Police Abuse

Don't Be Surprised When Stupid Laws Are Maintained With Force

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids railed against cops for enforcing the same kind of anti-vaping rule they help pass.


"We are horrified and outraged by the incident of police violence in Ocean City, MD, this weekend," reads a statement from an advocacy group, drafted in response to the viral videos of cops using force on vaping teens. "There is absolutely no place for violence and abuse in enforcing tobacco laws."

Such expressions were commonplace as the clips ripped their way through social media. Yet the above press blurb was particularly rich. It came from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an organization that has fought to put in place the very same sorts of laws that they now regret to see enforced.

"Our communities cannot be safe and healthy when police often choose to enforce these laws with violence, often disproportionately against Black and Brown people," they continued.

Unfortunately for the campaign, there is essentially one way the state upholds the laws they enact: through men and women with guns. Politicians, then, must be comfortable with the fact that any rules they pass will at some point be maintained via force, and, yes, violence.

Certain crimes merit that treatment. Consider any number of offenses where the actions of an alleged perpetrator directly endanger or infringe on the rights of those around them: murder, rape, assault, arson, property crimes. The core job of the government as laid out in the Constitution is to protect the citizens from such offenses whenever possible.

Yet the state's purview has grown to encompass much more, charged with stamping out victimless offenses like drug use, prostitution, and one of the newest moral panics: vaping. Lawmakers may disagree with those personal choices—some of which may be deleterious to the health of the individual—but the government must weigh the costs and benefits of armed state agents policing people's habits.

Vaping isn't worth the militaristic approach. As I wrote yesterday, there are plenty of additional costs that come with prohibition. Foremost is that it spurs violence, as people are resigned to black markets and are prohibited from litigating anything in public, allowing organized crime to take flight. The community pays the price.

That hasn't stopped a bipartisan effort to dictate who is allowed to vape and how they're allowed to do it, despite data that show such rules funnel people toward cigarettes—a more dangerous product.

The efficacy of any proposed ban is relevant. More important in the context of this conversation, though, is the collateral damage incurred by enforcement. Take the kids in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, who had their bicycles seized after they were confronted by officers for minor traffic infractions and for failing to register their bikes with the city. One was arrested. Those sorts of interactions damage trust in the police and can turn deadly.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids positions their work as "protect[ing] children and sav[ing] lives." I have no doubt they believe that to be true. But when they use the state as their lever of choice to accomplish that end, then they shouldn't be surprised when law enforcement officers do what they're told: enforce the law.

NEXT: Congress Weighs a Moratorium on Facial Recognition and Biometric Surveillance Technologies

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  1. “There is absolutely no place for violence and abuse in enforcing tobacco laws.”

    So… they actually wrote those words, and organized them into the same sentence?


    1. That is pretty freakin’ rich. I thought the warmunists and the woketaria had reached peak hypocrisy, but this puts it all in one simple little sentence. It would be so much fun to volt jolt their ass every time they tried to explain that sentence.

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    2. And words are violence – – – – – – – – – –

    3. have you seen the latest video out of San Fran thieves just ignore all laws and everyone records them but do nothing

      1. Not sure it was the latest but saw one with a guy on a bicycle loading up a trash bag in aisle 3 and just ride out right past the security guard who made a half ass attempt to stop him.

        Don’t be surprised, when you start hearing about convenience store deserts.

        1. And it will become an example of systemic racism.

      2. I’ve seen that video. It’s simply not true that the bystanders all did nothing but record it.

        The security guard made a half assed grab for the bag of loot as the thief tried to ride past on his bicycle.

        1. And they’ll scream about evil capitalisms when they shut that store down.

      3. URL?

      4. “Doing something” would almost certainly land you in hot water.
        If the store doesn’t care I certainly don’t.

    4. These are people who believe they have never violated a law.

      Or if they have (speeding) they would never consider resisting.

  2. So like mask mandates, lockdowns, and selfie taking at the capitol building, but not riots looting burning and murder by left wing doucebags? Where’s the line libertarians.

    1. For reason writers, somewhere to the left of Karl Marx.

    2. “….murder, rape, assaults, arson, property crimes…..”

      The last two made me chuckle. The first three were ignored in CHAZ. Too funny.

  3. Maybe someone should tell them that all law enforcement is violence?

    1. Maybe someone should tell you that 90% of laws are enforced by 90% of law enforcers without violence.

      1. All laws are enforced with violence or threats of violence. Certainly any encounter with the police includes the threat of violence. Guns on their hips, etc. Even the most benign or benevolent laws are ultimately enforced with, at least, the threat of violence. The law is a hammer not a polite suggestion.

  4. Why is it that the inability to equate Law Enforcement with Force is a distinctly Progressive mindset?

    1. It’s a coping mechanism.

    2. I call it Pharaoh syndrome. You know, like Yul Brynner as Ramses: “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Write the law, problem solved.

