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NY Times: We Don’t Really Know About E-Cigs, So Let’s Regulate Them

Written By : William Teach
April 26, 2014

Progressives at their best. It’s for your own good. We’re just trying to help your, to protect you from yourself. Hence the reason Progressivism is called “nice fascism”. Here’s the NY Times Editorial Board

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The rapidly growing electronic-cigarette business would finally be brought under regulatory supervision under long-delayed rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. If the rules go into effect substantially as written, they will lay the foundation to protect the public from devices whose risks and benefits are largely unknown.

So, the risks are largely unknown, but we’re going to regulate them anyhow? Might it not make sense to learn what the risks are, and then initiate some wise regulations? Not just slap on some regulations and hope for the best? I also wonder if the NY Times missed that part of the FDA proposal is to require photo ID for purchase. Isn’t requiring photo ID racist?

Sales of the devices have risen sharply and are poised to skyrocket now that big tobacco companies are entering the market once dominated by small firms. Use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students doubled from 2011 to 2012, calls to poison control centers linked to e-cigarettes have increased sharply, and the number of victims referred to hospitals tripled from 2012 to 2013.

These battery-powered devices turn liquid nicotine into a vapor that the smoker inhales. Proponents say they are much safer than ordinary cigarettes because they don’t contain the tars and toxic chemicals generated by burning tobacco. But regulators say so little is known about e-cigarette use that, as a public health matter, they can’t definitively say the product is safer.

First, I’m not adverse to requiring that purchasers be 18 or older. But, does the FDA have the statutory authority to do that? Nor am I adverse to requiring ID to purchase, much like alcohol. The second part is silly: do the research first, find out the risks, then deal with those risks. Unfortunately, Progressives have this kneejerk reaction to movement in the economy, and feel it is incumbent upon government to regulate. And protect people. Because the government is just here to help.

Some heavy smokers, for example, could actually be deterred from quitting if they used e-cigarettes to satisfy their nicotine craving where smoking was prohibited and then returned to their tobacco habit. Some nonsmokers might become addicted to nicotine after smoking e-cigarettes and move on to regular cigarettes. And young people who smoke only e-cigarettes can still suffer damage to the developing brain. Nobody knows what the net impact of all this would be on the nation’s health. Dozens of studies are underway to find out.

Again, they have no idea, no scientific evidence, studies, just feelings, so, let’s regulate!

The proposed rule is a good, if incomplete, first step. It prohibits sales to children under 18, requires retailers to verify age by photo identification and penalizes those who sell to minors. It restricts vending machine sales to adult-only facilities, and it prohibits free samples.

Hey, they did pay attention. Why is it OK to require photo ID to purchase a product and not to vote?

Some desirable restrictions were not included in the new rule, but they could be added in separate rule-making later. The agency should surely ban flavors and colorful packaging that appeal to youngsters. It should also move judiciously to restrict television marketing on shows watched by young people. And it ought to limit the concentration of nicotine in vapors generated by e-cigarettes.

As I wrote when the FDA announced the proposed regs, they were basic, and I had no problem with them. My view has always been that the government that governs least governs best. There is a need for government, and there are times when they should be involved. Some basic regs are not a bad thing. Of course, the FDA said it was just the start. And the NY Times proves that they want to regulate the industry to death. What’s it to them if people want the fun flavors? That’s part of what makes e-cigs fun, and helps reduce/stop cigarette usage. I love my strawberry/chocolate flavor. And mocha coffee.

It’s not Government’s role to ban flavors. This smacks of the Nanny State. And when Progressives start throwing out “it’s for the kids”, watch out. Finally, it’s interesting that the same NY Times hasn’t taken a stance against the ever expanding “legal” use of marijuana, which, last time I checked, is considered illegal by the federal government. Joseph in the comments

But is it OK for Colorado to allow the sale of marijuana infused cookies, candies and other treats that will be purchased by 21-year-olds, and passed down to much younger kids?

How in the world can you be more concerned about e-cigarettes, which literally are life-savers for so many addicted smokers, than kids eating pot brownies?

Good point. NY Times?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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