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FYI: Are You OK With The Government Regulating THIS Smoking Device?

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
–Ronald Reagan

If any of you are living under the delusion that our current iteration of government is here to help us, let me put that laughable thought out of its misery. There are individuals and departments that do some good; there’s always that. But on the whole you won’t find much the government isn’t involved in that it doesn’t make worse, or destroy. Health — and everything that surrounds it — is the government’s guiding light, its purpose for being, its Holy Grail.

From the endless public service announcements that wag fingers in our faces to exercise for an hour a day, to an unproven food pyramid that elicits chuckles from nutritionists, to Michelle Obama’s Siberian prison ration dictates — where the hell she gets the authority to do this, no one knows – we are in a constant battle between living our lives unmolested and having to swat away government raptors swooping down on our heads to tear out a chunk of flesh, or crap on our heads.

Today’s target: E-cigarettes (e-cigs).

E-cigs come in various sizes, from your classic cigarette to something that looks like a pocket-sized light saber. They work by vaporizing flavored liquid, thus the name “vaping,” and the liquid usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavoring, and aroma. What you see coming out of the user’s mouth or nose is not smoke. It’s vapor. If you have heated water for a cup of tea or used a humidifier in your home, you have made water vapor. The only difference is the mentioned additives, which don’t affect anyone but the user.

While the concept of vaping is relatively new, a beneficial side effect has emerged: Vaping is helping people quit smoking.

The nicotine delivery system is a harm reduction strategy, found to be 95 percent less harmful than actual cigarettes according to most scientific research. There are only four ingredients — vegetable glycerin, artificial flavor, propylene glycol and nicotine. By comparison, cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, 43 of which are cancer-causing compounds and another 400 are considered toxic.

There’s another benefit. The “second hand” effect is wiped out. What used to tick non-smokers off is no longer an issue. Spend an entire evening in a room full of people vaping, and you come home without the need to run your clothes through the laundry three times.

And the alleged, second hand black lung we all supposedly contracted from our parents, which was not proven? No longer an issue.

So what’s the problem?

The e-cigarette regulations that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled last week pose a grave threat to products that have the potential to dramatically reduce smoking-related disease and death. The most obvious problem for the e-cigarette industry is that manufacturers of vaping equipment and e-liquids must persuade the FDA that allowing their products to remain on the market is “appropriate for the protection of public health”—a challenge that will be prohibitively expensive for all but the biggest companies and may prove impossible even for them. A lawsuit filed this week by Nicopure Labs, which sells e-liquids and vaping hardware, highlights another troubling aspect of the FDA’s regulations: censorship of potentially lifesaving information about e-cigarettes.

“Appropriate for the protection of public health”? Clearly, the FDA is confused. They can’t quite understand the semantic or practical difference between calling e-cigs a novelty, which places them in a different classification and regulation structure, and deeming them a health protection, which requires a subset of stringent qualifications. Those with adequate levels of common sense do not equate e-cigs to kale and a half-marathon, but we do know a good thing when we see it. We all know traditional cigarettes are bad, but when we find something that could aid millions of people in greatly reducing the levels of toxins entering their bodies (and doesn’t cause a public nuisance or annoyance), those purporting to represent us make it virtually impossible to manufacture and use. How stupid, or power hungry, can these people get?

Like the forgotten, waif-like prisoner, etching tally marks with his untrimmed fingernails against his moldy cell wall, Americans can put this down as one of thousands of classic cases that prove our government – one that we created ourselves — is far too large and powerful for its and our own good.

At some point, you have to agree when there are too many laws, we’ll just stop following them.

Image: Courtesy of @:Vaping vs. Smoking | E-Cigarette/Electronic Cigarette/E-Cigs/E-Liquid/Vaping/Cloud Chasing via photopin (license)

Share if you wish the government would stop standing in the way of the free market’s every new idea and development.

Michael Cummings

Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.

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