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Topics Homepage> Tobacco products should be illegal

Tobacco products should be illegal

PRO (7 assertions)

Define: Tobacco products– Any product manufactured from tobacco and intended for use by smoking, inhalation, chewing, sniffing or sucking

Should be- As in what we should do to benefit the American population overall

Illegal- Illegal to smoke publicly where someone else could be harmed by second hand smoke. You’d be fined if caught in public places.



1. Is lung disease bad?

2. Which is worth more, a piece of paper money or a million lives?

3. Is your life worth more than a thousand dollars?



1. If they say: Well, it helps our economy.

Then say: How much? According to CNN Money, about $50 billion a year when you take away health care costs and import, transportation, and salary costs. Let’s see…$50 billion. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? At first, maybe. But judge, guess what are national debt is. This year, the U.S. Budgetary Panel estimated that we’d shortfall our expenses by over $1 trillion!! Judge, if we took away the tobacco industry, it wouldn’t affect anyone! $50 billion is nothing compared to the rest of our economy and debt. It’s not even a dent. And when you factor in the fact that our opponents are trying to say that $50 billion, not even a percent of our GDP ($15 trillion), is more important than the health of 300 million people. Well, wow… that’s a pretty bad argument there.

2. If they say: It provides people with jobs.

Then say: So, does that make it necessarily good? If we were to use your same logic, then you could say that child labor laws are bad because they take away jobs. There is no logic in your argument, because you can’t prove that it actually benefits society. You’ve said something, but you haven’t stated it’s impact in this debate, which, as I’ve just proven, is nothing.

1. Assertion: Tobacco products are the largest preventable cause of death.

Reasoning: Numerous harmful as well as addictive substances, such as nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, are present in tobacco products. Specifically, when ingesting tobacco, neurotransmitters flood the brain, causing 1) damage throughout the nervous system, 2) impairing behavior and thought, and worst of all causing immense addiction. Apart from the variety of cancers it causes multitude of chronic diseases of the heart, lung and various body systems. Every 8 seconds around the world someone dies from tobacco in some form. 1 in 10 adults are killed by smoking related illness of tobacco. By the year 2018, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will die because of smoking or tobacco related illness. More deaths are caused by tobacco use than by AIDS, drug abuse, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. The effects of tobacco addiction cause enormous ripples around the world, and can most directly be halted by no longer manufacturing such products.

Evidence: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2. Assertion: Tobacco products are the reason for the greatest health care expenditure.

Reasoning: In the U.S itself, annually about 150 billion dollars are spent on taking care of various diseases caused due to smoking. Japan spends about 100 billion dollars annually of tobacco-related health issues. The entire world annually expends a combined total of approximately 1 trillion dollars. The diseases and sicknesses includes various types of cancers including lung cancer, chronic lung diseases caused due to smoking, higher incidence of heart attacks, various vascular diseases etc. It adds billions to Medicare spending and is one of the reasons for the risk of Medicare going broke in future, causing others who are not involved in ingesting tobacco to lose their health care coverage. By 2025, it is projected that health care costs for tobacco will be approximately 3 trillion dollars around the world. If drugs like cocaine etc. can be made illegal more reason to do for tobacco.

Evidence: World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.

3. Assertion: It leads to increased time off work and also lowers productivity.

Reasoning: As stated before, the carcinogens, tar, and other substances impair behavior and thought. This clearly has a direct correlation with work performance and quality. In a study by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, smokers cause their employers to expend 100 billion dollars in premature death and disability. Current smokers average 3 times as much sick-leave as nonsmokers, as well as significantly more sick-leave than ex-smokers. Current smokers were also the least satisfied with their life According to the American Productivity Audit Data of US workforce, tobacco use was one of the greatest causes of lost worker production time (LPT) greater than alcohol consumption, family emergencies, age or education. It also increased in relation to the amount of tobacco consumption. This contention refutes any claims the opponents might have about jobs being created. The health care expenditures, along with money spent of various vocations, as well as the maintenance(of facilities where smoking occurs) not only cost more than money made by the products and jobs, but also have a larger impact

