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Stossel: Let Them Vape

Vaping may not be safe, but it's a lot safer than cigarettes.

Our government says e-cigarettes and vaping are the latest "epidemic" among teens. So the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will restrict them. Cities across the country are banning e-cigarette use in public.

But e-cigarettes help smokers quit traditional cigarettes. Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute tells John Stossel that people have misconceptions about e-cigarettes. "It's about 95 percent less harmful than a normal traditional cigarette," she says.

That's because e-cigarettes let people get a hit of nicotine without actually burning tobacco. The burning of paper and tobacco leaves is what makes cigarettes so dangerous.

Minton admits that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive. But "on the spectrum of drugs that you can become addicted to, nicotine and caffeine are very similar to each other."

The Surgeon General says there are other health risks to vaping: "Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients."

Despite the dangers, researchers seem to agree that e-cigarettes are substantially less dangerous than combustible cigarettes.

Other studies concluded that long-term e-cigarette use is "associated with substantially reduced levels of measured carcinogens and toxicants relative to cigarette-only smoking."

Nevertheless, the FDA threatens to crack down to discourage kids from using e-cigarettes.

Minton says that is a bad idea: "Do we want children to become addicted to anything? No....But keeping a small percent of teenagers from trying e-cigarettes is not worth sacrificing adults whose lives could be saved."

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Traditional smokes never explode in your face.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Castro demonstrated that point, with help from the CIA, but there are reports of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    You apparently never ordered things from the back pages of comic books back in the day...

  • Hank Phillips||

    Hey! It's hard enough to find peyote-flavored toothpaste these days. And its been ages since I saw a dribble works.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Beat me to it.

  • Entelechy||

    Except in Indonesia, where cloves in Kreteks can erupt like Krakatoa

    Stossel is 21 years behind the times in calling for < a href="https://tinyurl.com/ya6lujdo">less hazardous ways to inhale nicotine, wintess this 1997 Forbes article:

    https://tinyurl.com/ya6lujdo

  • vek||

    That's an interesting blast from the past!

    I never really thought about trying to make ACTUAL cigarettes safer, other than the possibility that additive free tobacco might MAYBE be less bad than the chemical laden stuff. That article did make me wonder if there might be such ways, such as uber high tech filters, or some positive chemical additives or something.

  • spork||

    If you fall asleep with a vape in your hand, it doesn't set the house on fire and kill your family.

  • BYODB||

    I'm amazed at the people who, even though they do not really understand electronics, go and modify lithium batteries they are going to put inches away from their own face for hours every day.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Conservathieves are sooo sensitive, concerned and aware when the urge to prohibit hits (every other minute). Yet when was the last time one of these sanctimonious joiks mentioned the polonium-210 the tobacco plant selectively accumulates, then transfers to lung tissue and redneck gums?

  • BYODB||

    If you didn't know, and I'm assuming from your unhinged comment that you don't, lithium batteries are not what you would call 'stable' and messing about with the unit can become explosive or, maybe worse, a serious fire hazard. Putting that near your face with amateur modifications is playing Russian Roulette.

    And, for what's it's worth, I don't think the polonium in tobacco is going to be any worse for you than the cyanide.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Only for fun. You've never heard of cigarette loads?

  • NoVaNick||

    Smoking/vaping restrictions never were about protecting health-they have always been about the prog elites exerting their control over something they disapprove of.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I gather there are some ostensible adults in the United States who don't object to minors using chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes, or drinking Four Loko in schools, either, but I do not respect their judgment.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Yes, but your 'respect' is worthless to all and sundry.
    Fortunately, no one consults you for your assessment.

  • vek||

    How do you feel about fat people Art?

    Because YOU DO KNOW that being just a couple dozen pounds overweight will kill you faster than smoking right?

    So a proper weight, or skinny, smoker will live a longer and healthier life than a guy with a big gut, or a fat broad with thunder thighs. So sayeth statistics.

    Should we mandate a state sanctioned diet for these fat fuckers too? I mean, it's all in the name of a worthy goal RIGHT?

  • NoVaNick||

    Smoking/vaping restrictions never were about protecting health-they have always been about the prog elites exerting their control over something they disapprove of.

  • NoVaNick||

    Damn squirrels! Anyway, I have been vaping for almost 9 years now and have been able to run 5 mile road races-could barely run a mile back when I used to smoke.

  • vek||

    Yup. HUGE difference when I switched to vaping.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Better ban fog machines at concerts. It's the same thing.

