Thursday, March 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Should the government regulate e-cigarettes?

By
From page A11 | February 28, 2014 |

Democrats in the U.S. Senate this week introduced a bill that would ban the marketing of electronic cigarettes to minors. “We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

E-cigarettes are a burgeoning trend and growing share of the $40 billion U.S. tobacco market. Virtually unknown five years ago, e-cigarette sales could reach $1.5 billion this year, according to industry groups.

Unlike traditional cigarettes, which burn processed tobacco leaves, e-cigarette users inhale and exhale a nicotine-laced vapor. Critics say fruit- or candy-flavored vapors are designed to appeal to kids.

Should the government regulate or even ban e-cigarettes to protect kids? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the Red-Blue America columnists, weigh in.

Ben Boychuk

Tobacco use – any kind of tobacco use – brings out the Puritan in people who might otherwise espouse a live-and-let-live, “keep-your-laws-off-my-body” philosophy.

For a certain type of busybody, if it looks like a cigarette, smells like a cigarette, tastes like a cigarette, then it must be a cigarette – and therefore it’s rotten, no good, probably deadly, and in desperate demand of government regulation as soon as possible. A half-century of public education warning Americans against smoking’s dangers is bound to do that.

Without question, cigarette smoking is bad for your health. You shouldn’t smoke – even though, despite all of those anti-smoking campaigns, public bans and high taxes, about 18 percent of American adults still smoke.

Fact is, e-cigarettes sort of resemble old-fashioned cigarettes. But they don’t taste like cigarettes – in fact, many former smokers who have turned to e-cigs as a way to help kick their nasty old habit quickly realize that traditional cigarettes taste terrible.

And e-cigarettes don’t smell like cigarettes, either. Vapor isn’t smoke. E-cigarettes don’t produce the same nasty byproducts as cigarettes, such as tar. What little research we have suggests e-cigarettes might emit trace amounts of bad stuff – hardly a cause for panic.

But the anti-smoking movement has too much invested to let a new vice that looks like a despised old one gain too much ground.

Several cities and states have already passed bans on “vaping” in the strange belief that old regulations are good enough for new technology. Now Senate Democrats would summon the ghost of Joe Camel to argue that e-cigarettes are just a high-tech version of the same old cancer sticks, using “the children” once again as human shields for their policy preferences.

Although e-cigarette makers don’t market the devices as a way to quit smoking, that’s how many “vapers” use them. One unintended consequence of regulating e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes may be to discourage people from quitting the more dangerous habit.

Politicians are always in a rush to “do something.” But a little less hyperbole, and a great deal more evidence, would do this debate a world of good.

Joel Mathis

Have e-cigarettes demonstrated enough harm to invite regulation? Probably not yet – the science, as they say, isn’t there yet. From that standpoint, anti-smoking advocates and legislators would be wise to keep their powder dry instead of launching a crusade right away.

But there’s an ancient principle that suggests e-cigs are deserving, at the very least, of some regulatory scrutiny: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. And e-cigarettes – which are designed to emulate the look and feel of regular cigarettes, right down to the glowing battery-powered tips – sure do quack like a duck, don’t they?

What’s more, they even do a duck’s job. (OK, enough of that metaphor.) A cigarette’s function, after all, is to deliver a dose of sweet, stimulating nicotine to the smoker’s bloodstream – which is exactly the same function of the vapor hits produced by e-cigs.

Now the vapor is probably an improvement over smoke, which contains all kinds of cancerous, unhealthy chemicals. Then again: Nicotine tends to be extremely addictive. Authorities quite rightly take a dim view of any product whose primary purpose is to create a bodily craving to use the product again and again. From that standpoint, the need for regulation starts to look compelling.

The case may become more compelling when you consider this: E-cig critics see the devices as toy versions of the real thing – and thus a gateway drug to real cigarettes. Critics will scoff, but it wouldn’t be the first time the tobacco industry has taken a back door to wooing new, younger customers: American society was once awash in candy cigarettes and Joe Camel cartoons designed to lure youngsters into a lifetime of smoking.

Anti-tobacco advocates have been, perhaps, too quick to threaten regulations and possible bans against e-cigarettes. It’s tough to blame them, however. Cigarettes have killed millions of Americans. Better to stop the next needless holocaust in its tracks, before it gets started.

Ben Boychuk ([email protected]) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis ([email protected]) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Website: www.facebook.com/benandjoel.

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Show resilience in the face of adversity

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Students sample industry choices during school career fair

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Real McCoy II Ferry set for maintenance

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville police slate annual awards ceremony

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Limited damage to apartment from carport fire

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Friday concert benefits Families Helping Families

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Vallejo police arrest 4 in connection with 3 killings

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
National Red Cross Month celebrates heroes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Il Fiorello schedules citrus class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Jury convicts ex-con who served as own lawyer

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

Red Carpet Gala to benefit theater foundation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Pet remembrance event set in Vallejo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

 
Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Children in Southern California breathing easier, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Failures by 3 governments preceded homeless man’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Second Los Angeles hospital reports ‘superbug’ infections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California lawmaker pushes child care worker vaccinations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama signs Homeland Security funding bill into law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

House panel issues subpoena for Clinton’s personal emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
A defiant Alabama regains ground against gay marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Microsoft co-founder says he found sunken Japan WWII warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coal mine blast kills at least 24 in war-torn east Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Living

Today in History: March 5, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 5, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 5, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I can’t tell if I still want to be married, or just don’t want to be alone

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

DiCaprio partners with Netflix for series of documentaries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tops MTV Movie Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Glen Campbell children fighting wife’s control of affairs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

 
Posey has 2-run double in Giants’ 9-2 loss to A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Local report: Vanden softball slips by Rodriguez with late run

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Curry shoots Warriors to 102-93 victory over Bucks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Former player Nate Jackson calls for NFL to allow marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Phoenix to install tire barriers before NASCAR visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pirelli sticks with same tire choices for first 4 F1 races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NCAA reports big jump in home runs with new flat-seam ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLS, players agree in principle to 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutors can’t bring up Florida shooting in ex-NFLer case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vikings agree to trade Cassel to Bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Scott opens a season of change at Doral

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘It WAS him': Defense admits Tsarnaev bombed Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
With Peterson’s status in question, Vikings pay a visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL stadium supporters in LA suburb file ballot paperwork

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Alex Johnson, AL batting champ in 1970, dies at age 72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: NFL responsible for Super Bowl seating problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Aaron D. Malave

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Cesar Luis Garcia-Regalado

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Rodolfo Landabora Porquez

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9