Sorry, Uncle Sam: E-cigarettes just aren't that bad
I smoke a pipe. There is no wise argument for smoking. It's merely a self-destructive choice that adults in free society are able to select. We all get to die some day regardless. As for the stupidity aspect, it puts smokers right down there with Twain, Kipling, C.S. Lewis, Einstein, and MacArthur.
Since governments continue to restrict smoking, a couple years ago, I purchased an e-cigarette to satisfy my addiction where smoking is prohibited. After four days, my smoker's cough all but vanished, and it felt as though my lung capacity had doubled.
Authorities have been attempting to regulate e-cigarettes for the better part of a decade without success. The ingredients that constitute the vaporizer liquid are also in food and cosmetics. They can't jackboot the vaping industry without stamping upon thousands of other products they can't justify.
The base chemical that produces the vapor is glycerin – whether it's vegetable glycerin (V.G.) or propylene glycol (P.G. – food-grade P.G. is not the same as the antifreeze in your car).
I discovered that P.G.-based juices make me cough worse than tobacco, while V.G. juices seem to clear my lungs out. None of the vaping shops in my town carry P.G.-free juices, so I order mine online from an outfit that uses only American-made ingredients and provides a substantial discount to veterans.
Well, I used to. Not anymore. Here in Indiana, a law (HEA 1432) was passed that any e-juice sold in the state must be approved through a security company as of July 1, 2016. My American-made, veteran-honoring manufacturer of choice isn't on the approved list. So, late in June, I ordered a year's worth.
It's a strange law even by Indiana standards. If it's a health issue, why is a security firm involved? Are there suspected links with the industry to ISIS or North Korea? And not just any security company – according to the wording of the law, there's only one company on the face of the planet qualified to approve the products.
Coincidently, one of the law's sponsors is the state senator from that company's district. Does that sound like a coincidence to you? Apparently it doesn't to the FBI. According to an article in the Lafayette Journal and Courier:
Indiana lawmakers — including state Sen. Ron Alting of Lafayette, who sponsored the bill — now are reconsidering the law, saying they want to revisit the issue. It also has caught the attention of the FBI, which IndyStar reported is investigating lawmakers for possible foul play in its adoption.
E-cigarettes are a godsend to smokers. They can satisfy our foolish habit without producing the dreaded secondhand smoke, attendant yellow fingers, and brown teeth. Vaping is exponentially cheaper than smoking. There is no unpleasant aroma. No ashes. No butts littered about. No risk of heart disease. You can fall asleep while vaping, and your house doesn't burn down. They're a boon to everyone, not just smokers.
...Everyone, that is, except those who reap tax revenues from tobacco. As e-cigarettes increase in sales and popularity, tobacco sales go down, and, consequently, so does tax revenue. That's the only conceivable motive for anyone to attempt to regulate this healthy alternative: greed.
The myth that e-cigarette companies market to children, supplying a gateway drug to smoking, has been dispelled. That was another contrived excuse to justify regulating an innocuous product. The overwhelming majority of vapers are adults supplementing their habit.
What's the first thing that happens when an adult quits smoking? He gains 20 pounds. The number-one health risk in this country is obesity. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant. School nurses should be issuing fat kids e-cigarettes instead of imposing draconian starvation rationing. It's that safe.
Before we allow the FBI interest in the situation to convict the legislators in the court of public opinion, it's important to remember that the Indiana legislature is under Republican control, and the governor who signed the law is also a Republican (and current running mate to the Republican candidate for president), while the Justice Department including the FBI is part of a Democrat administration. So the evidence of crony capitalism may not be the true impetus in this election year.
There is no legitimate health-related reason to regulate vaping. Any rationalization by those attempting to do so is merely smoke and mirrors. By the way, theatrical smoke is created by a fog machine that vaporizes propylene glycol.
Hat tip: Meg Hansen
Mike VanOuse is a factoryjack (one who works in a factory) from Indiana.