Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Should the government regulate e-cigarettes?

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 (bboychuk@city-journal.org) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) 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

Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

 
Vacaville man to stand trial for baseball bat attack

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

 
Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 19 Comments | Gallery

Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 7 Comments

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Mystery of Ukraine’s anti-Semitic pamphlet

By Frida Ghitis | From Page: A13

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 4 Comments

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7