July 2, 2019

ROBERT GOLDBERG: Vaper Madness.

E-cigarettes, while not a cure for nicotine dependence, can help reduce the death and disease caused by combustible tobacco. Public Health England (PHE), the United States equivalent of the CDC, concluded best estimates show e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes, and when supported by a smoking cessation service, help most smokers to quit tobacco altogether. The most recent studies show that e-cigarettes are more effective in reducing smoking than any other device or approach., and yet almost two thirds of Americans believe vaping is deadlier than cigarette smoking. This is no accident. Just as the anti-vaccine zealots have turned vaccine hesitancy into one of the World Health Organization’s top global health challenges, anti-vaping groups such as the Truth Initiative and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have spread warnings about the hidden dangers of e-cigarettes to reduce consumption and spread uncertainty.

The two movements are alike in many other ways. Anti-vaxxers want to reduce use of vaccines because they claim it benefits the public health and yet have no problem holding measles or chicken pox parties to provide their kids “natural immunity.” Anti-vapers want to ban e-cigarettes while leaving cigarettes and other tobacco products on the market.

The fact San Francisco’s Herrera wants to prohibit both retail and on-line sales of e-cigarettes while doing nothing about tobacco is an artifact of the anti-vaping movement’s application of the precautionary principle: the belief that no new technology should be used and, in fact, should be considered deadly unless every possible safety risk, no matter how unfounded, is addressed.

Neo-Puritans with a body count.

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