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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Government's Dumb War on Vaping

Public health alarmists need to back off.

Tobacco kills 480,000 people a year in the United States. Yet when an innovative alternative that delivers nicotine and eliminates 95 percent of the harm of smoking is available, the wary Food and Drug Administration fails to embrace this revolutionary lifesaving technology. All in the name of the children, of course.

Using e-cigarettes, known as vaping, has been around long enough for respected health authorities to conclude after many studies that it is eminently safer than smoking cigarettes. Britain's Royal College of Physicians called any attempts by public officials to discourage smokers from switching to vaping "unjust, irrational and immoral."

By contrast, in America, the sudden popularity of a new e-cigarette called Juul has people who think they have a right to dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies freaking out. They want to decide how much risk we can take with our own lives. Apparently, the promise of safer nicotine delivery to the 38 million cigarette users in this country—that's after 2 million already quit thanks to vaping—isn't enough.

In a ridiculous twist, as detailed in a recent City Journal article by John Tierney titled "The Corruption of Public Health," public health officials are mounting a disinformation campaign against vaping that threatens to obscure the tremendous health benefits of consuming nicotine without the hundreds of toxins and dozens of carcinogens in cigarettes. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently joined the fight and demanded that the FDA start regulating the industry now—rather than in 2022 as planned—to put a full stop to the "e-cig addiction among New York adolescents." Unfortunately, these demands have sprung the agency into action—for the children.

As it turns out, reducing health risk isn't really the goal of these agencies. The true goal seems to be stopping nicotine consumption, period. This would be funny if it weren't so tragic. First let me state the obvious: It's a preposterous notion that a government that can't efficiently deliver the mail or run trains on time—and is a direct cause of cancer drug shortages—can deliver a risk- and nicotine-free world.

Second, we have learned the hard way that no matter what the government does and no matter how much money it spends, people will still find ways to do and buy the things they want, even if it is detrimental to their health. The failures of the war on drugs and alcohol prohibition are prime examples. Moreover, this type of paternalistic mindset can have dramatic unintended consequences.

Third, Juul has already committed $30 million to fight the underage consumption of its products, which indicates that it takes this issue seriously. Besides, the government has a lot of practice regulating alcohol and tobacco consumption for underage buyers. If it works well enough for those two types of products, why not e-cigarettes? What's so different? Why kill the product altogether as some are pressuring the FDA to do?

Fourth, no one wants teens to vape, but we certainly don't want them to smoke cigarettes and die an agonizing death later in life. As a parent, I tell my children that they shouldn't do either. But the truth is that I know, as do they, that if they are going to do something as stupid as committing so much of their money to that sort of activity, vaping is the way to go.

The bottom line is that government alarmists should back off. The first step is for the FDA to stick to its plan to postpone regulation until 2022 and create a clear pathway for the permanent approval of these products. It would allow the vaping companies time to establish their products as a safer alternative to cigarettes. This kind of permissionless innovation approach gave us the internet and many other lifesaving and growth-producing inventions. This time, it might very well deliver the biggest lifesaving opportunity we have had in some time, as long as the FDA doesn't get in the way.

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  • DajjaI||

    The true goal seems to be stopping nicotine consumption

    No actually, the goal is to create addiction hysteria to justify a police state and institutionalizing everyone either as pusher or helpless victim. Here in CA we have ads with the tag line, "Addiction, it's not just a phase." Actually, yes it is. And even if it's not then at least you'll survive many years safely consuming nicotine.

  • Qsl||

    I don't think it is even that, but official notice to the e-cig market that now is the time for uh, campaign contributions.

    Chuck Schumer especially has proven to be an exquisite whore, and hey, baby needs a new pair of shoes

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "Chuck Schumer especially has proven to be an exquisite whore"

    With exquisite tits.

  • Radioactive||

    and more than a few lobbyist dicks up his ass and in his mouth...

