Anti-Smoking Activists' Clueless Crusade Against E-Cigarettes


My latest article at The Daily Beast looks at the push against e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine hits to smokers who would otherwise be sucking on cancer sticks:

The latest push from tobacco eliminationists doesn't involve actual smoking, which has already been driven out of polite society more thoroughly than Rev. Jeremiah Wright sermons, early David Allan Coe records, andThree's Company-era gay jokes combined. But it does lay bare the prohibitionist mindset and its fixation on scrubbing the planet clean of any behavior or attitude the crusader deems unacceptable.

This time, the buttinskys are trying to douse the dreaded e-cigarette, a device that supplies a safe nicotine hit to the user without bothering or endangering anybody else. E-cigarettes use replaceable cartridges in which nicotine or flavors are heated, vaporized, and inhaled (users are called "vapers"). Some e-cigarettes look like conventional cancer sticks and others look more like something from a bad Sylvester Stallone movie set in the near future. Questions of fashion aside, they are not just a safer way for smokers to get the nicotine they crave, they are apparently as safe as milk (well, pasteurized milk, anyway, and assuming you're not lactose intolerant).

Read the whole thing at the Beast.

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  1. The Puritans and the Luddites are still with us. And they’ve been rolled into one package, aka Proglodytes.

    1. Proglodyte do-gooders come pre-programmed with the Anti-Hippocratic Oath. It’s their obligation to do only great harm. And they do it extremely well.

  2. The anti-smoking people went off the rails sometime in the 1970’s, and have had only incidental contact with reality since. I think, but cannot prove, that it has something to do with a study that was done at about that time where the usual lab rats were put through the usual experiment but the substance they were ‘exposed’ to was distilled water. The rate of increase in rodent tumors was strikingly similar to a lot of experiments that had bee touted as ‘proving’ that various substances were carcinogens, and that called a whole field of studies into question. At that point the anti-tobacco crusade had thought that they had ‘scientific proof’ that smoking caused cancer,and the rug got jerked out from under them. It is from that point on that their statistical ‘studies’ began to have obvious and serious bias, and they stopped having any patience with opposition.

    Now, I don’t doubt that smoking has a strong connection with a variety of ills. But so does sodomy. And the ‘evidence’ that smoking strongly affects anyone but the smokers and asthmatics is largely hogwash. I keep waiting for somebody to get tired enough of the crusade to start investigating its finances. That was what, eventually, scuttled the Anti-Saloon League. Anti-Smoking is big business, and it is given far less scrutiny than the tobacco companies.

    1. I’d say it was the early-to-middle 1980s when they went off the rails, but yes, that change was palpable. They switched from smoking’s being bad for you to smoking’s being evil…and then more particularly to tobacco’s being evil and Big Tobacco’s being especially evil. Then it spread to smokers’ being evil.

      A prominent manifestation of the switch was the change in focus from smoke/tar’s being problematic to nicotine as the problem. I’m afraid it was part of the turn ca. 1980 against “addictions” of all kinds, especially but not exclusively pharmacologic ones, in the USA. I don’t think this is nearly as much of a problem in most of the world. That’s how New Zealand can be on the verge of licensing new “high”-making substances for sale for recreational use on the basis of their safety, a sentiment which existed in the USA as well in the 1970s.

    2. You’re spewing nonsense. Smoking does absolutely increase your risk of developing cancer by a massive amount. It has nothing to do with tabacco or nicotine or anything else. It’s the act of burning something and inhaling the smoke. That is going to increase your risk of cancer regardless of what it is you’re burning.

      You’re right about a lot of the “carcinogen” study work being called into question, but smoking just isn’t part of that.

      I still think they’re going way to far in the anti-smoking crusade, but trying to claim it doesn’t increase the risk of cancer is simply asinine to the highest possible degree.

  3. At its core I assume this particular prohibition, like so many others, is money. Tobacco growers or activists or whoever needs help from the state to make more scratch.

    1. Last year the Quebec government sued the in-province tobacco companies for the healthcare costs associated with diseases caused by smoking. The provincial government argued that tobacco companies were liable, but obviously ignored the fact that they were actively getting tax revenue from cigarettes at the same time. A guy at Imperial Tobacco called them out on it:

      “This lawsuit is a cash grab by a provincial government looking to score political points while conveniently forgetting that it has been a senior partner in the tobacco industry for decades. Governments have licensed us, have taxed us and our consumers, and have regulated us, all in full knowledge of the risks associated with tobacco use.”

      1. Not to mention the many studies that have shown smokers actually end up costing less in health care than non-smokers because they tend to die earlier and quicker.

