Author: Debate_Guru

Tobacco Products Should be Illegal

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CON (7 arguments)

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

 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.


U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

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

 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.


 NY Times

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

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.


U.S. Constitution

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

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.


Time Magazine

5. Making it illegal will create a black market in it and will be worse as it will have other untoward effects.

Millions of people use tobacco in some way or other. The livelihoods of lot of these people are in some way dependent on it. If this is banned the immediate response will be it will incite surreptitious use and result in a big black market around the world. This actually results in more harm than good by leading to higher crime rate and making a larger population of citizens corrupt. This will lead to corrupt decisions and an unstable government and society. Even when there’s a black market, numerous people could use tobacco; there’s just no certain way to deter people from using the products. Currently, there is a black market for illegal drugs, in which more than 70% of high school students have experimented with the drugs. This is clearly not an effective system and could be what might happen to the tobacco market.


Prohibition of Alcohol Amendment- U.S.A., 1920's. Didn't work, created black market. Failed miserably and was finally repealed due to its widespread unsuccess and failure.

6. Jobs and lot of economies will be thwarted.

Tobacco is an important part of the economy of lot of rural communities. Restriction of tobacco related products will have a substantial impact on the economies of these regions. A lot of jobs are going to be affected and lost not only in tobacco farming but also in manufacturing. 3.1% of people with jobs have jobs related to tobacco. This is a fairly large portion of workers; illegalizing tobacco will thus push down the unemployment rate to 12%. In addition, tobacco related jobs and companies hold about 11% of the U.S. economy. This at this time of economic downturn wherein the unemployment rate is already at a record high could push us back into a recession again and possibly into a depression.


U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA)

7. It is cheaper to regulate tobacco products than to make it illegal.

The government does not have adequate resources to presently fight crime. Deploying law enforcement personnel to change the behavior of millions of people is not only going to be exorbitantly expensive but also impractical. Furthermore, it will take an immense amount of money to take the sudden step of illegazing the product. Australia once took such a step in trying to illegalize this cash crop; in just 6 months it expended 15 million dollars and still was not able to come up with an effective system. Hence, it repealed the banning of the products. In our economy, are we willing to take the risk of having to spend money on something that might not even turn out to be successful.


The Economic Times