Friday, October 11, 2019

Vague lung disease warnings are set to hurt far more people than they help


I know from this blog's traffic reports that this subject is not high interest. A few hundred pairs of eyes might read this through. But when I see our government geniuses about to make a costly mistake, and I kinda sorta know a little about the subject, I am compelled to blog about it. It might save a life (like vaping has saved mine).

Chances are good that you know a smoker. Chances are also good that your smoker wants to quit and has tried almost everything from patches to (nasty) gum to maybe even psychoactive prescription drugs. And nothing worked.

Regardless of whether you are know a smoker, you'd have to be a hermit to not know about CDC and FDA and their scary drumbeat on vaping. I'm here to tell you that the feds and the media are being irresponsible and what they're doing is deadly dangerous.

From Reason Magazine:
When there's an outbreak of food poisoning, the federal government does not issue general advisories about the hazards of eating. It tells people which products have been implicated so they can adjust their behavior to reduce the risks they face.

Yet for months now, even as evidence mounted that vaping-related lung diseases overwhelmingly involved black-market cannabis products, state and federal officials have been vaguely and unhelpfully warning us about the hazards of "vaping" and "e-cigarettes." That approach has endangered public health by failing to give consumers a clear heads-up and by implying that legal, nicotine-delivering e-cigarettes, which can save smokers' lives by dramatically reducing their exposure to toxins and carcinogens, might instead kill them.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on interviews with 86 vapers treated for respiratory symptoms in Wisconsin and Illinois, found that 87 percent "reported using e-cigarette products containing THC." Since people may be reluctant to admit illegal drug use, the researchers noted, the actual prevalence of THC vaping among patients may be even higher.
"It seems there's too much conflating these tragic lung injuries with store-bought brands of regulated, legal e-cigs like Juul and NJOY," said former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.  "There's far too little blaming THC, CBD, and bootleg nicotine vapes where the only available hard evidence points."

E-cigarettes don't contain any tobacco and there is no combustion. They are far less dangerous than the conventional cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

The message being sent is that all vaping products are deadly because a small number of adventurous idiots are using the devices for illicit purposes. Cars are dangerous when misused. So are firearms. Sharp knives. Scissors, even. A No. 2 pencil can be deadly.

Yet people are being convinced that trying e-cig technology to quit smoking may be worse than actually smoking. Your smoker is scared to death and for no good reason. This isn't just bad policy. It's negligent.

"There's no question public health would benefit dramatically if everybody switched completely to e-cigarettes," Abrams said. "If we lose this opportunity, I think we will have blown the single biggest public health opportunity we've ever had in 120 years."

But wait... there's more.

If you ban or tax something very heavily, guess what happens in an exchange economy?
Minnesota is poised to join the panic-driven crusade against vaping, a move that's guaranteed to drive even more business through well-established smuggling channels.

In Minnesota, as elsewhere, cigarette smuggling is well established. In a 2012 article, Tax Foundation economist Patrick Fleenor traced the black market import of smokes right back to the imposition of a tax in 1947.

"By the mid-1950s, official figures show, the sale of legal, tax-paid cigarettes had plunged 20 percent below the national level," Fleenor wrote. "Frustrated by the inability to collect the taxes due, the state's chief cigarette tax administrator quipped that 'even the attorneys who come into my office are smoking untaxed cigarettes.'"
Folks, the primary cause of this alleged "epidemic" is a proliferation of black market street juice. The black market in this stuff exists because of state and local bans on legit juice and devices. If you tighten the bans or raise the taxes, all you do is create more black marketeers.

Have we learned nothing from Prohibition and the War on Drugs?


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