Thank You for Vaping: Libertarians vs. New York City's E-Cig Ban

Are e-cigs the most important public health breakthrough of our time?

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"[E-cigarettes] are just as important for public health as childhood vaccines, antibiotics, sewer treatment, and water treatment," says anti-smoking activist Bill Godshall of Smokefree Pennsylvania. "And [it's] one of the craziest situations because the public health authorities [want to] ban them."

On April 28, 2014, Reason, the Museum of Sex, and Henley Vaporium co-hosted a party to celebrate how e-cigarettes are saving lives—and to flout a ridiculous new law in New York that bans their use in many public places. (More on that in a moment.)

Vaping at the Museum of Sex ||| Credit: Anthony Collins
Credit: Anthony Collins

E-cigarettes, which are battery-powered devices that replace carcinogenic smoke with water vapor, have proven to be remarkably effective at helping habitual smokers quit tobacco cigarettes. While we don't know yet if e-cigarettes has any long-term adverse health consequences, it's highly unlikely that they're as dangerous as regular smokes.

"[S]imple common sense would tell us that inhaling their ingredients, as compared to inhaling the thousands of chemicals from tobacco combustion (the smoke), is highly likely to be less harmful," writes Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health.

And yet federal regulators are determined to severely limit the use of e-cigarettes. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to block their sale altogether, but a federal judge intervened. On April 24, 2014, the FDA proposed regulations that would require e-cigarettes manufacturers to obtain

Ex-Smoker Amier Carmel ||| Credit: Anthony Collins
Credit: Anthony Collins

the agency's approval for each of their products, a process that Ross estimates could cost over a million dollars and would likely drive the small players (which currently dominate the industry) out of business. This would dramatically curtail the variety of e-cigarettes products on the market, thus limiting the options of smokers looking for an alternative to regular cigarettes.

New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, along with other cities, states, and counties have passed laws banning the use of e-cigarettes in offices, bars, parks, and other public places. These laws make little sense, argues Ross, because "there are no toxins in so-called second-hand vapor." E-cigarettes generally emit no odor, and the vapor they give off rapidly dissipates.

At the stroke of midnight on the evening of the Reason event, the New York City e-cigarettes ban took effect, giving attendees an opportunity to openly flout the law.

Click here to read Jacob Sullum's take on the FDA proposed regulations.

Click here for more photos of the event.

About 3:15.

Shot, produced, and edited by Jim Epstein. Photos by Anthony Collins.

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NEXT: Look Out Crunchy Moms, Arizona State Senator is Targeting Home Births! (Nanny of the Month 4-14)

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  1. Health authorities will not brook a market-driven fix for the tobacco problem.

    1. ^ This

      These fucks could give a shit about health. I quit smoking and went to e-cigs a couple of years ago. No more sore throat, no more cough, I can puff an e-cig and run a mile, no problem.

      I got a co-worker on them, who was a two pack a day smoker, about to lose his job because his BP was through the roof. He thanks me to this day for saving his life.

  2. Are e-cigs the most important public health breakthrough of our time?

    No. Little Chocolate Donuts? is the most important breakthrough.

  3. Wow that brunette in the last pic is one sexy vaper!

    1. Doh! Second-to-last pic 🙂 No fair having pictures continue below the fold!

  4. These fucking assholes need to be put down. Enough already.

  5. New York City is the worst place in America.

    1. Sort of strange that the so-called financial and cultural center of the world appears to defy people who enjoy their personal freedoms.

  6. The philosophy behind banning e-cigs is pretty much the same as preaching abstinence-only sex education. The liberal scolds are just Puritans of a different sort.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking sex for any other reason than procreation but same idea. Facist to the left of me Nazis to the right..

  7. I really don’t understand banning something without conclusive evidence it’s harmful. I’m a former tobacco smoker who switched to electronic cigarettes because the e-liquid of vapor smoking is safer than the thousands of cancer causing chemicals in tobacco cigarettes. This is a fact which no one has yet to prove otherwise. There’s no secondhand smoke. The nicotine in e-liquid is the same as used in nicotine gum paid for by Medicare, and it’s food grade flavorings are propylene glycol based which is rated GRAS by the FDA, “generally regarded as safe” and used in many food products, the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN, and toothpaste. People can stop nicotine addiction with e-cigs if they want to by ordering safe e-liquid from reputable U.S. retailers like http://www.evermoke.com (where I buy) and choosing what nicotine level they want (0mg-24mg, typically), Order less nicotine each time you order to ween yourself off. What in the world is the downside??

  8. I really don’t understand banning something without conclusive evidence it’s harmful. I’m a former tobacco smoker who switched to electronic cigarettes because the e-liquid of vapor smoking is safer than the thousands of cancer causing chemicals in tobacco cigarettes. This is a fact which no one has yet to prove otherwise. There’s no secondhand smoke. The nicotine in e-liquid is the same as used in nicotine gum paid for by Medicare, and it’s food grade flavorings are propylene glycol based which is rated GRAS by the FDA, “generally regarded as safe” and used in many food products, the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN, and toothpaste. People can stop nicotine addiction with e-cigs if they want to by ordering safe e-liquid from reputable U.S. retailers like http://www.eversmoke.com (where I buy) and choosing what nicotine level they want (0mg-24mg, typically), Order less nicotine each time you order to ween yourself off. What in the world is the downside??

  9. people are going to smoke, but fuck those people. Make them go outside at the very least. Nicotine is poison and addictive. You are a moron for getting addicted, you are a wimp for not quitting. Learn to live your life without these things.

    1. Fuck off you slaver piece of shit.

      1. And by the way, nicotine in itself is really no different than caffeine physiologically.

        There have even been studies that show it is great for Parkinson’s and removing some of the side effects of medicines used to treat it. Also, there is evidence that nicotine may prevent Alzheimers.

        1. Actually, I’ll go a bit further. If you have a family history of Alzheimers, pick up vaping, it may save your quality of life as you age.

    2. Water is addictive, and too much is toxic – I suggest you stop ingesting water, forever, right this second.

      1. Water can downright kill you. I suggest we just go all out and ban water.

  10. Guys, vaping looks like smoke, and smoking is bad, mmmkay?

    On a more serious note though, women smoking is sexy. This, combined with the fact that smokers are more likely to fuck you on a first date means I remain a stalwart advocate of smoking in any form. Also tattoos.

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