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An Unhealthy Alliance: Tobacco Companies and Anti-smoking

Why are cities across America considering bans on e-cigarettes and vaping?Is it to protect
public health?

While that’s what you typically hear,I think there’s another important explanation.After
all,there are lots of unhealthy products that nobody’s trying to ban.One reason vaping,in
particular,is being targeted is due to lobbying from big businesses,namely,tobacco compaies.

Now,hold on,aren’t some of the people pushing for bans on e-cig the same folks who used to
lobby against big tobacco?Absolutely.Many anti-tobacco activists have become anti-vaping
activists.saying that just like regular cigarettes,e-cigarettes could be dangerous for
people’s health or that they could send the wrong message to kids.Now those activists find
themselves on the same side as their formal foes,since tobacco company lobbyiss are fighting
e-cigarettes,too.They’re worried about their bottom line.Studies show that vaping is twice
as effective s other methods in helping people quit smoking.By pushing for regulations that
make e-cigarettes less accesible to consumers,hey ensure that more people will keep smoking
tobacco.

We’ve got a classic case of what some scholars call the “Bootleggers and Baptists
Phenomena”.Well-intentioned activists end up pushing for the same rules in the interests
they actually oppose.This helps lend all the lobbying efforts an air of legitimacy.They can
claim it’s for public health.Meanwhile,most of the lobbying money is on the side interests
that don’t care about health;they care about getting an unfair advantage over their
competitors by using government regulations to work in their favor.The tobacco company,RJ
Reynolds,has even hedged their bets by starting to make their own brands of e-
cigarettes,while simultaneously lobbying for bans against other types of e-ecigarettes..the
kinds they don’t make.Claiming that those kinds are a bigger health risk.Talk about an
unfair advantage.Unfortunately,situations like this are not uncommon.In every
industry,you’ll find businesses that are using their money to lobby the government to get
regulations passed that look like they’re in the public interest,but actually benefit them
at the expense of their competitors.Doesn’t is seem wrong that these big businesses get to
decide what you do with your body and property?Isn’t that for you to decide?
A better approach would be allowing individuals and property owners to decide where e-cig
can be used,not to enact regulations that make it harder for smokers to quit.

By learnliberty.org
May 14, 2015

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