  • BYODB||

    That might be a side goal, but the real point has always been revenue. That is the bottom line. The government already has their preferred solution, now all they need to find is the right justification for people to swallow that solution.

    It's no more complicated than that.

  • Yellow Tony||

    One of my friends used to be a heavy smoker, but now he vapes. It's made his time on Earth a lot better. His health, of course, is the real benefactor, but other aspects of his life have auspiciously changed too. His favorite of those is that he no longer has to hang out with me. (The other is that picking up and banging soccer moms is easier.) This makes sense to me as I did supply him with ridiculously cheap cigarettes. (My other personal business is selling hacked gaming consoles. Thank you God for creating people who are too lazy to read simple as fuck directions.) Still, it hurts. For some reason, not many people like me; so my only friend who's exiting our pleasant relationship has made me quite melancholic. It's like a monkey who's lived all his life enjoying his favorite activities: eating, swinging on branches, raping, masturbating, and chucking heaps of his own shit. But then, he gets fucked over by God and can no longer do most of what he loves, like rubbing one out with his shit-covered hand. This is what I feel right now. Emptiness, a shit covered hand, an existential crisis large enough to make me want to stop posting on the internet. The realization that he wasn't my friend. Just a guy who's buying cigarettes from a bald manlet.

  • albo||

    I think you owe everybody on the thread a $300 fee for being your therapist.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    It's like AC has returned from rehab.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yellow Tony, please at least take solace in the indisputable FACT that Government Almighty LOVES you more than you will know!

    Scienfoology Song… GAWD = Government Almighty's Wrath Delivers

    Government loves me, This I know,
    For the Government tells me so,
    Little ones to GAWD belong,
    We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
    Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
    Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
    And gives me all that I might need!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    DEA, CIA, KGB,
    Our protectors, they will be,
    FBI, TSA, and FDA,
    With us, astride us, in every way!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

  • Longtobefree||

    And let us not forget that it is not necessary to add nicotine to the vaping fluid at all.
    It is vaping, not e-cigarettes.
    As far as that goes, why don't the vapers who are or identify as female start a raging publicity campaign about their 'right to choose'? Or is that just for stopping heartbeats?

  • Rhywun||

    Because vaping looks like smoking and smoking is evil therefore vaping is evil.

  • ||

    I hadn't previously considered it but vaping is awful close to raping and raping is bad too.

  • Radioactive||

    the same is true for dick sucking...notice that similarity did you Chuck?

  • SIV||

    no one wants teens to vape

    I can think of many who do:

    1.Teens who vape

    2. Public health officials who want to regulate, restrict or outlaw vaping for the children

    3. Manufacturers and retailers who sell vaping shit

  • Rhywun||

    You left out

    4. Politicians who want to tax the everloving s--t out of it

  • VinniUSMC||

    It's not "The Government's Dumb War on Vaping". It's the Government(on behalf of the tobacco lobby)'s, dumb war on vaping. It's rent-seeking by big tobacco companies.

  • VinniUSMC||

    To clarify, I'm saying that big tobacco companies want to squash smaller vape shops. Not stop vaping altogether.

  • albo||

    The state can do that, too. PA put a 40 percent tax on vaping that applied to tax to the retailer's existing stock as well as going forward. Bunch of stores closed.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Yeah, the small guys can't handle that. The big companies can absorb that loss in order to increase their future market share.

  • Arcxjo||

    If our legislators can give themselves retroactive pay raises, why can't they pass an ex post facto law?

  • ||

    To clarify, I'm saying that big tobacco companies want to squash smaller vape shops. Not stop vaping altogether.

    Not to entirely rebut your point but a decent chunk of the reason tobacco companies have to seek rent in the first place is because of the government ban hammer.

    I'd bet that if vaping were invented in the 50s and 60s nobody today would be vaping. Either all smoking or not even vaping.

