Why is government criminalizing electronic cigarettes?

Since the 1960’s there has been a Surgeon General’s warning on every package of tobacco cigarettes sold in America.  Along with that warning came a government tax that became heftier throughout the years.

Over the years, city and state governments seeking funding for their pet project began raising taxes on tobacco products, claiming that they needed the revenue to pay for the health care of those who contracted lung and other diseases related to cigarette smoking.  By the year 2000, those who smoked traditional tobacco products were ostracized and relegated to standing outside of restaurants, bars and office buildings if they wanted to smoke.

Over time we learned that for most, smoking was an addiction. Something they were compelled to do because they suffered from a disease.  Even though the medical community explained this addiction and introduced various cessation devices to help people wean off tobacco, our government continued to raise taxes on tobacco products, in essence, forcing people to pay more because they were suffering from a disease.

Some believe it was a good idea for our government to raise taxes on tobacco products because it may have forced some people to seek help to quit – but what doesn’t make sense is the fact that at the same time our government was raising taxes on tobacco, it was also denying inventors who filed patents for E-Cigs permission to study whether or not the product would help those addicted to smoking to quit the habit.

This makes us suspicious because thanks to well-placed, government sponsored advertising campaigns, laws were adopted that made criminals out of anyone who smoked a cigarette in a public space.  Even though the medical community declared that smoking was an addiction, taxes on tobacco products were being raised at an alarming rate until the person suffering from the addiction was paying more in taxes than the cost of making the product.  Worse yet, FDA approved cessation products were not very successful in getting smokers to quit.  Around 2008, E-Cigs hit the American market in earnest and people who were desperate to stop smoking because the cost of tobacco was prohibitive began using the device.  Smokers who tried and failed to quit over and again, began finding success with E-Cigs.  As the popularity of the device began to grow, the FDA and medical community decided to issue warnings that it didn’t know if the product was safe.  That didn’t stop droves of people who were formerly addicted to tobacco products from switching to E-Cigs.  As more people found success in battling their addiction to tobacco products using E-Cigs, incidents of lung cancer and heart disease began to drop.  You would think that the anecdotal correlation between the use of E-Cigs and people quitting tobacco would be a good reason for the FDA to begin an earnest and positive study into the product.  Instead the FDA and medical community decided to condemn the product stating, “there wasn’t enough information” to know whether electronic cigarettes were harmful.  Soon local governments began criminalizing people who used E-Cigs in public – relegating those who successfully battled their addiction to stand with tobacco smokers and inhale second hand smoke if they wanted to use their device.  Even now, almost a decade later, when the number of people who stopped smoking tobacco thanks to E-Cigs is rising and the number of teenagers who are smoking tobacco products is dropping, the FDA has decided to state that there “may be” evidence that E-Cigs are bad because their use is increasing even among teenagers.  Well, before E-Cigs and vaping, teenagers were smoking tobacco which we know is damaging.  Since there is no evidence that vaping is harmful to one’s health, common sense would dictate that its use be allowed until there is evidence to the contrary -which there won’t likely be because as E-Cig use increased, incidents of lung cancer dropped by more than 2% across the board. Could it be that our government doesn’t want to sanction a product that actually helps people stop smoking because if they do, they will lose billions of tax dollars each year?  How many people would be alive today if the FDA allowed the E-Cig to be studied in the 1990’s?  Something to think about.

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