The next ban... e-cigarettes

As we all know, the government is very interested and actively engaged in stopping people from smoking cigarettes. (Insert pause here.)

Okay… now that I’ve given you all time to stop laughing, we can give a brief nod to the fact that government at all levels in the United States has virtually zero interest in stopping people from smoking. They have a vast, vested interest in looking like they disapprove of smoking, while keeping it legal and taxing the living heck out of it at every level. This leads to all manner of economic and law enforcement problems, but still manages to stack a few extra coins in their coffers and avoids the embarrassing problem of having tens of thousands of additional people suddenly out of work.


But a deal was cut at one point – more on that below – which might allow manufacturers to transition to other tobacco based products which were not smoked, This led to the e-cigarette. (Disclosure: I’ve never tried this product.) But it looks like the government wants to shut this menace down as well.

As the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] is poised to issue new rules governing e-cigarettes, a new study has found some 22 potentially dangerous chemical elements in the vapor given off or inhaled.

These include many metallic particles – including 3 on the FDA’s “harmful and potentially harmful chemicals” list [lead, nickel, and chromium] – with the concentrations of 9 “higher than or equal to the corresponding concentrations in conventional cigarette smoke,” notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has been called “the law professor who masterminded litigation against the tobacco industry.”

That’s bad news for people in the industry who thought that the government would give them a bit of running room to make such a shift, as reported by Forbes.

Several years ago, the federal government entered into a Faustian bargain with the tobacco industry — and the cigarette makers with the government. It was legislation borne of mutual antipathy.

Under the scheme, Washington brought the tobacco industry under the thumb of federal regulation. FDA now oversees everything from the way cigarettes are marketed, to the manner in which they are made. In exchange, the tobacco industry was promised a regulatory track out of their current (declining) business model…

It always seemed a naïve aspiration — that FDA would ever sanction such products – and even more uncertain that the anti-tobacco crowd would let this paradigm advance. Now, each side’s ambitions (and the law’s spirit) are being tested.


In short, the government is looking to ban – or at least heavily restrict – the use of these new e-cigarettes which deliver the drug (nicotine) without all the other harmful trash generally associated with the burning plant fiber bi-products. Social engineers the world over are already on board with this plan, including schemes at the World Health Organization to try to ban – or more likely tax heavily – it at an international level.

I’m sure there is a point to be made about any smokeless tobacco product being sold to children, but what about adults? I suppose the assumption here is that e-cigarettes might just be an unholy plan to addict non-smokers to nicotine and lure them into smoked products, but in the end that just winds up generating more tax revenue. So where is the profit motive for the government in this one?

Have any of you actually tried one of these electronic cigarettes? The practice doesn’t involve spitting like chew or wads in the cheek like other packaged products. Should the government be wading into this?

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