Steve Forbes makes some valid points if you care to read them here. Indeed, the FDA is threatening the ban of e-cigs until they’re “proven” safe. Of course that’s ridiculous. I’m sure there is some danger from ingesting nicotine so if our rules in Washington, D.C. want to ban them, I’m sure they’ll find an excuse.
As a Libertarian of course I don’t think there should be any government restrictions on smoking of any kind. You should be allowed to smoke unless you’re on the property of someone who won’t allow it. That includes cigars, cigarettes, marijuana, crack, or anything else.
But the manufactured controversy over e-cigarettes illustrates two more specific things that are wrong with present day Amerika.
The first issue is this insistence by the State to almost immediately ban any new product that comes out in the market that is in some way associated with a drug that is already illegal or restricted in some way.
Someone decided to mix alcohol and caffeine and sell it? Ban it. It could be dangerous. After all people are too stupid to realize you can put vodka in Red Bull. It’s not like someone saw that people were already doing this and decided to meet the demand the way Reese’s combined chocolate and peanut butter right?
Someone’s selling incense made with legal substances that when smoked gives similar effects to marijuana? Ban it. Chuck Schumer will have none of that. Some people claimed that these synthetic marijuana-like concoctions were potentially more harmful than actual marijuana. That may well be the case, but if marijuana weren’t illegal, no one would have invented these things in the first place.
Someone’s selling nicotine in a new way? Ban it. The government hasn’t studied it for ten years and forced manufacturers to pay them for the privilege of allowing them to sell it.
I’m sure in all these cases the more established beer and tobacco companies have lobbied hard for the bans.
The second issue is how people have completely lost perspective and common sense. When governments first began banning smoking in private businesses, we were told it was to protect the health of non-smokers. Adults were free to smoke they said, but they shouldn’t be able to do it indoors where they could make others sick. I am quite suspicious that the dangers of second hand smoke have been exaggerated, but it’s not outrageous to believe that it’s unhealthy to spend a lot of time indoors with people smoking. It doesn’t completely defy common sense. After all you might cough if someone blows smoke in your face. Your eyes might water when you’re in a smoky room. So to save all the strippers and bartenders from lung cancer, our wise overlords had no choice but to ban indoor smoking.
But then they started banning it in parks and sports stadiums. I’m sorry, but you really have to be an idiot to think you’re going to suffer health effects from being in the same park where people might be smoking. It’s outdoors for Christ’s sake! It’s only mildly inconvenient if you’re sitting right next to a smoker and you don’t like the smell. That’s not even an issue in a public park because you can get up and move! This was just about inconveniencing and ostracizing smokers and also handing out tickets to generate more revenue for local governments.
But now e-cigarettes? There is no smoke involved yet “health organizations” want them banned indoors. This defies common sense in almost every way you can look at it. These are tobacco control advocates calling for these bans, but there’s no tobacco involved in e-cigarettes. They cite reports by government agencies to support this ban, but these reports just say they haven’t studied them so they can’t certify them as safe. They don’t offer any evidence that they’re dangerous. These e-cigs don’t give off smoke so there aren’t any “second hand smoke” health effects.
And now the FDA threatens to ban them outright because they might be dangerous, yet anyone who thought about it for 2 seconds would have to conclude that there is about 0% chance that they’re more dangerous than real cigarettes which would of course remain legal!
This whole “controversy” is about the State controlling you and crazed nanny-state zealots who are convinced that no one should be able to enjoy nicotine in any way, even if it’s enjoyed in a way that literally can’t bother anyone else.