  • BYODB||

    Tobacco companies have to beg in order to continue to exist at all. The government effectively nationalized the whole shebang during the Clinton era.

  • albo||

    Vaping is a target because it looks like smoking, so it must be as bad as smoking.

  • Rhywun||

    How bad it is doesn't even matter. It's all appearances. Because only bums shuffling around downtown smoke anymore.

  • JP88||

    Unrelated: anyone else getting these Planned Parenthood ads on Reason articles saying things like "Don't take away my birth control"?

    Planned Parenthood needs government money so then it can use government money to lobby for more government money and pay for more ads on internet to get support from people to agree they should get more government money.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    This is my most difficult issues because I really really want Progressives to not procreate.

  • Radioactive||

    like the Shakers, the progressives will be no more because eventually no one can virtue signal enough to get laid

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait, what? Ads on this site?
    Oh, yeah, adblocker says 29 ads stopped on this page.
    Seeing ads is a choice. I use an adblocker, and blacklist sites that pop up and ask me to turn it off. They have their business mode, and I have my consumption model.

  • JP88||

    I don't have ad blockers on my work computer. Not sure why I am nervous to install them on here...

  • sarcasmic||

    I install them on my workstations. No admin has ever complained.

  • Ride 'Em||

    If the content guys get their way and net neutrality goes away, I think I will install Pi-Hole on a Raspberry device. It's moto is the black hole of Internet advertising. My guess is that is why the content guys want NN so they can download all those pop ups.

  • Robert||

    What's wrong w teens vaping? Even if there's nicotine in the juice, is it any worse than drinking caffeinated drinks?

  • SIV||

    The only bad thing I can think of is they get hooked on nicotine, the government bans vaping, then they have to smoke to get the same effect.

  • Jerryskids||

    It is well known that a girl who smokes is a girl who'll put out, vaping therefore is only one step removed from pre-marital intercourse and that's what they're really having an attack of the vapors over.

    On a related note - what's the deal with the temporary "tattoos"? Those look like the real thing and it's illegal for teens to get tattoos so how the hell are they allowing those? Or root beer sold in a brown bottle that looks a lot like a beer bottle? Or that "Coke" stuff that comes in a can instead of a cellophane packet? It's all got to go if we want to get serious about protecting the childrenz.

  • Radioactive||

    instead of protecting the childrenz, we should be selling them to arab slavers...and getting top dollar in the bargain

  • VinniUSMC||

    Not really. The big problem with cigarettes isn't nicotine, it's everything else. Nicotine on it's own (as a stimulant, and diluted in vape solutions) is similar to caffeine. The only major concern with liquid nicotine is the concentrated form, which can easily lead to nicotine poisoning (similar to the problems tobacco farmers have if they handle the leaves directly, but magnified by being a concentrated solution). But, even then, the only regulation necessary would be on the handling/storage of concentrated nicotine (which I assume is already a thing?)

  • BYODB||

    Although, factually, you'd need to drink -a lot- of vape fluid to die from nicotine overdose. Like, say, a dozen bottles of the shit or more.

    The pure bottles of nicotine are, of course, a literal poison but so is caffeine. Yet you can buy packets of pure caffeine in sufficient quantity to kill a horse, so I don't know what the problem is with nicotine.

  • sarcasmic||

    The true goal seems to be stopping nicotine consumption, period.

    That's not true. Gum and patches are ok. Vaping is bad because it looks like smoking. Period.

    Five or so years ago I had been a non-smoker for two years, and was introduced to an e-cig. I took a puff for the hell of it. Instantly hooked on the nicotine again. Eventually quite for the second time around the beginning of last year.

    Chantix works. Gave me crazy dreams and terrible gas, but it really helped me quit.

  • BYODB||

    Chantix might 'work', but it's ludicrously dangerous to use for this purpose. The fact that M.D.'s will recommend Chantix over a vape rig is...astoundingly unethical.

