacco factually has a medical history, accomplishing in it's time "what a doctor could not cure in three weeks."[1] Third, anti-tobacco ads are dishonest, and smoking is far from a "vastly increased risk of lung cancer."
Rather than find resources to debunk the studies and evidences I have provided, my opponent has "beaten around the bush" by attacking the credibility of the sources (I could equally have discredited my opponent by pointing out that the majority of his/her arguments were found on wikipedia articles, but I digress). The evidences remain, and have stood irrefuted.
As for middle-aged smokers passing away, these statistics are irrelevant. Take these statistics for example:

-There were 120 sports related deaths of young athletes in 2008 - 2009; 49 in 2010; and 39 in 2011.

-Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries.

And yet people generally agree that the benefits of youth sports programs outweigh the risks!

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Before I get into rebutting my opponent's most recent round, I need to go back and finish my rebuttals from the prior round. When I left off I established emphysema and COPD are directly linked to smoking, so I will go from there.

Regarding the claim smoking is linked to bronchitis, my opponent claims that bronchitis has many causes and that smoking only plays a minimal role, especially in comparison to figure. His source doesn't seem to confirm his argument, however - he sourced it with citation 5, which is an article about the negative environmental effect of cigarette butts. Nowhere in this article is bronchitis mentioned. After looking at the rest of his sources to make sure he didn't mistakenly link to a different source, I found none of them actually support his argument - in fact, none of them actually say anything at all about the causes of bronchitis! In contrast to my opponent's claims, bronchitis is directly linked to smoking. Why? According to WebMD, "Every cigarette damages the tiny hair-like structures in your lungs, called cilia, that are responsible for brushing out debris, irritants, and excess mucus... the damage to these cilia prevent them from functioning properly, thus increasing your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. In some heavy smokers, the mucus membrane lining the airways stays inflamed and the cilia eventually stop functioning altogether. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, which over time distort and permanently damage the lungs' airways. This permanent condition is called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)".[1] I think this more than proves the link to COPD, emphysema, and bronchitis.

Next, my opponent attempts to refute the links to heart attacks. I find his argument bizarre - like with bronchitis, he attempts to claim many other things cause heart attacks and attempts to refute statistical proofs. To be blunt, this argument is exceedingly ignorant. The reason smoking causes heart attacks is that the chemicals in smoke damage blood cells, blood vessels and the heart. The damage to blood vessels often leads to atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in your arteries. When the plaque hardens, it this causes the vessels to constrict, which is a bad thing because it limits the blood flow to vital organs. If this plaque build-up occurs in coronary arteries, you have coronary heart disease (CHD) - which leads to a list of delightful things like chest pain, heart attacks, and death.[2] If the plaque builds up in arteries leading to the head or limbs, you get peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which adds stroke and heart disease to your problems.[2] According to the American Heart Association (sourced to DHHS and the Surgeon General's 1990 report), as much as 30% of CHD deaths are attributable to smoking and smoking doubles the risk of ischemic stroke.[3]

Next, my opponent attempts to claim statistical arguments are bad. He links to a video from YouTube's Greg. I have no issue with Greg, so let's assume he is correct that statistics are the second-worst type of data to rely on. What does he say is the worst type? Anecdotal evidence. By my opponent's own argument, many of his arguments are moot! This includes his anecdotal claims relating to Native American medicine, his claim to have seen only one smoker with a stoma, and his list of smokers that haven't died. I've already safety refuted these, but I appreciate my opponent helping me disprove it more.