      Of course, it’s not just proggies, it’s all politicians.

      1. “Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera…”

  5. Look, all you have to do to avoid the violence is just to do as you’re told. Why is that so hard to understand? If you don’t want to be punished as a murderer, don’t murder anybody. If you don’t want to be punished as a thief, don’t steal shit. If you don’t want to be punished for having your grass 3/4″ too long, don’t let your grass grow 3/4″ too long. If you don’t want to be punished for filling out Form 27B/6 with a blue pen instead of a black pen, don’t fill out Form 27B/6 with a blue pen.

    1. Hey if the government supplies me with black pens at no cost and I’m not required to show a photo ID to get one you might have a point. Otherwise it’s just racist.

    2. The threat to punish is already violence. Just because some violence is justified (threatening to punish murderers, for example), doesn’t mean it’s not violence.

      A legal mandate is meaningless without enforcement. Enforcement means men with guns will show up on your doorstep if you don’t comply. That’s always violence, even if some legal mandates are still a good idea.

    3. “If you don’t want to be eaten, don’t go someplace where someone will eat you!” –Redd Foxx.

    4. If you don’t want to be punished for resisting, willingly climb aboard the train to Dachau.

  6. And The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids can go fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw and I’d be happy to lend them a hand doing it. You hypocritical sons of bitches exclaiming that this is not what you meant and this is not what you wanted and this is not what you intended – fuck you. Take a good hard look at what you got, because you’re the cause of this shit, you’re directly responsible for it. Don’t play innocent now, don’t try to weasel out of the responsibility. You did this, own it you pussy motherfuckers. You caused this to happen and all your “good intentions” don’t mean shit you evil bastards. Fuck! This pisses me off no end that these evil bastards can just wash their hands of the whole thing, there’s not a one of them going to lose a minute of sleep over this, their consciences are clear, they feel self-righteous and smug that they’re on the side of the angels. They’ll just tut-tut and argue that if those poor stupid kids had just done what they were told, none of this would have happened so it’s really the kids’ fault.

    1. Well said. I was going to post something very similar but you saved me the trouble and probably said it better.

    2. Exactly. I might send them an email.

      “You paid for this. You bought this. You own this. It’s yours and no one else’s. Congratulations.”

    3. This is why progressives are America’s most horrible people.

      I think I read that somewhere…… so true.

    4. Preach it, Jerry! Preach it!

      I don’t know who it was in the Libertarian Movement, but someone once proposed this:

      We need to confront anyone who says: ” There Oughtta Be A Law” and ask them: “Are you willing to go door-to-door with a loaded gun and actually enforce this law you want?”

      If they aren’t willing to do this, then they are cowards and immediately deserve insult and scorn! And if they are willing to do this, keep them at two arms length and be ready for them when they come!

    5. Gotta agree, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a tremendous conglomeration of assholes. Possibly the only thing I regret about quitting smoking is that I can no longer light up every time one of their smug, stupid, dishonest commercials comes on the TV.

    6. All “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids” means is that they hate smoking and vaping so everyone must do so also. fuck em and the politicians that write these idiotic laws.

  7. This is the type of article we need to see more of. Make the public understand the correlation between stupid laws and stupid policing.

  8. Because teenagers are so good at following the rules..

  9. That’s what I don’t get with these people. They act like passing laws is just sending social cues and recommendations. They are so out of touch with the reality of what they’re doing.

    1. They pass mountains of feelgood legislation and then can’t figure out why the cops are total dicks. C’mon folks, laws don’t enforce themselves.

    2. Thing is if that were what passing laws were about libertarians would have no objection.

  10. Any idiot could have seen this coming. What did they THINK was going to happen?

  11. Stupid laws begets stupid lawbreakers

  12. The Constitution doesn’t say the government is supposed to protect us. That’s what the 2nd amendment is for. The problem isn’t the use of force it’s the initiation of force. Retaliatory force is fine.

    1. CFTFK are a well established group of rent-seekers who have been around for at least the past 30 years since they blamed Joe Camel’s penis nose for getting teens to smoke. You would think that they would have called it a day long ago and especially since you now have to be 21 to buy cigarettes or vapes (something they originally opposed), but no, they and their salaries are too important. So now they act all shocked and outraged when laws they pushed hard to pass are enforced the only way cops know how to enforce them. But I welcome the fact the woke left is now against these idiots, maybe they will succeed in taking them down.

      1. in re: smoking laws the same holds true for all the anti 2nd amendment , anti gun laws making it near impossible to LEGALLY purchase firearms. It has crated a black market for the so called “ghost guns”. banning the components for building guns makes it impossible to track them. The firearms market sells legally manufactured guns and despite the ATFs’ claims they do indeed keep a record of all guns forever. That’s why they don’t want ghost gun components being sold.

    2. Why is retaliatory force fine? Who says?

      I think an equally plausible moral system says you must sacrifice yourself to anyone who wants your shit. The only reason you think it’s written in the fabric of the cosmos is because you think that’s all YOU need.