    It's sort of like using dynamite to go fishing; sure you'll get a lot of fish but you have a pretty good chance of blowing yourself up too.

  • sarcasmic||

    but it's ludicrously dangerous to use for this purpose.

    How so?

  • MichaelL||

    Unintended consequences of side effects!

  • Radioactive||

    and just what the fuck is wrong with using dynamite for fishing, esp. if proper care is taken with da fuses...

  • NoVaNick||

    Vape companies aren't sending sales reps to their offices and offering them kickbacks if they recommend their patients switch to vaping

  • TSTB||

    I would like to stop nicotine consumption, period. So I did. I encourage others to, too.
    I encourage the government to get control of it's spending addiction, period. That they would even really try to do that is just a pipe dream, so to speak.

  • Boomer||

    Clearly, the vaping industry hasn't figured out who must be paid off yet.

  • SamHell||

    Chantix wasn't working for my wife but it has helped her switch to vaping, thank God.
    The FDA can go fuck themselves with a sharp stick.

  • NoVaNick||

    Chantix is only about 35% effective at best. Never tried it and don't really feel the need

  • Echospinner||

    Juul and the other nicotine vape products come just at the right time.

    They provide a pathway for those smokers who have failed the other options to quit tobacco. I know four lifelong smokers who have gone to juul. It is popular because it delivers the closest thing to a cigarette in terms of taste and the nicotine "hit" and is convenient.

    The company has strict rules. You cannot buy them online or in stores underage without ID. As we all know teens will find a way but overall the health risk/benefit ratio is undeniable. The scientific literature is all there.

  • NoVaNick||

    I bought a Juul kit the other day and it cost $50. Don't know too many teens who have that kind of money, which could explain why they are freaking out-rich kids are doing it-we can't have that!

  • SamHell||

    Come to think of it why isn't there an "addiction crisis" for Caffiene? Isn't Big Bean killing us?

  • DatCrazyMongoose||

    Big Bean IS killing us, but strangely, only if you live in California...

    https://tinyurl.com/ycemervb

  • DamnDirtyApe||

    Isn't really about income from tobacco taxes? If vaping is defined as a "tobacco product", more tax revenue...

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Exactly right. They put taxes on a known addictive product, and now they are horrified that they might lose some of the revenue they thought they were going to get in perpetuity.

  • NoVaNick||

    They could raise taxes on alcohol, which they haven't in 30 years, not saying they should, but it's hypocritical to tax something g just because you think it's icky

  • MoralMorass||

    The same creatures who deride "abstinence-only" sex education seem to believe the approach will magically work for teens and smoking. Fools.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I don't have any idea what you are saying, but it does occur to me that vaping is to smoking what sexbots will be to poking.

  • NoVaNick||

    Nicotine is not so inherently dangerous that it deserves to be treated as an addiction like cocaine or opioids-yet ive noticed that the nannies' message seems to be going in that direction in order to keep up with e-cigs. They can't really say anything worse about them than that nicotine is addictive-yet so too are caffeine and alcohol and many more have died from the latter.

    I quit smoking when I took up vaping 7 years ago and haven't gone back. Am I addicted? Yes! But I can also run 10k races now, and don't smell either.
    Juul is great b the way-even if the teenyboppers like it

  • MichaelL||

    As a physician, I am appalled a the behavior of the "nanny state"! They have no desire to protect the kids that can figure out a safer alternative. I happen to think the danger of vaping juice with nicotine in it, by far, much safer than smoking cigarettes. We limit the access to something that ca help them. It was obvious ti me that children started smoking al kinds of things prior to the age of 12 years old! any of those teens are treating an "addiction". Sadly, when any reasonable person looks at it, understanding that "addiction" requires a harm to oneself, the argument is protecting NO ONE! Limiting the access does nothing to protect the "children". The government, and many parents, are only fooling themselves when they think they are, actually, protecting the kids! They are furthering the power of the powerful corporations they should be intending to harm!

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