        1. Oh yeah, obesity is a far more expensive condition in a public healthcare system then smoking related illnesses.

      2. This is what government controlled healthcare looks like. The government would have no standing to bring such a case if the healthcare system were not owned and operated by the government.

    2. Nah. It’s just modern Puritans. They see someone enjoying something and feel that it must be stopped, that’s all. Enjoyment is sin.

      1. 100% agree!


    A man is believed to have been killed by a crocodile in Australia’s Northern Territory while swimming in a river during a birthday party.

    Police say he ignored signs to stay out of the water at a popular camping ground at Mary River, 65 miles (100km) from Darwin, the state’s capital.

    The river has one of the highest crocodile populations in the area.

    Onlookers watched in horror as the victim was suddenly attacked.

    He was last seen in the crocodile’s powerful jaws, reports the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney. Police are searching for him.

    Australia is not a fit place for civilized people to visit. Stay home, America.

    1. The victim and another man had gone swimming across the river, and were swimming back when the crocodile attacked, police say.

      “I don’t have to outswim the crocodile, just you”

      1. HI SIV, “I don’t have to outswim the crocodile, just you”? My aged brain mis-read that at first to say “? just yet.” The alternate ending could have worked well in comparison to the likes of oh-so-expert economist Paul Krugland, who, falling past the 20th story after kicking off of the 200th floor balcony, says, “See, all this debt-fearing fear-mongering is just so much baloney, nothing bad has happened to us yet”. I fear that the crocodile will get us all here in the over-spending USA sooner rather than later?

    2. 65 miles (100km) from Darwin


    3. Near Darwin huh? Kind of ironic or something.

    4. Australia is not a fit place for civilized people to visit. Stay home, America.

      I’m sure there is at least 4 or 5 percent of Australia that could be considered civilized.

      1. Australia is not a place for people of a weak constitution, as my English brother-in-law will attest. He was “attacked” by a bug which few Aussies would be bothered and had a large welt to show for it.

        Australia just does venomous creatures better than anywhere else.

  5. From the comments on the article at the Daily Beast:

    just now
    @QFAs There is a fine line between “liberal” and “libertarian” when it comes to personal freedom. Both are defenders of personal freedom and both are opposed to the right-wing. Yet liberals believe in equality, which means personal freedom can not take away the rights of other people. Libertarians believe they have superior rights and have no qualms about taking away other people rights.

    Uh, what in the hell?

    1. Liberal-Sailor believes in the freedom to take your stuff.

      1. No, no, no.

        Liberal-Sailor believes he has the right to take your stuff.

        1. Indeed, he is entitled to your stuff.

    2. Did you call him on it?

    3. Liberal-Sailor demonstrates the time-honored propaganda technique of just making shit up.


    4. Liberal-Sailor proves he is a liberal.
      Has no idea what he’s talking about.

      1. Liberal-Sailor proves he is a liberal.

        Also a Sailor, i.e., out-to-sea most of the time.

        1. Also, as a sailor, he loves rum, sodomy and the lash… but not necessarily in that order.

    5. Liberal-sailor clearly drinks too much.

    6. It means if you don’t do what a liberal wants, like give the liberal free contraceptives or photograph her wedding ceremony you have denied the liberal her rights.

      They’ve been openly proclaiming this definition of rights for years now. I hope this is not first time you’ve been exposed to it.

    7. That’s backwards. In the US Liberals (a noticeably different breed from liberals) are all about the Nanny state — ban this, prohibit that, it’s all for the common good, think of the chilllldren! To a Liberal, freedom is important until it gets in the way of whatever emotion-driven crusade they are on, then it imply HAS to go.

      Libertarians are more like the liberals everywhere else on the planet. To a Libertarian, freedom s more important than anything else — yours, mie, everyone’s. There are quite a few neurotically selfish people who seize on Libertarianism as a way to get their “natural rights” and to hell with anyone else, but they’re just posing as Libertarians because it’s a convenient excuse. Those that don’t pose as faux-Libertarians are commonly known as jerks.

      1. Argh. For $700 you’d think they could make iPad on-screen keyboards read keystrokes fast enough to keep up with single-finger typing speeds… =(

    8. Queen Carlotta has proclaimed every day as backwards day.

  6. Libertarians believe they have superior rights and have no qualms about taking away other people rights.

    This is unequivocally true, if you believe yourself to have the “right” to a free college education at the expense of others. See also, Free Unlimited Health Care”.

    1. A “right” to a “living wage”, a “right” to free birth control and abortion, a “right” not to be offended.

  7. others look more like something from a bad Sylvester Stallone movie set in the near future.

    Three shells?