  • ||

    Better ban fog machines at concerts. It's the same thing.

    At ~6 mos. my oldest son started vaping albuterol by doctor's order. Now, he gets up every morning and takes a puff of his inhaler. Really is a 'through the looking glass' perspective on vaping when you can recall having to hold the mask over your infant child's face for their own good.

  • BYODB||

    In fairness, there is a difference between a single puff of an albuterol inhaler vs. vaping all day in terms of exposure and, especially, life time exposure. Not that any of the things you're likely to be exposed to are particularly dangerous, but there isn't something like a century or three of studies on long terms effects of vaping either.

    The conceit that I find ridiculous is that it needs to be banned in public like smoking. I assume no one actually recalls that the reasoning there was that second hand smoke was dangerous, whereas second hand vaping is basically being exposed to fucking water vapor.

  • ||

    In fairness, there is a difference between a single puff of an albuterol inhaler vs. vaping all day in terms of exposure

    At 6 mos. he had to nebulize twice a day for the full dose (~10-15 min.) whether he wanted to or not. Pretty much 2 vape sessions daily with a compound every bit as toxic as nicotine mandated by a doctor to a 6 month old. You could even get the masks in assorted scents/flavors.

  • BYODB||

    A fair enough point about the age and dose in terms of exposure I'd imagine, although in that particular case it's a choice versus possible future harm or no future at all which is also a different set of moral calculus I'd say.

  • vek||

    The funny thing is the 2nd hand smoking evidence is actually, unsurprisingly, quite flimsy if you actually look into it.

    I geeked out some years back and read a bunch of stuff about smoking. In short they took the most extreme potential outcomes, and made it look like minimal exposure created them. At smoking less than half a pack a day, your chances of cancer barely go up a detectable amount from a non smoker. So some people who smoke like 5 smokes a day... Pretty much doesn't matter. Even between half a pack and a full pack isn't THAT big a jump in mortality... It basically 1 pack a day plus where it starts to get to be a pretty real danger. 2nd hand smoke stuff was likewise blown way out of proportion, and not SUPER solid scientifically.

    There are still some civilized states, like Idaho, where you can smoke in bars. Living on the Left Coast my whole life, I often forget half the country is still sane. Which is why I'm moving to THAT part of the country soon.

  • No Time for Fishing||

    2nd hand smoke still stinks obnoxiously. I used to smoke a pack a day and I fully understood how repulsive the smoke and smell was to non-smokers as well as some smokers.

  • vek||

    True enough! When I smoked I pretty much left windows cracked year round in my house, and ran air filters.

    Still no excuse for limiting property owners rights to allow smoking or not though!

  • ||

    Is Michelle Minton studying any other vices? Asking for a friend.

  • IceTrey||

    Nicotine is very bad on it's own. It causes high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

  • ||

    Nicotine is very bad on it's own. It causes high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

    The second statement is bordering on a lie. When smoked, it's associated with high BP and atherosclerosis (not necessarily causally), by itself the evidence of either is shaky and the correlation to heart disease is questionable. And this isn't drawn from relatively small, short term vaping studies. It's long been known that snuff and chew are far better for you cardiovasularly, to the point of being innocuous (cardiovascularly), than smoking.

    Even at that, there's way worse stuff that's completely legal to buy and consume that we generally allow in our food supply.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Minton admits that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive. But "on the spectrum of drugs that you can become addicted to, nicotine and caffeine are very similar to each other."

    Next up on the ban parade: caffeine. Sadly, I'm probably not wrong about that either. These people are neo-puritans, completely haunted by the idea that someone, somewhere is doing something enjoyable that they disapprove of.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    When everybody is unhappy they will finally feel accepted for who they are.

  • ||

    Next up on the ban parade: caffeine.

    While I'm not supporting them on this particular cause, I certainly sympathize. When I hear things like "The drugs made me do it." caffeine (and amphetamines) are the only drugs that I really get a sense of being able to motivate people do do something.

    "Widespread caffeine use explains a lot about the twentieth century." - Greg Egan

  • BYODB||

    If they ban coffee, it's war for me and mine.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "completely haunted by the idea that someone, somewhere is doing something enjoyable that they disapprove of."

    And they disapprove of anything and everything that anyone, anywhere might find remotely enjoyable or even marginally amusing.

  • vek||

    What really blows my mind is that they're simultaneously pushing tons of bad for outcomes, degenerate behavior... Also pushing marijuana (which I don't think is terribly bad if you're not a loser pot head)... All while continuing to get even MORE puritanical about other random shit.