Next, he goes on to list toxic chemicals in the air. I think we can all agree air pollution is bad and unhealthy. Does that eliminate the risk of smoking entirely or outweigh it? No. Smoking is so bad for you it is sometimes used to gauge air pollution levels - for example, a recent WHO report noted that, in Cairo, Egypt, the air quality is so bad it is akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.[4] Also, I would like to not that, just from my opponent's own argument, I've found another risk of smoking. His source 5 notes that when cigarette butts are discarded, they often seep their toxic chemicals into the environment and our water. This is a side risk of smoking, but I think it is a fair one to note since over 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded annually.[5]

Next, in relation to my arguments on oral cancer, my opponent argues practicing basic oral hygiene could help alleviate these oral issues with smoking. That might help with teeth staining or bad breath (provided you carry around a toothbrush everywhere you go, since most smokers smoke throughout the day), but I doubt it would get rid of oral cancer or periodontitis. On life expectancy, my opponent doesn't actually refute me, he instead directs back to his opening arguments. I've already rebutted those, and I don't have room to do so again.

In relation to COPD, he asserts there is no known cause for it, linking back to the Colby book. I have already established this claim is false earlier this round.

On ED/impotence, my opponent incorrectly asserts I called the the 1950s the heyday of smoking - I noted the rise in smoking began after World War I, which would be the 1920s. My opponent then proceeds to list a couple smokers that didn't get ED or impotence. Nice try, but smoking only substantially increases the risk - it doesn't cause it in everyone. I'm sure I could find several skydivers survived their parachute not working, but that doesn't mean it's safe to not activate your parachute. Besides, I've already established artery damage as the cause of ED.

Finally, I'm not quite sure what ETS is or how it relates to the source - I need clarification from my opponent on what he is saying here. Now, onto my opponent's most recent arguments!

First off, my opponent questions me comparing FORCES to InfoWars. My comment there was a joke - FORCES, like InfoWars, is a conspiratorial website. He also contests me noting FORCES doesn't actually link to outside studies by arguing WHO and CDC might also do so. Sure, they might link to a study they made, but the 115 sources in the WHO report were mostly from outside groups.[6] Also, he claims I am attacking the source because his info is fantastic. This is not true; I am calling into question the reliability of the author. Mr. Colby is not a doctor, and has no experience in the medical field, but is instead a lawyer who contests FDA actions.[7] His lack of knowledge of the topic is demonstrated by his ignorance on the cause of AIDS and addictive nature of nicotine, so it is perfectly reasonable to call into question his reliability and credentials.

Firstly, my opponent attempts to refute my claims on Native American medicine. Despite the fact that his own source said Native Americans rarely smoked and only did so ceremonially, he attempts to refute it by talking about the use of smoke. However, in contrast to how he wrote it, the ritual he is talking about, known as "smudging", is used only for ritual cleansing - not actual medicine.[8] Additionally, the ritual requires no direct inhalation of smoke. His claims about the use of tobacco leaves as medicine also face this problem - aside from being purely anecdotal, they also do not involve smoking at all. Placing a leaf on your skin is not smoking.

After this, my opponent just repeats the previous points he made about the 'appeal to terror' and 'appeal to slogan'. He than attempts to sneak in a claim we 'both agree on confirmation bias' - we don't. I already disproved this argument by pointing out his anecdotal claim is not reliable and that the ad is in fact true.

Now, we go back to statistics. To begin, he asserts he "I challenged my opponent to refrain from the use of statistics as a basis for argument". Where did you say this? I don't find this anywhere in the debate. The quote in question came from me directly noting facts given from his source prove a major increase in risk for lung cancer among smokers. If my opponent did not want me to make this claim, he should have abstained from using that source. He asserts lung cancer is the cause of only 2% of deaths worldwide, which is true: however, lung cancer happens to be the type of cancer that results in the most death worldwide and is the tenth-leading individual cause of death worldwide.[9] Others higher-ups on the list that can be caused by smoking include cardiovascular diseases (29%), respiratory diseases (6.5%), and cancers (12.5%).[9] The two biggest diseases smoking claims to stop, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, only add up to less than 1%.[9] So in other words, smoking might protect you from a couple of uncommon causes of death, but place you at risk for much more common causes of death. I'll leave the voters to decide on if that is worth it.

