The FDA Is Killing Smokers

So says John Stossel:

What other conclusion can we draw when we consider that the FDA now talks about banning electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. It sent threatening letters to manufacturers of the product.

E-cigarettes look like cigarettes, but instead of burning tobacco, they vaporize liquid nicotine when users puff on, or “vape,” them. The resulting aerosol mist satisfies “smokers” without their inhaling tars and the most dangerous of tobacco’s chemicals into their lungs.

What could be wrong with that? Well, the FDA says e-cigarettes contain trace chemicals that “may” be “toxic.”

But most everything “may” be toxic. New York Times science columnist John Tierney writes: “The agency has never presented evidence that the trace amounts actually cause any harm, and it has neglected to mention that similar traces of these chemicals have been found in other FDA-approved products, including nicotine patches and gum. The agency’s methodology and warnings have been lambasted in scientific journals.”

The problem is that Stossel is thinking that the goal of the FDA is to actually protect people from dangerous things, and not simply manipulating people’s behavior. The tobacco prohibitionists disapprove of smoking. The health concerns are mere a facade behind which the moral objection to the practice hides. The health arguments are the justification, not the motivation, for the anti-tobacco people.

And the fight over e-cigarettes lays that bare, I think. E-cigarettes aren’t dangerous – or, at least, aren’t any more dangerous than millions of other products on the market – but that doesn’t really matter to people who think (like the anti-alcohol Temperance Movement before them) that smoking is inherently immoral.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Brent

    This is probably a favor for tobacco companies, too.  Banning their competition and all.  Wonder what that cost.

    • Jamermorrow

      I think you nailed it. That seems to be how business is done now days. 

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Good point.

  • robert108

    Complete horsecrap.  Smokers decide to kill themselves.  If they want to quit, they can just stop, and go through withdrawal.  The bad thing is that they take innocent bystanders with them.

    • Gern Blanston

      Not sure I follow. So the fake cigarettes SHOULD be banned? As for taking innocents with them, I am not convinced. I wil lagree that secondhand smoke aggrivates existing ailements in bystanders, and can be a neusance. I am convinced my parents smoking pushed my common colds into more serious problems like pneumonia and bronchitis (two conditions I repeatedly suffered through as a kid). But I’m not convinced I’m doomed to die from smoking related problems… but I don’t smoke and never have; and I don’t hang out in smoky places.

      • robert108

        I didn’t say anything about the fake cigarettes, I addressed Stossel’s BS about smokers being helpless victims.  Again, they decide to kill themselves with tobacco smoke, so they are to blame for the consequences.  From port’s article, the fake cigs sound like a way to continue the addiction without impacting innocent bystanders, which is beneficial for the bystanders, obviously.
        I don’t buy into the “it’s not that harmful” argument for smoking pollution; no one has the right to force their toxic waste on others, and the degree of toxicity is irrelevant.  The tobacco addicts owe it to the rest of us to seek out places where others aren’t impacted by their addiction.  It’s their responsibility.

    • Demosthenes

      While I hate smoking and breathing it in, I think it should be a smokers choice to do so in reason. Forcing bystanders to live with your vice though is unacceptable.

      Should I be able to use a public space and not breath in your smoke? Yup. Should I be able to go to a bar and not breath in you smoke. Nope. It’s a private business and will cater to it’s patrons. Same with even working as a Server or Bartender ad said bar. You choose were to work.

      It’s a hard line to draw when it comes to smoking and a lot of other vices people may have. I love my beer but it too has seen it’s fair share on innocent bystanders.

      • robert108

        The “bar” argument is a red herring; bars are lowlife places, and everybody knows that.

        • Jamermorrow

          Unlike elitists like yourself who never visit bars. You are such a great American.

          • robert108

            So, in your world, it’s “elitist” to choose not to hang out in bars?  Strange values you have.  It’s really just being intelligent. I have no interest in killing myself with either alcohol or tobacco, and so have no reason to go into bars.

          • maddog

            So your headstone will read……”I don’t cuss drink smoke or chew, or associate with them that do”.  You will be just as dead as those that do.

          • robert108

            Thanks for showing us how intelligent you are.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          So now, in your deranged war on fun, bars are evil too?

          Do you know how much of the American revolution was organized and plotted in bars?

          What do you have against people making choices?