      1. “To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival; to force him to act against his own judgment, is like forcing him to act against his own sight. Whoever, to whatever purpose or extent, initiates the use of force, is a killer acting on the premise of death in a manner wider than murder: the premise of destroying man’s capacity to live.” – Ayn Rand

        1. So you think a race of intelligent apes that evolved in nature living in a modern technological society only needs one rule to live by?

          1. Yes. The specifics of is an action murder, robbery, theft, etc are merely its consequences or corollaries.

  13. Kind of scratching the bottom of the barrel with this vaping crap, huh?

    Oh no people don’t want kids to vape oh no biggest problem in the world ohh

    Did Big Vape give you a two for one discount? Just keeping the lights on during covid?

    1. So you’re Ok with what happened in Ocean City?

  14. “Take the kids in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, who had their bicycles seized after they were confronted by officers for minor traffic infractions”

    They were riding their bikes in the street against traffic, Billy. They had been warned multiple times that day to stop doing that. By multiple officers. the registration violations were a wrist-slap.

    If you don’t understand why riding your bike against traffic may be a bad thing, please feel free to try it.

    1. If you don’t understand why riding your bike against traffic is self-limiting behavior, go to YouTube and watch bicyclists get run over by motor vehicles.

  15. What seems to be lost on people is the fact that when new laws are enacted, law enforcement is duty-bound to uphold those laws.

    Anytime government is involved, it’s best to remember that good intentions rarely yield good outcomes. This is especially true when new laws are created (New laws = Reduced freedom).

    Nowadays, for whatever reason, people seem to overlook the fact that parents too need to be accountable for teaching their kids about the hazards of tobacco and vaping (And Yes, I am a parent).

    If companies are specifically targeting kids in their advertisements or whatever for these types of products, then focus on that as well.

    Look at alcoholism. It’s been illegal for eons in this country for “minors” to purchase.

    Look at the data (I pulled this from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism):

    Underage Drinking Statistics:
    –In 2019, about 24.6 percent of 14- to 15-year-olds reported having at least one drink.
    –In 2019, 7.0 million young people ages 12 to 20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.

    Here’s the link: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/underage-drinking

    I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be any laws prohibiting the sale of such products to minors, but to sick law enforcement on minors isn’t going the solve the problem either. You’re arresting the victims here.

    I’ll repeat this in a more complete sentence: Each time a new law is created, our freedoms are further diminished.

    1. Much like Kalifornistans anti constitution firearms bans which , when a pistol is added to the legally buy list THREE pistols have to be removed. That same action should be applied to EVERY BILL passed into law and congress MUST remove 3 to 5 laws already on the books. In addition if a passed law affects or is written to protect another law that protected law must be removed.

  16. The anti-tobacco Crusade went off the rails quite some time ago. Not that smoking – or any of its related habits – isn’t a vice. But the mendacity and stupidity of the anti-smokers reached the level previously achieved by the Anti Saloon League back in the 1920’s when the while Secondhand Smoke meme hit.

    These imbeciles don’t simply want people to stop smoking. They want people to stop exactly the way the Crusade thinks they should.

    See y’all in the smokeasies.

    1. I always thought that first-hand smokers were doing everyone a favor by absorbing the bulk of the carcinogens and as long as they did it someplace away from everyone else, it’s all good.

      Really, a law isn’t needed to discourage smoking. Fresh-ground coffee of different roasts and flavors is wildly popular and coffee shops have long prohibited smoking in their establishments due to smoke contamination of the beans’ flavor.

      Likewise, restaurants have good reason to have separate smoking sections or go smoke-free, since smoking is an appetite supressannt and a smoking cook looks very unaesthetic and makes people think they’ll have ashes in their food.

      Also, most apartments prohibit indoor smoking because the tar and nicotine permanently stain the walls and ceilings and the smell absorbs into everything.

      And, finally, any place with fuel or inflammables will always be smoke-free, like it or not.

      A frre society has a place for both smokers and non-smokers, as long they respect each others’ bodily sovereignty and private property rights.

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  18. Someone’s momma always said: “Stupid is as Stupid does”.

  19. Maybe holding folks in solitary without bail for trespassing would be a good example?

  20. I don’t think force was used to enforce vaping laws. Force was used to enforce laws requiring people not to resist law enforcement.

  21. “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids positions their work as “protect[ing] children and sav[ing] lives.” I have no doubt they believe that to be true”

    They don’t truly believe that to be true – it is the excuse they use to hammer away at adult freedoms to both satisfy their neurotic need to control and to get funding

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  25. “Don’t Be Surprised When Stupid Laws Are Maintained With Force”

    Logically they might be considered stupid but not necessarily politically which is probably what counts more !

    Educating politicians is likely to do nothing.
    The “stupidity” argument is basically meant to provide people a “rationale” view of why politicians do what they do !

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