I have very little room left, so I'll just skim over the rest. To the first, I apologize for the mistake. To the second, I've already proven the risks of smoking generally reduce the lifespan. To the third, I did indeed disprove this using his own source - tobacco smoking is not used as medicine, but as a rare cultural thing. When tobacco is used as medicine, the leaf is used, but not smoked. Putting a leaf on your skin is not smoking. My opponent's last argument is that youth sports can occasionally cause injury, but are recognized as good. Yes, because youth sports don't kill 50% of participants or take 15 years on average off a kid's life!

I look forward to the final round.

Debate Round No. 4


A final word on statistical arguments:
"To begin, he asserts he "I challenged my opponent to refrain from the use of statistics as a basis for argument". Where did you say this?"
Like I said before, I do trust that my opponent is reading my arguments carefully, rather than simply skimming over them. If my opponent is unaware of my challenge, then I recommend that he use ctrl-f to find the following sentence, written under "Statistical arguments moot at best" in Round 3: "That said, I challenge my opponent to refrain from statistical arguments."
Speaking of the ambiguity of statistics, I would like to put forward this study on green tea:
"Recently, health food stores have begun selling green tea, because of its alleged health benefits. In fact, some have suggested that the drinking of green tea accounts for the low rate of lung cancer in Japan and China. A study published in 1990 in Environmental Research, however, claims exactly the opposite. According to that study, females in Hong Kong had a 2.7 times greater risk of developing lung cancer if they drank green tea than if they did not drink green tea. This just proves that you can prove anything with statistics, which is another way of saying you can't prove anything with statistics." [1] opposed to this study on green tea:
"The Shanghai Women's Health Study tracked the tea consumption and cancer rates of more than 69,000 non-drinking, non-smoking, middle-aged and older Japanese women during an 11-year span. Regular tea consumption, defined as at least three times a week for more than six months, was associated with a 17% reduced risk of all digestive cancers combined."[2]
So once again, statistics can be used to prove anything - they are not a good source of valid evidence. I would use statistics as an interesting tidbit of information in a debate; but nothing more than that, and by no means as the basis of my argument altogether.
The damaged cilia:
To answer this question, I would like to ask, has my opponent or the voters ever deprived themselves of sleep, or had ever worked night shift jobs? You may not be aware of this, but a recent study shows that sleep deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage. [3]
Has my opponent, or the voters, ever gone boxing? Recent studies show that this can also cause some pretty nasty health risks as well:
"...boxers are at substantial risk for acute injuries to the head, heart, and skeleton. Subacute consequences after being knocked out include persistent symptoms such as headaches, impaired hearing, nausea, unstable gait, and forgetfulness. The cognitive deficits after blunt craniocerebral trauma last measurably longer than the symptoms persist in the individual's subjective perception. Some 10-20% of boxers develop persistent neuropsychiatric impairments. The repeated cerebral trauma in a long career in boxing may result in boxer's dementia (dementia pugilistica), which is neurobiologically similar to Alzheimer's disease."[4]
Thirdly, regular coffee drinking can lead to higher levels of hydrochloric acid in the body, ulcers, IBS, acidity, heartburn, peristalsis (you cannot digest your food properly), increased difficulty digesting important minerals from foods, consumption of acrylamide (a cancer-causing carcinogen manufactured to produce grout, cement, sewage/wastewater treatment, cosmetics, sugar, ore processing, plastic products, and even pesticides), and heightened stress/tension.[5][6]
What this means is that, yes, smoking can damage the cilia in the lungs - but luckily, the cilia appear to be capable of regenerating themselves within three days after a smoker (who has implicably been dependant upon cigarettes prior) stops smoking:
"Cilia are the tiny protrusions in your lungs that screen out all toxins and other substances that may damage your lungs. Cilia are the first that get destroyed when you smoke. But after 72 hours, these hair-like filters will start repairing and growing themselves and will continue to protect your lungs."
(although I loathe to cite a blatantly anti-smoking source here) [7]
I think it is also worth noting that smoking tobacco does not necessarily mean inhaling the smoke itself - this is especially true with pipe use, where puffing tends to be the more popular option.
CHD and smoking:
Perhaps, but again, CHD is multifactorial. Ever eat a big mac? How's that for the ol' heart, eh? Mmm, yeah!
A mere statistic worth mentionin from the 1989 Framingham Heart Study:
"The results showed a striking surprise: the CHD rate was higher for never-smokers than for exsmokers. The respective age-adjusted incidence of CHD ... at 12-years of follow-up, after the 4th examination, was 8.3/1000 for ex-smokers and 12.0/1000 for never smokers. On this last point, the investigators have publicly confirmed the finding by stating that "The Framingham data ... have always shown that men who never smoked had HIGHER mortality rates than men who quit...the odd implication that it is better to have smoked and stopped than never to have smoked at all."[7]

