Electronic cigarettes

Tech­nol­o­gy march­es on.

The arti­cle in Slate is called Vapor War; Our irra­tional hos­til­i­ty toward elec­tron­ic cig­a­rettes by William Sale­tan.

The e‑cigarette has no tobac­co and deliv­ers assort­ed fla­vors and option­al dos­es of nico­tine in a vapor. No smoke. No odor.

The ques­tion is: should this prod­uct be regulated.

Sale­tan makes the case that it took decades of evi­dence to con­vince us to reg­u­late cig­a­rettes; that near­ly all of the things that make smok­ing dan­ger­ous are miss­ing in e‑cigarettes; and, cit­ing a 2007 study that found “that res­pi­ra­to­ry symp­toms like cough, phlegm, and tight­ness in the chest increase with cig­a­rette use and cannabis use, but are less severe among users of a vapor­iz­er. … The odds ratio sug­gests that vapor­iz­er users are only 40% as like­ly to report res­pi­ra­to­ry symp­toms as users who do not vaporize.”

He con­cludes that “The engi­neer­ing and re-engi­neer­ing of drugs will only get more com­pli­cat­ed as tech­nol­o­gy improves. We’d bet­ter start think­ing ratio­nal­ly about it.”

And he’s right. We should be think­ing ratio­nal­ly about it. The facts are that nico­tine and THC are drugs and that the e‑cigarette is a drug deliv­ery sys­tem. To allow either of these prod­ucts to be sold with­out estab­lish­ing whether they are safe or not and with­out appro­pri­ate reg­u­la­tion does not strike me as ratio­nal. The one study in front of us says it is only 40% as dan­ger­ous to the res­pi­ra­to­ry sys­tem as cig­a­rettes. Sounds plen­ty unsafe to me.

In hind­sight, did we go about cig­a­rette reg­u­la­tion the cor­rect way? Wait until there are plen­ty of peo­ple mak­ing mil­lions of dol­lars off mil­lions of addicts who also vote?

5 thoughts on “Electronic cigarettes”

  1. So, what hap­pened dur­ing the Pro­hi­bi­tion Era? Any chance his­to­ry will repeat itself? Any chance the addi­tion­al reg­u­la­tion of tobac­co by the FDA will spark more than we may be look­ing for in terms of actions/​reactions?

    I heard on the news the oth­er day that Phillips-Mor­ris is sup­port­ing the bill that is to be signed regard­ing tobac­co reg­u­la­tion and the rest of the indus­try is not. Why? PM appar­ent­ly has 50+% mar­ket share and is diver­si­fied enough to weath­er the ini­tial storm. The oth­ers are not. There­fore, PM is look­ing at this reg­u­la­tion as a way to elim­i­nate com­pe­ti­tion. Any­one real­ly take a look at this before we start­ed down that road?

    The above was report­ed by some­one in the know in D.C. The next ques­tion is, who IS in the know in D.C.?

    Did the drug czar real­ly call of the war on drugs? If so, why? Because instead or war­ring on oth­ers we now turn inward and war on our­selves? Oh boy, this could go on for­ev­er. Got time for a cup of cof­fee? Maybe a good cig­ar to chew on while we chat about this?

    You know, I am glad you are rais­ing these issues, Rich.

  2. I read that about Phillip-Mor­ris, too. I’m not clear on how the reg­u­la­tions will put com­peti­tors out of busi­ness. I am in favor of strong reg­u­la­tion over nico­tine. But there is a point too far. As you say, pro­hi­bi­tion has its own draw­backs (which we see today with the war on drugs).

    I’m not sure what all the FDA has in “mind” about nico­tine. More warn­ing labels, more restric­tions on ads. I’ve no prob­lem with that. I am not up to date on the state of the free speech law as it per­tains to adver­tis­ing nicotine.

    I tend to be in favor of legal­iz­ing drugs. Cer­tain­ly mar­i­jua­na. But it should still be reg­u­lat­ed. Maybe restrict it to hard liquor stores (spread the wealth a bit) and phar­ma­cies (behind the counter).

    The drug war increas­es gun vio­lence (which skews our pol­i­tics with a large seg­ment vot­ing gun rights only), crim­i­nal­izes the addict­ed, and leads to cor­rup­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly in Mex­i­co where it inhibits eco­nom­ic growth which leads to ille­gal immi­gra­tion into this coun­try). The unin­tend­ed con­se­quences of the war on drugs is a long list.

  3. Do these elec­tron­ic cig­a­rettes real­ly feel like the real thing? I watched a video at this web­site but don’t know what to think. Are there any real smok­ers out there that aren’t pro­mot­ing a prod­uct that can tell me what you real­ly think?

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