    1. Nick, I hope you’re not talking shit about Demolition Man, because that was among the greatest and most prescient scifi movies ever made.

      1. Including the part about Wesley Snipes ending up in prison.

      2. Heh…talking shit…heh….

      3. Nick should be forced to watch a Jim Jarmusch marathon for such blasephemy.

      4. And I thought I was the only one! I wrote about this once. Demolition Man is our future.

        1. Demolition Man will soon be our present.

          I wonder if Dennis Leary will lead the underground rebellion in real life.

      5. this is one of my fav movies of all time!!!Now most movies suck and are remakes.

  8. Just as an aside. I never thought of Three’s Company as being anti-gay, or it’s gay jokes being particularly offensive. If anything it’s pretty tolerant. It was made in the 70s, and Jack Tripper pretends to be a gay man, so the landlord won’t discriminate against him, because the idea of a straight man co-habiting with two woman is so shocking. (But a gay man living with two women isn’t! haha!).

    1. The most shocking thing to modern liberals about that show would be the fact that John Ritter crashes his bike in the opening titles, and he isn’t wearing a helmet!


      1. Too bad about Ritter. I liked him.

        1. Me too.

        2. I thought Buffy killed him.

      2. I’m sure there are plenty of things in any show from that time that would shock a liberal/progressive.

    2. Agreed. Mr. Roper might have made the occasional “twinkletoes” comment, but the whole point was that he was an out of touch old fart.

      1. This. See also Archie Bunker.

        Unfortunately many modern practitioners of minority victimhood have had their humor and sarcasm detectors removed, and replaced by class action lawyer hookups.

    3. Plus, how did the landlord know the women weren’t gay?

      1. In those days lesbians weren’t called “gay”.

      2. Because they didn’t wear flannel shirts?

      3. Plus, how did the landlord know the women weren’t gay?

        I don’t think he would care, as long as he thought there was a chance of getting a glimpse of them in some state of undress.

  9. But if we allow these e-cigs “we” are encouraging nicotine addiction, don’t you know. And if we don’t ban these products which are illegal for children to purchase then children will purchase them and become smokers! Plus profits are being made, and there just has to be something horrible about something that looks, and FEELZ so much like smoking.

    1. + the war on other drugs has worked so well.

      1. Didn’t Ambrose Bierce once way that a conservative was someone who is enamored with existing evils while a liberal wishes to replace them with others?

    2. Nick said: “they are apparently as safe as milk”

      I’m all for the freedom to do with your body what you will but over consumption of nicotine won’t be good for the heart. Just like any strong stimulant.

  10. OT: I naturally hate the Jets being from New England and all, but I particularly hate Rex Ryan. I got a delicious hit of schadenfreude from ESPN this morning.

    1. He sounded like he was trying to convince himself he did the right thing. It won’t work. The play will haunt him for a long time.

      Nonsense. The best thing for the long-term success of the franchise is to lose as many games as possible in 2013. Sanchez getting hurt lowers the expected wins for this team from 6 to 4, making this a great move. Oh Rex, I admire your twisted genius.

      Also, that press conference was hysterical and the reporters deserved to be mocked for asking the same question 10 different times for probably the 100th time since training camp broke. This is just pouting by a beat writer about how the coach was mean to him.

    2. An opposing view from a football forum I frequent:

      Sounds like the media kept asking the same question over and over, just rephrased differently. He basically said he can answer a question how he wants. I’m no fan of Rex, but I don’t think he was disrespectful. He basically gave an answer and the media didn’t like it so they pressed him.

    3. I’m enjoying the warm glow of hate now coursing through my veins.

    4. His wife has nice feet.

  11. Cue ban boners. Or queue the ban boners. Whatever.

    1. better than the boner banners

  12. I’m going through this for the second time. My hospital is “debating”* whether to allow e-cigs, if so how, when, where, etc.

    Naturally, the first proposal was to just ban them like they were actual burning plant matter. I asked “Why? Do they pose a safety risk? A health risk? No? Then why do we want to ban them from our campus?”

    It looks like we’re probably only going to ban them indoors, because the vapor they produce just looks too much like smoke, and its too much of a hassle to chase down everyone who looks like they’re smoking and make sure they’re just vaping, and (especiallY) too much trouble to deal with the fainting and pearl-clutching amongst our patients and families.

    *I appear to be the only one on one side of the debate. Again.

    1. its too much of a hassle to chase down everyone who looks like they’re smoking and make sure they’re just vaping, and (especiallY) too much trouble to deal with the fainting and pearl-clutching amongst our patients and families.