Evidence: USDL, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek

4. Assertion: It affects even people who are not using tobacco products.

Reasoning: People may not use tobacco products, but nevertheless suffer by being exposed to second hand smoke, causing an increased risk to all the harmful effects of it. Even though they are not at fault because of others faults of using tobacco products (smoking in this instance), they end up destroying innocent lives. As stated before, health is snatched from the needy people who have not done anything wrong. Furthermore, workers who labor alongside tobacco users are at the risk of poor performance and possibly being fired. It simply is not fair for workers to be held liable for someone else’s actions. Annually, approximately 75,000 workers are laid off in the US, as a result of co-workers using tobacco. In a nutshell, it simply isn’t fair to ruin millions of lives for insignificant pleasure.

Evidence: CNN, The Economist

Assertions #5, 6, 7

CON (7 assertions)

If PRO has not made it globally, than make it U.S. only.



Instead of making an over-arching ban, the CON is proposing to place restrictions on tobacco usage instead. Our plan is to restrict it so that you can't smoke publicly but you can only use tobacco products privately. This way, only those who understand the risk and accept it get harmed by the health affects of smoking and second hand smoking is eliminated. Our economy gets the plus, so does our health, so overall plus.



1. Is fast food bad for you?

2. Has the ban on cocaine absolutely prevented cocaine use in America?

3. Are black markets beneficial in any way to the U.S.?

1. Assertion: Tobacco products are strictly regulated the world over as well as the U.S. (mainly).

Reasoning: Cigarettes and other tobacco products everywhere in the world are not sold to minors {(under 18-U.S.) or16/ 21 years of age-some other countries). So, regulations are already in place which prevents its misuse. There are strict limits on public smoking in various places. These curbs have helped reduce the inappropriate use of them and the actual incidence of use has dropped over the years. The products manufactured now go through more stringent measures wherein they are better and safer products than before. This shows that regulation works and is a better solution than making it illegal. The quantities of different types of substances, such as nicotine, also are limited. Instead of completely voiding the manufacturing of tobacco, more restrictions should be made. This has a multitude of more benefits than illegalizing: a) the entire tobacco economy, profit, and jobs will not be dropped; b) health care costs will go down; c) and will not interfere with people’s freedom of choice.

Evidence: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

2. Assertion: People are informed about its health effects and use it knowingly.

Reasoning: Tobacco and cigarette companies for years now have had warnings on their products. They spend enormous efforts on educating the public about the possible risks. Multiple studies and news reports show the hazards of tobacco. So, people who use it these days are using it with proper knowledge. Most of its use is for its entertainment value, socially. It helps people relax, relieves their stresses in their life. This is actually beneficial; otherwise these same people would be depressed and unable to perform any significant work. It avoids use of the most commonly used medications the world over that is antidepressants. Depression is a major scourge and is the largest cause of decreased productivity and suicide in the world. By illegalizing tobacco, the work quality will be lowered, causing various detrimental effects. Tobacco products keep the workers up and running, helping the U.S. as well as the world economy moving.

Evidence: NY Times

3. Assertion: Making it illegal interferes with the first amendment and privacy rights.

Reasoning: The basic tenet of any democracy is the freedom to choose by the people. On top of this, the first amendment for us in the U.S. guarantees this freedom. If it is made illegal, it infringes on the first amendment. While laws can be enacted for public smoking restrictions, there is no legitimate basis for laws restricting private smoking. This would be like passing laws prohibiting people from eating too much, sleeping too little, skipping medications or taking on too high stress jobs. By passing laws against tobacco products, our civil liberties are threatened- because the sole basis of government as established in the Declaration of Independence is to protect the rights of the individual citizen.

Evidence: U.S. Constitution.

4. Assertion: Other substances which are as harmful are not illegal.

Reasoning: Alcohol is one such substance which is known to harmful effects if misused and abused similar to tobacco. It is also directly or indirectly involved in various health problems, accidents, suicides and other causes of death. It is similarly used socially for its entertainment value and benefits. There are restrictions on its use which have worked for years. So why should tobacco products be any different.

Reasoning: Time Magazine.

Assertions #5, 6, 7