    It just makes no sense. I mean I know the lefties don't use logic... But come on! Freaking out about vaping, while fighting to legalize the Devil Weed... THAT should even be able to sink into their thick skulls!

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    We need the tax money, so it must be unhealthy or something like that.

  • Jerry B.||

    You'd have thought the tobacco industry would have lost some influence over the government and the media, but looks like not so much.

  • Uncle Jay||

    No nanny in their right mind would allow tobacco of any sort to be used by the untermenschen.
    While we're at it, we should also ban booze and marijuana since banning those items have worked out so well.
    Next up: Banning private ownership of guns.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Hank Phillips||

    A lawyer I hired injected anti-vaping bans in a home lease agreement. First I explained that I would not be party to nazi micromanagement of other people's lives for pseudoscience or superstition. I also explained that tenants with self-respect (the kind I want) would fling it back in his face, and the guy almost started crying. "But... it's a tool!" he blurted. "Why would you throw away a tool?" I accepted his resignation. Thank you Stossel for another damn good article.

  • Pastor Arthur M. Kirkland||

    Stossel's another Faux News fascist trying to reinvent himself as a libertarian. But my eyes are wide the fuck open. All of these small-government white guys are the same: they talk a big talk, but they're fine with an Orange Nazi insulting his way into the White House and using the presidency to terrorize Americans of color. Pathetic.

    Someone should tell Johnny Boy that Hitler called. And he wants his mustache back.

  • spork||

    You disgust me.

  • vek||

    Well, at least this parody sock uses curse words! The real Art isn't even cool enough to drop F bombs!

  • Rockabilly||

    ProgCommunists says The Vape is Bad, but what's their opinion on The Bong?

  • Robert||

    Had vaping been a "thing" in the 1970s, we'd've never seen this sort of problem. Nicotine wasn't a bugaboo then; people looking like they were smoking wasn't one either.There might've been concern that people would vape cannabis or narcotics or cocaine, but it wouldn't've been enough to arous widespread concern about vaping generally.

  • vek||

    It never occurred to me people could infuse vape juice with coke or other stuff... I wonder if people are doing that. Obviously there's plenty with THC. That sure would a sneaky ass way for coke addled Wall Street guys to keep themselves lit during the day!

  • Curmudgeon44||

    Smoking has certainly been established to be "bad", in that it causes a whole host of health problems. There is a whole witch's brew of assorted chemicals, some combination of which causes cancer in about 1/3 of the smokers over a lifetime.

    But nicotine? Has the world lost so much knowledge that they think nicotine is the problem? I remember a book titled Consumer Reports Guide to Licit and Illicit Drugs, in which they helpfully suggested we develop a HIGH nicotine cigarette so that people could get their drug with less exposure to the bad things in smoke.

  • IceTrey||

    50 mg will kill you. It's a vasoconstrictor so it increases blood pressure and strains the heart. It also releases fat and cholesterol which causes hardening of the arteries.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Um, no. LD 50 for nicotine from actual lab testing in rats is 50mg per kg of body mass.

    There is at least one case of a failed (survival of a) suicide attempt by ingesting 4 grams (not miligrams) of pure nicotine.

    And in people specifically:


    The literature reports on fatal nicotine intoxications suggest that the lower limit of lethal nicotine blood concentrations is about 2 mg/L, corresponding to 4 mg/L plasma, a concentration that is around 20-fold higher than that caused by intake of 60 mg nicotine.

    Which, applying an average human mass of around 80 kg, yields an LD of at least 15 mg per kg of body weight.

  • vek||

    Well that was one of the dumb things about light cigs... They generally reduced the nicotine, and did other things to make them taste less strong... But you were still taking in pretty much just as much of all the bad stuff, and often people wanted to smoke more of them. If they'd made them have more nicotine than regular ones, it probably would have had the opposite effect.

    But idiots gon' idiot I guess.

  • Darwin||

    No discussion of the multiple established health benefits of nicotine? Why is it tobacco products are discussed only in terms of their negative side effects? What drug could survive that perspective?

  • vek||

    ZOMG Stossel wants to LITERALLY KILL CHILDREN!!!

    I hate these crazy progs. I hope there's some kind of a deadly contamination of the Soy Milk in the USA or something and 50 million of these tools drop dead in a week. The country would be SUCH a better place if they simply ceased to exist.

  • No Time for Fishing||

    Soy Milk is the fast path to being a girly boy.

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