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

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

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?

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5 Responses to “NY Times: We Don’t Really Know About E-Cigs, So Let’s Regulate Them”

  1. Jeffery says:

    From your citation, the regulations:

    a. prohibit sales to children under 18,
    b. require retailers to verify age by photo identification, c. penalize those who sell to minors,
    d. restrict vending machine sales to adult-only facilities, e. prohibit free samples.

    Do you oppose any of the above requirements?

    Desirable restrictions not included in the new rule could:
    a. ban flavors and colorful packaging that appeal to youngsters,
    b. restrict television marketing on shows watched by young people,
    c. limit the concentration of nicotine in vapors generated by e-cigarettes.

    What we do know is that:

    1. Nicotine is highly addictive
    2. Tobacco, which kills over 400,000 Americans every year, contains nicotine, which is why cigarettes are so addictive.
    3. Nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigs are offered in a wide variety of flavors targeting children – bubblegum, grape, chocolate, peppermint etc

    What we don’t know yet is whether e-cigs increase or reduce the number of tobacco users. This is an important point, since children are involved. It’s well established that to increase the nicotine market, sellers must create new addicts – and since few new smokers are recruited as adults, sellers target children and young adults. If e-cig sellers obtain all their customers from current smokers – great! But if even a small percentage of newly nicotine-addicted switch to tobacco cigarettes it’s a net negative.

    In the US, there is no inherent right to sell whatever you want to whomever you want without satisfying societal constraints. Are you against business licenses?

    Are you really suggesting that we give e-cig sellers open access to our children until all the questions are answered?

    Do you believe the FDA requirements for ethical drug development are too burdensome? Companies are NOT allowed to market drugs without first undergoing several years of non-clinical and clinical safety testing (currently, total cost of development ~ $1.3 BILLION per drug). These potential drugs, which promise to mitigate disease, are regulated BEFORE everything is known about them. Do you recommend that drug sellers be allowed to market first and use the US population as guinea pigs? That’s what you’re recommending for these nicotine atomizers. Do you support citizens being able to sue the sellers for damages if their product results in harm or do you want to limit the citizens ability for redress?

    And no, requiring an ID for proof of age for purchasing an addictive and potentially lethal drug is not racist. I know you’re asking the silly question in light of Republican voter suppression efforts but you’re conflating a fundamental right, voting, with protecting our children from buying drugs. We require government photo ID for boarding airplanes, for driving autos and for pseudoephedrine – privileges, not rights.

    You typed: “As I wrote when the FDA announced the proposed regs, they were basic, and I had no problem with them.”

    So you’re whining about regulations you fully agree with because you want to let fly at government? Jeez.

    When pundits start quoting commenters from other blogs to make a point, look out. Does Colorado regulate marijuana? Yes. In fact, it’s much more regulated than the most onerous e-cig regs proposed (possessing 6 oz pot can get 1 1/2 yrs in jail!). Wouldn’t you be going nuts if you could go to prison for having a liter of nicotine concentrate! Possessing pot in Colorado is illegal for those under 21. Tobacco kills 400,000 each year; marijuana kills 0.

    Do you have any financial interests in e-cig manufacturing or sales that might bias your punditry?

  2. john says:

    Until the dangers are known Teach do you think kids should be able to use them ?
    And “racism” really after rightwing hero Cliven Bundy’s rant maybe that is something best left unsaid.

  3. Wait, you support requiring ID, Jeff? You racist!

  4. jl says:

    “Republican voter suppression efforts.” Well, there’s more whites than blacks or Hispanics, so therefore according to your “logic” Republicans must be suppressing white voters more than the others. Because, you know, whatever voting mechanism that is put in place pertains to everyone, not just minorities. Or, are you just a racist who believes minorities can’t do what whites can do?

  5. Jeffery says:

    No, I’m just an old man who’s tired of the Republic efforts to suppress the vote of those more likely to vote for Democrats…

    Study Finds Voter ID Laws Hurt Young Minorities


    Why Do Many Minorities Lack ID?


    STUDY: Photo ID Laws Place Substantial Burdens On Low-Income And Minority Voters


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