Furthermore, a quote from Lauren Colby, attorney: "Risk factor studies are, by their very nature, biased by the opinions of the people who conduct such studies. That's because the researchers must select the factors that they consider risky, before the study ever begins...Yet, nobody has ever conducted a study to determine how many heart attacks are caused by exercise. Why not? The answer, of course, lies in the conventional wisdom that "exercise is good for you". Researchers don't conduct studies to link exercise with disease because everybody knows that exercise doesn't cause disease, so there's no point in conducting such a study." [8]

The anti-smoking ad:

"I already disproved this argument by pointing out his anecdotal claim is not reliable and that the ad is in fact true."
I think the ad is stretching the truth. Take a look at the small white print in the black box at the bottom of the ad.
It says, "Smoking causes immediate damage to your body [partial truth]. For Torrie, it gave her throat cancer [?]."
Let me get this straight: Torrie smoked, and immediately, immediately (as it seems to be implied), contracted throat cancer? Does this mean that if I go out and smoke a cigarette right now, I will wake up the next morning with a tumor and live the rest of my life looking like this woman? This is the best example of a slippery slope fallacy if I've ever seen one.
As a final word, anti-smoker firms have hardly been honest or ethical in the past. Consider the infamous Smoking Beagles experiment:
the smoking beagles experiment
In an effort to prove that smoking causes cancer, anti-smoking doctors created an experiment where beagles were forced to inhale cigarette smoke.
"The beagles were strapped side-by-side to a long bench, in a rather unnatural upright position. They were fitted with face masks, which forced them to inhale and exhale smoke from lighted cigarettes. A mechanical device lit a new cigarette and dropped it into the air line, as soon as an old one was used up. Although the Surgeon General later claimed that the smoking machines did not force animals to inhale and exhale deeply, the newsreel footage sure made it look as if the dogs were inhaling and exhaling very deeply."(the experiment failed, by the way) [9]
Oral cancers, oesophagus:
These diseases are "multifactorial". Even more threatening to this idea, the correlation between smoking and these cancers "cannot be determined". (Round 1, Source 4)
Lifespan of smokers:
All my opponent has proved is that there were several middle-aged smokers who passed away; again, another statistic. There is a plethora of other non-smoking middle-aged persons who pass away for a wide variety of reasons; also, there are many smokers who live to be very old (as I pointed out in round 1).
Smoking not used medicinally in history:
On the contrary - take a look at this excerpt:
"Having suffered from periodic attacks of asthma since the age of nine, Proust was familiar with the range of contemporary treatments for the condition: over the years, he had been prescribed opium, caffeine, iodine, and morphine...However, as his note to his mother suggests, Proust’s favoured remedy involved the inhalation of smoke from anti-asthma cigarettes or powders...Proust was not alone in attempting to relieve his asthma with medicated cigarettes or combustible powders. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the inhalation of fumes from burning preparations of stramonium, lobelia, tobacco, and potash became increasingly popular amongst asthmatics and their physicians throughout the world."
Closing arguments:
"Also, he claims I am attacking the source because his info is fantastic. This is not true; I am calling into question the reliability of the author."
^This, ladies and gentlemen, is the very definition of an ad hominem fallacy. That said,
argumentum ad hominem
Albeit not against me, no - but against the arguers of the sources, yes. With all due respect, I would like to see my opponent try discrediting the evidences, not the authors.
In round 2, my opponent claimed to bring to light alternatives to smoking. Very well: name one thing which includes all the benefits of smoking which I listed in Round 2.