          • robert108

            There you go with your lying smear again, port.  I’m not at war with fun, so that’s a lie; I never said bars are evil, so that’s another lie.  You lie when you try to imply that I’m against choices; I want people to have informed choices when they enter a business, and that includes knowing what’s inside of that business.  What’s your objection to the truth, other than that it refutes your lying smear, port?
            I want non-smokers to have the choice to not have smoke forced on them in public places.  I have smacked you countless times with that truth, and you have no intelligent reply.
            How many revolutions are being organized in bars today?

        • Demosthenes

          While I do know of actual evidence that refutes your statement Robert.

          “bars are lowlife places, and everybody knows that.”

          I could of also chosen any privately owned business that has city mandated smoking policies and not of their own choice.

          So it really is just you using the phrase “red herring” and an actual red herring.

          Back on topic, your evidence that proves bars are lowlife places? data,
          research, anything? I see yet another baseless assumption without zero
          data and zero proof.

          I would wish you try and THINK before you ASSUME.

          Here is the book on how bars and taverns were more than just a place for lowlifes.

          America Walks into a Bar by Christine Sismondo

        • Demosthenes

          While I do know of actual evidence that refutes your statement Robert.

          “bars are lowlife places, and everybody knows that.”

          I could of also chosen any privately owned business that has city mandated smoking policies and not of their own choice.

          So it really is just you using the phrase “red herring” and an actual red herring.

          Back on topic, your evidence that proves bars are lowlife places? data, research, anything? I see yet another baseless assumption without zero data and zero proof.

          I would wish you try and THINK before you ASSUME.

          Here is the book on how bars and taverns were more than just a place for lowlifes, you moronic twit.

          America Walks into a Bar by Christine Sismondo

      • two_amber_lamps

        Agreed…  But I would also say it should be the owner’s choice to make the establishment NON-SMOKING if they see so fit.  Federal, State, and Local mandates on the issue smack of nanny-state edicts.  I would also extend this arguement to a denunciation of the health care bill.  As you say, we make choices, right down to those who chose to work at bars and they assume the risk associated with inhaling smoke.  Why should we all assume the responsibility to pay for the risks associated with cigarette smoking? 

        If the line is drawn to allow the individual to make their own choice and reap the benefit/suffer the consequences of their own actions, that is fair.  Just as bystanders shouldn’t have to deal with second-hand smoke, then they can go to an establishment that doesn’t allow smoking.

        • robert108

          Why not require establishments that contain toxic tobacco waste to post a prominent sign to that effect?  Truth in advertising.

          • two_amber_lamps

            For your average adult the toxic effects of smoking are well documented.  Why is anything more than a No Smoking sign necessary at the establisments where it’s an issue?  I don’t believe it needs to be any more onerous than this.

          • robert108

            Since when is it “onerous” to tell the truth?  If a food product contains toxic substances, it’s only good sense to put that on the label.

          • two_amber_lamps

            Onerous is the leftist ad nauseum repetition of “smoking is bad” requirements they seek to require in everything.  Do we have to post signs at 100 foot intervals along roads telling pedestrians that jumping in front of buses is hazardous to your health and enumerate the reasons it is so?

          • robert108

            I don’t know what strange trip you are on, but I’m talking about telling the truth about what goes on inside your business, so that people can make an informed choice.  What do you have against that?

          • Thresherman

            Perhaps we should require Rob to post a sign next to your posts warning people that reading them could lead to massive face palm.

          • cherz1967

            If there were truth in advertising you’d have to wear a dunce cap.

  • borborygmi

    Answering your first question, ” Must everything be toxic”.  Everything is taken in quantities.
     
    This does smack of tobacco lobbying.   Thanks to lobbying from the potato industry, and the frozen pizza industry, french fried potatoes are a healthy choice and tomato sauce is a vegetable.  Why that has some merit, it smacks Reagan wanting ketchup counted as a vegetable. 

    • robert108

      What is ketchup in your world? Since the time when you lefties tried to find anything to justify your hatred of President Reagan, tomato products have been found to have many positive qualities, including antioxidant and anticancer properties. So, if you don’t think it’s a vegetable, what is it?

    • two_amber_lamps
  • Davoarid

    The first two sentences of Stossel’s article:

    The FDA Kills Smokers
    Banning e-cigarettes won’t save lives.

    One does not follow from the other.

    • robert108

      Not only that, but Stossel unconsciously admits that smoking is deadly, which is usually an ideological no-no for “libertarians” these days.  They deny that tobacco is toxic.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        I don’t think I’ve ever argued that tobacco isn’t unhealthy.  It is.  I think the impact of second hand smoke on people’s health as been overblown – and certainly you’re prone to hyperbole on the subject of tobacco – and of course it’s unhealthy.