      If you coordinated with the legal team to make sure everyone knew the proper response in that situation,

      ‘it’s steam, not smoke, asshole. Now you have been educated we’ll be adding a fee for that on your bill, too.’

      I think it would work fine.

      1. Err, Killa, I am the legal team.

        I will propose that we bill anyone who needs counselling on the difference between smoke and vape, though.

        1. Didn’t realize it was a one man show with you before, but glad I could help.

        2. Cyril: I happen to be a kick ass accountant!
          Spelvin: Did that sound a lot better in your head?
          Cyril: Yes it did.

        3. His cigarette had a bright blue light on it! I saw it!

    2. its too much of a hassle to chase down everyone who looks like they’re smoking and make sure they’re just vaping

      Anyone who doesn’t smoke can sniff the difference at about 50 yards.

      I appear to be the only one on one side of the debate. Again.

      BT-DT. Change the argument.

      “We’re a hospital. Vaping is a safe alternative to smoking. Why are we not encouraging people to use them?”

      1. Hippies everywhere. Someone is going to complain that it is ‘unnatural’, doesn’t come from the earth, and why are we encouraging people to put harmful substances into their bodies, we have an obligation to do it my way or else, evil happens, and you would rather they shut up and go back to smoking pot, giving each espresso enemies, leaving you alone. Busy bodies are like locusts.

        1. giving each espresso enemies Not going to correct it, makes less sense but it is more appealing than the original.

        2. Water vapor isn’t natural?

          1. Then they should also ban steam rooms and humidifiers….hell, the whole state of Florida.

      2. Tax dollars I would guess.

        Tobocco makes a lot of money for the government and has the benefit of killing off older people.

    3. *I appear to be the only one on one side of the debate. Again.

      I’ve had limited exposure to hospital legal, but I thought the side legal took was the ONLY side.

  13. Anti-Smoking Activists’ Clueless Evil Crusdade Against E-Cigarettes

    Can we please stop pretending these people are anything other than sociopathic scum?

    1. Unfortunately, no.

      People of good will want to believe that other people are of good will despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      1. Radicals’ standards are much too high. When you judge against libertarian (or any other) principle, everyone in the world comes out evil except yourself.

  14. It looks like we’re probably only going to ban them indoors, because the vapor they produce just looks too much like smoke

    I have heard umbrellas resemble assault rifles. Better ban them, too.

    1. And lobsters resemble scorpions which are much more dangerous, so therefore we should ban lobster dinners.

      what the fuck is it with aesthetics when it comes to these assholes; “it resembles smoke” military “style” guns, it’s not just that the argument isn’t right, but the premises aren’t even acceptable.

      Anyway the whole E-Cig thing really caused these “public health advocates” some mask slippage, it’s clearly not about health, none of second hand smoke arguments apply, they just dont like it.

      Pricks, complete pricks

      1. “what the fuck is it with aesthetics when it comes to these assholes; “it resembles smoke” military “style” guns, it’s not just that the argument isn’t right, but the premises aren’t even acceptable.”

        They read a book on memetics and totally misinterpreted it?

      2. That was obvious when tobacco use (including chewing tobacco) period was banned from school grounds or parks and not just smoking tobacco.

        1. Or businesses, usually hospitals, banned nicotine use by employees. Nicotine testing doesn’t distinguish between cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco/snuff/snus, e-cigs, or “medically approved” nicotine patches/gum/ inhalers. It’s never about health, only morality and control.

  15. OK someone has WAY too much sparetime on their hands!

    1. So pass out the Wet-Naps.

      Oh, spare time. I thought you meant spare ribs.

  16. You have a typo in the headline — Crusdades are not the same thing as crusades.

    1. The Jacket reserves the right to invent new words as the need for them arises.

  17. Doesn’t the average episode of Red Eye, which several Reason staff/contributors appear on, contain about as many gay jokes as 3’s Company?

  18. The anti-smoking crusade has never been about health or safety. It’s about controlling behavior. Nothing less.

    1. A huge part of the Progressive mindset is the mistaken belief that they are vastly superior to, and therefore entitled to rule over the rest of us.

  19. The only thing that’s so dangerous, damaging and vile that it screams to be prohibited completely off the face of the Earth, and that thing is the prohibitionists themselves.

    1. I saw that…

      1. crap, it’s an infinity loop ?

  20. I had a student this summer that smoked e-cigs in class. She sat in the back row (out of 6 rows) so most of the other students couldn’t see her (except her friends that sat next to her), and nobody else seemed to notice. If anyone did notice, they didn’t complain. We don’t (yet) have any policy about vaping, so I decided I wasn’t going to say anything unless someone complained, and nobody ever did.

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