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Before I begin my final round, I want to draw attention to a major issue my opponent has had throughout this debate: dropping arguments and issues. While I have responded to basically every argument my opponent has made, my opponent has done done so. The following are a list of arguments my opponent has dropped or stopped contesting as of his last round:
*That the rise in lung cancer began after World War I, coinciding with an increase in cigarette smoking.
*That cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals in smoke, 250 of which are known to be harmful and 69 of which are known to be carcinogens.
*That cigarette smoke contains arsenic, benzene, beryllium, polonium-210, carbon monoxide, cyanide,
*That tobacco smoking wasn't used by Native Americans as medicine.
*That FORCES does not cite their claims to reliable sources.
*That the Michael Siegel he gave was taken out of context.
*That his own source establishes smokers have an 8-times higher risk for lung cancer and comprise 85% of lung cancer patients.
*That Lauren A. Colby does not believe AIDS is caused by a virus or that nicotine is addictive.
*That the World Health Organization meticulously sources their work, and does so mostly to outside sources.
*That studies demonstrate that 50% of lifetime smokers get COPD, and that 80% of COPD patients are or were smokers.
*That the chemicals in tobacco damage blood cells, vessels, and organs, leading to atherosclerosis (which can heart disease and stroke) and erectile dysfunction/impotence.
*That as many as 30% of CHD deaths are attributable to smoking and smoking doubles the risk of ischemic stroke.
*That anecdotal evidence is the worst type of data to rely on.
*That the damage caused by smoking is sometimes used to roughly compare to the poor air quality of a city.
*That each of the 4.5 trillion cigarette butts discarded annually damages the environment.
*That lung cancer, while only the cause of 2% of deaths, is the leading cause of death from cancers and the cause of twice as much as the deaths caused by Alzheimer's/Parkinson's.
*That other smoking-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease (29%) and respiratory diseases (6.5%) cause far more death than those.

That's a pretty long list, isn't it? As you can see, there's a ton of information here my opponent has either not bothered to respond to or simply given up on. With that out of the way I will begin my final rebuttals:

To begin, my opponent does indeed note that, in round 3, he challenged me to refrain from using statistical arguments. OK, so what? I noted many of the arguments my opponent was giving (namely, claims of use as Native American medicine, personal experience, his tiny lists of smokers that haven't died or gotten sick. My opponent once again that statistics are poor examples to give - I call bull on this. My opponent has used statistical analysis to try and support his claims in each and every round, including in his key claims relating to smoking (namely, that it reduces risk for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's). I think my opponent is being ridiculous in trying to belittle my arguments in that regard, but doing the same thing himself. And to the studies he cites, he gives a few examples of studies being refuted by other studies. However, there is no major medical consensus support a position on the health risks or benefits of green tea - instead, this was merely a claim made by health food stores to help sell a product. In contrast, hundreds of medical studies have shown a link between smoking and illness over the past 70+ years.

In response to my scientific reasons as to why smoking causes COPD (damage to the cilia), my opponent gives several examples of activities that can cause harm. For example, he notes sleep deprivation can cause brain damage. I agree with this - studies have shown that sleeping is essential to keeping your body healthy. I also agree that boxing is bad for you - getting punched in the head for a living might not be the best thing to happen to your brain. People in the medical community have called for boxing to be banned for decades.[1][2] He makes a similar argument about coffee. What do these three arguments have in common though? They have nothing to do with this debate.

