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OPINION

Nannycrats and Dems Snuff Out Another Perk of Adulthood

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Leave it to a bunch of Democrats from typically liberal states to take aim at healthy alternatives to cigarette smoking. Democrats from California, Illinois, Connecticut, and Colorado have decided that because e-cigarettes vaguely resemble puffing on an actual stick of cancer, they should be the target of heavy regulation and criticism. Instead of embracing a technology that aids in smoking cessation efforts, and greatly reduces health complications associated with traditional “smoking”, these Nannycrats have decided that these non-cigarettes should be the target of ridicule and government regulation. And, of course, it’s all for the “children”.

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According to the Free Beacon:

The “Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act” would authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “determine what constitutes marketing e-cigarettes to children, and would allow the FTC to work with state’s attorneys general to enforce the ban.”

“We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” Democrat Senator from California (but I repeat myself) Barbara Boxer said in a statement. “This bill will help protect our children from an industry that profits from addiction.”

An industry that profits from addiction? What, the Democrat Party wants to keep a monopoly on the market?

Apparently, this collection of Nannycrats from the liberal corners of government-intrusion have decided that ostensibly harmless electronic cigarettes are targeting children… All in the hopes of getting these young kiddies hooked on real cigarettes that are owned by different companies. (Right. But I’m the one that wears a tin-foil hat.) Dick Durbin (D – Chicago Illinois) referenced the “candy flavors” and “glossy celebrity ads” in his charge that e-cigs are directed at youngsters. Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) even went so far as to suggest that e-cigarette companies are stooping to the level of Joe Camel.

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Really? Jenny McCarthy inhaling some water vapor (in an add explicitly directed at adults who want to quit smoking) is the intellectual equivalent of Joe Camel holding a pack of unfiltered-adulthood during a commercial break on Sunday morning cartoon shows? As far as I can tell, there haven’t been any Flintstone cartoons with Barney and Fred puffing away (when they’re supposed to be mowing – those scoundrels) saying “It tastes good – Like a cigarette should!”

I know that I haven’t seen any advertisements featuring men in lab coats and stethoscopes telling me that smoking their brand of e-cig will “soothe” my “T-zone”.


I don’t see any infants explaining to a tobacco hungry consumer base that their mother is too good not to smoke their brand.

There haven’t been any ads asking “Do you inhale?” (With a clear implication that everyone’s doing it!)

The absurdity of comparing reasonably healthy e-cigarettes to a crush-proof box of Camels aside, the Nannycrats seem woefully incapable of making a legitimate case for increased government regulation. In fact, their main point seems to be that electronic alternatives to carcinogen-flavored cigarettes will drive people to smoke the real thing… They’re basically calling e-cigs the “gateway” drug for cancer. Which makes perfect sense… Because it seems pretty obvious that most people would rather stuff their mouths with painfully addictive health risks than a relatively harmless water vapor.

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The truth is that most e-cigarettes are sold as an alternative to smoking “the real thing”. They are being promoted as cessation tools, and safer alternatives for people trying to kick the habit of sucking down a pack of Lucky Strikes each day. And, really, it seems like an effective tool to get smokers off their suicide instalment plans.

After all, with the exception of uber-liberal cities (cough*NewYork*cough) you can smoke e-cigarettes in places where Joe Camel’s favorite product is banned. You want a nice soothing menthol after that steak dinner? Too bad… But here’s a nifty little water vapor pen that looks and tastes kinda like a Newport.

I mean, as attractive as standing in 20 degree weather for 3-6 minutes might seem, I’m willing to bet most smokers would welcome the opportunity to indulge their Mad Men moment of Kool (get it?) indoors. The point is: More restrictions, scorn and risk are generally not reasons to take up a new (and masochistic) habit. Given e-cigarette’s obvious health benefits (when compared to the world of Marlboro Country), doesn’t this seem like a societal transition that health-centric libs should be embracing?

Of course the coalition for the ridicule of healthy smoking-alternatives (I’m not going to charge them for that suggested committee name) has an answer to such obvious criticism: Boxer’s office said there is “no way of knowing” whether e-cigarettes are harmful or not. Right… Kinda like de-regulated marijuana. (Kids: Don’t smoke cigarettes… Just smoke weed.)

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Healthy or not, they are certainly less toxic than a package of full-flavored tar-filled Lucky Strikes. (And let’s face it… How will any e-cig company be able to concoct a slogan better than “It’s Toasted!”?) Oh… And we actually do have a rough idea that cigarette smoke is more toxic than water vapor infused with nicotine. (Um, duh!) A Federal Drug Administration study pointed out that there are roughly nine contaminants in the water vapor of electronic cigarettes. The average tobacco cigarette has around 11,000 contaminants.

With so many smokers making the conversion to e-cigarettes for the obvious health benefit (not to mention the nostalgic ability to “light up” almost anywhere) one would think that the scientific and Nannycratic elements of government would be happy. So why, exactly, aren’t we welcoming a decidedly healthier alternative to Lucky Strikes, Camel Menthols and American Spirits? Shouldn’t such migration into healthier lifestyles be welcomed?

To the big government liberals of DC, it doesn’t seem to matter that an innovative electronic contraption might lead to healthier living… Because it isn’t sanctioned by the Nannycrats who hope to control your life.

So… Vape ‘em if you got ‘em. Before long, you might have to write off another perk of adulthood thanks to big government.

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