        It causes cancer.  This is beyond dispute.

        It’s just that, unlike you, I believe in the freedom of people to choose.  Private property owners can choose to allow smoking if they want.  Smokers can choose to smoke if they want.

        Prohibitionists like you are un-American.

        • robert108

          Again with the lying smear.  I have used no hyperbole about tobacco waste; in fact I have refrained from listing all the harm done by it.  Whether you want to minimize those facts is up to you, but you have no right to impose that crap on any non-smoker.  You lie about wanting choice, since you deny the rights of non-smokers to make their choice.
          I have repeatedly smacked you with the truth that my issue is PUBLIC smoking, but you always try to distract with your “private property” red herring.
          It is you who wish to prohibit the rights of non-smokers, port.
          You have argued that tobacco isn’t unhealthy, in order to defend your scofflaw ideology.
          Too bad you can’t seem to argue the facts.

          • Davoarid

            Rob’s inability to view issues without his LEFT vs RIGHT blinders is killing him here.

            This is about what kind of society we want–is it beneficial to discourage tobacco use?. This “butwhataboutcapitalismmmmmm” is just a distraction.

          • Lordpatrickhenry

            Accidentally liked you.  I think the fact you categorize everyone and everything in groups to be judged shows massive attribution error.  When one man dictates what is right and wrong in subjective matters, he is a dictator.

        • Davoarid

          Many societies feel it’s wrong to encourage people to smoke, or even to tacitly accept it by allowing smoking in restaurants and bars. If the good people of Lincoln Nebraska get sick and tired of watching their neighbors die of lung cancer, and respond by approving a measure prohibiting the smoking of cigarettes in restaurants, how does FREE MARKET CAPITALISM say that their desires can be thwarted by a single business owner?

          Or let’s stick closer to home. Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together–North Dakotans believe it’s important to encourage that. So, in their wisdom, they voted to close all  liquor stores on Thanksgiving Day.

          FREE MARKET CAPITALISM says ONLY that the question “Should liquor stores be open on Thanksgiving?” is up to the public to decide.That’s it. It does not say that EVERYONE CAN BUY OR SELL WHATEVER THEY WANT. If it did, you could buy meth and pedophilic porn with your Lucky Charms.

          • JustRuss

            The community imposing it’s will on a business owner is not FREE MARKET CAPITALISM, it is tyranny of the majority, it is the reason the US is a Representative Republic not a Democracy.  In the free market you make fun of, smokers go to a smoking restaurant and get sick and die. When all the smokers die or the larger percentage of people who don’t smoke stop going to it, Hardee’s goes out of business.

          • Davoarid

            In North Dakota, you can’t buy methamphetamines at a gas station, you can’t open a strip club next to an elementary school, you can’t buy child porn at a bookstore, and you can’t open a cigar bar.

            Under *your* FREE MARKET CAPITALISM, all these things would be legal, and the market would decide how popular they became.

            But in America, communities can decide that they want to keep harmful businesses closed, or disallow harmful products or ban harmful activities.. And they do.

          • Lordpatrickhenry

            The problem is that the majority takes it to the next level, and bans things out of a small difference in opinion rather than ethics.  is it ok that because say 50-60 percent of north dakotans wanted liquor stores closed, the rest that want it open don’t get to have it so?  If that was true, taking over the country would be as easy as getting everyone under your thumb without them noticing using, say, obfuscating political disputes from two sides?

        • cherz1967

          Smoking cigerettes does not cause cancer.  This has not been proven.  The surgeon general warning says smoking cigerettes “MAY” cause cancer.  The proved it causes cancer like they proved carbon dioxide causes globel warming.

  • headward

    This sounds like the government is upset about not being able to receive the tax revenue like they with tobacco.

    These e-cigs are not using of tobacco so now the government can’t control where you use them.  I think not being in control is driving them nuts.

  • Thetoasteerobe

    So ban the electronic cigarettes, but not the real cigarettes huh? Don’t ban the patch, Chantix or gum but ban the one thing that people will more than likely use to actually quit. Why would the government want that? They say yes ban the electronic cigarette because we care for the public, yet lets keep real cigarettes out there. Let’s tax the heck outta those and charge people with felonies if they take cigarettes over state lines and make even more money that way. It’s just…please! http://www.Toasteerobe.com

  • JustRuss

    The vapor in an e-cig is basically nicotine laced Fog Machine.  Are they going to ban fog machines next? Source:  I use e-cigs from time to time, several brands, some are better than others, none as “good” as a real cigarette but I feel so much healthier and don’t smell like smoke.

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