My opponent does indeed seem to agree that cilia are damaged by tobacco smoking, and that they only stay damaged as long as your smoke. Of course, if you smoke long enough eventually they stop working entirely. I appreciate my opponent confirming the science here.

I want to elaborate on one point my opponent made, that not all types of smoking involve inhaling. This is a fantastic argument, and one I was hoping my opponent would discuss earlier in the debate. Cigar or pipe smokers do indeed face a lower risk due to not inhaling. However, only 5.4% of Americans smoke cigars,[3] as compared to 18.1% who smoke cigarettes.[4] There is also bound to be overlap with that. However, cigar smokers still face the same health risks, which rise if the smoker does inhale or smokes more cigars, even if they aren't quite as high.[5] Remember, even if you aren't inhaling it deeply you still have to draw the smoke into your mouth, and that smoke contains the same chemicals and nicotine that cigarettes contain.[5] Just because you don't inhale doesn't mean you are risk-free.

Next, my opponent attempts to refute links between CHD and smoking by pointing to the 1989 Framingham Heart Study. Although I applaud my opponent for using a legitimate scientific journal and article, I want to note several things:
*First off, my opponent does not directly link to the study - instead, he links to a website which cites an article that responded to the study. To be fair, the article in response is a legitimate, scientific article by a legitimate writer.
*In this article, the author (Carl C. Setzler) notes that even the Framingham researchers believed
the studies that stated ex-smokers have a lower risk of CHD than non-smokers need a controlled trial, because the trial they found the information in was not controlled.[citation 6, page 6] The problem with these studies is that the groups are not randomized, but self-selecting - that is, the participants in the study were selected randomly, but the ex-smokers were essentially a self-selecting group. Setzler notes that, in three randomized trials on this issue, no link was shown on this topic,[citation 6, page 6] and because of this, "serious questions" arise about the Framingham findings due to their lack of self-selection and the lack of similar results in randomized studies.[citation 6, page 7]. Unfortunately, even considering the fact this study didn't support my opponent's claims, Mr. Seltzer's research was funded by the tobacco industry, which places his reliability as an impartial researcher at risk.[7]

He also argues from the Colby source again (ugh) that nobody cares about links between exercise and heart attacks because we think exercise is good. This is false! Exercise and sports are good for you, but people displaying symptoms of congenital defects that would place them at risk for such deaths are urged to seek medical attention before it is too late.[8]

Again, my opponent returns to the ad. He attempts to argue it basically says that Terrie Hall got cancer immediately. I think the way he read it is silly - the way I read it, it was saying that "Smoking harms you. For Terrie, it eventually gave her cancer". As to the Beagles, I think we can all agree that's a crappy study, both in scientific and moral terms.

Next, my opponent attempts to refute my oral arguments by claiming the link "can't be determined". I'd refute this, but he again links to FORCES - which, I'll remind you, does not actually support their statements with research. As to lifespan, he (incorrectly) claims I've only established smokers die early and he has shown the opposite. I'll remind the voters I established smoking causes you to lose, on average, 15 years of life in my opening arguments, and my opponent never refuted this.

Next, he resorts to anecdotal stories on how some people tried to treat illness with tobacco. As my opponent's own source says, anecdotal evidence is the worst type of evidence.

Next, he accuses me of ad homenim fallacies because I called into question Colby's reliability. This is false - ad homenim fallacies require me to target a random aspect of a person's life (ie. Colby smells funny) rather than a relevant aspect (ie. Colby having no credentials). He also (finally) responds to me noting you can get the 'benefits' of tobacco smoking from nicotine gum by saying you can't get all the 'benefits' from that, again directing me to round 2 - where he gives a number of 'benefits' as cites by FORCES which, for the last time, does not support their arguments with any outside sources.

In closing: my opponent has failed to show smoking has more benefits than negatives. His main sources simply consist of either authors of questionable validity (Colby) or websites that don't give proof of their claims (FORCES). In contrast, I have conclusively shown - through both studies and science - the downsides of smoking, and how the illnesses smoking places you at risk for (cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart disease) far outweigh any protection it offers (such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's). Vote Con!

Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Impact94 6 years ago
I think you're right; unfortunately, nicotine has gotten a black mark as a result of its association with cigarettes and smoking. Being the iconoclast I tend to be, I'm sure I'll be supporting more unorthodox resolutions in the future; and maybe I'll have another debate like this one in the future, who knows - but absolutely not anytime soon, seeing I'm back at the drawing board now.

And by the way, if it was seeming to get heated during the debate, that wasn't exactly my intention; I apologize for any hard feelings.
...Of course, now I've lost two debates in a row now - this is seriously going to hurt my debate ratio >_>
Posted by TN05 6 years ago
And there needs to be more sorts of debates like this. Science is never settled - things change. We can't assume something is true just because we've believed it for a long time. I strongly believe that if you refuse to defend your position, you probably don't know what you are talking about.
Posted by TN05 6 years ago
That's what I was thinking as well - in which case, if its just the nicotine there has to be a way to have it help without actually smoking (like with the CBD oil for marijuana). Might as well experiment with it - I mean, there has been research into using ricin (a very deadly poison) to kill cancer cells. Nicotine in and of itself isn't the problem, so much as the main method of consumption (smoking).
Posted by Impact94 6 years ago
I believe it is the nicotine itself; people have discovered that trace amounts of nicotine found in eggplant and tomatoes are also capable of helping to reduce these risks though. I think I provided a link to a news article about it in the smoking debate I attempted before this one. I'm glad I got you thinking though - partially the purpose of this debate was just for the sake of analyzing the status quo.
Posted by TN05 6 years ago
*shakes hand*

That was a good debate... things got a little heated but that's just debate. I had to pull a ton of research to keep up with your case, and you did a good job presenting your case. It definitely made me research more on this topic, which is always a good thing.

I do find these 'Smokers paradoxes' interesting though. I want to see some research done on seeing what causes the reduction in Alzheimer's or Parkinson's risk. Is it the nicotine, or something else? I'm not going to ever go out and smoke or anything, but there is sometimes good in even the most toxic things.
Posted by Impact94 6 years ago
Well played, TN05, well played. Virtual handshake?
Posted by Impact94 6 years ago
I also apologize if the images I inserted in my arguments did not appear correctly; they can still be seen here:
Posted by Impact94 6 years ago
Woops... I'd assumed that the youtube video would appear on the side of my arguments like usual - not at the top of them all as a link :/
Posted by gordonjames 6 years ago
>> Posted by Hematite
>> People die with high rates who smoke.

Actually the death rate is close to 100% for all people to have ever lived on earth.

The questions to consider might be:
- do smokers die at a younger age?
- do smokers cause financial or other damages to society?
- do the risks outweigh the benefits?
Posted by Ragnar 6 years ago
There are actually some health benifits to the lifestyle of a smoker... Not to say people should begin smoking, but it's not all bad. Basically smoking often equals going outside, which in itself is very healthy.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was very good, however when Pro took full BoP the task became too large and required citations and arguments from well sourced medical journals. These medical journals were cited on the website that Pro mentioned so it was possible. Con however, showed that the sources used were biased (opinions of published medical studies) and as such should not be trusted. For this reason Con gets argument points. Other points are shared, I would recommend reading up on fallacies more for future debates.
Vote Placed by Benshapiro 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's closing arguments were very effective. He established reasons that show why the risks of smoking outweigh the benefits and arguments that pro failed to address. I found pro's arguments generally unconvincing; using anti-smoking commercials to show how smoking is not bad because the ads are not truthful for example. The truthfulness of TV ads against smoking has no bearing on whether or not the benefits of smoking actually outweigh the negatives.

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