In the news this past few weeks has been a good example of a manufactured "crisis".
Media outlets have breathlessly fixated on the "dangers" of vaping (aka "e-cigarettes"). I guess this is the assigned Two-Minute Hate for the last half of September.
But let's go over a few actual facts that don't fit well into the mainstream crisis narrative.
First: Tobacco is a legal plant that many individuals want to enjoy.
If it is prohibited, then we will simply have yet another war on a plant
that will be as effective as the war on poppies, marijuana, coca, khat,
and many others.
Standard, over-the-counter nicotine "vape juice" carries basically the same risk of long-term health effects as cigarettes.
Keep in mind that e-cigarettes, like cigarettes, is simply a "delivery device". When different kinds of "delivery devices" are developed, different people are going to try them, and use them, if they wish to. There are already cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, dissolvables (such as lozenges, strips, or sticks), smokeless (chewing tobacco and moist snuff), waterpipes ("Hookah"), and now e-cigarettes.
There are already millions of vapers.The mainstream media has generally (with a few notable exceptions) failed to make clear that the current "crisis" among vapers is not caused by vape juice, but rather, by a subset of vapers who are putting THC
oils (and vitamin E oil, and other crap) in their e-cigarettes. And
probably a lot of other substances, according to investigative articles in the Washington Post and Wisconsin State Journal.
One of the more interesting aspects of vaping is the possibility that vape juice can be rather easily tailored, and there is already some evidence that the trend among longer-term users of e-cigarettes is to choose smaller nicotine content juice cartridges over time.
If the vaping market were left alone, there is reason to believe that trend (of lower nicotine content vape choices) would continue and/or accelerate: One thing that a free market always does is it tends to mitigate negatives and accentuate positives.
The black market (Prohibition) means adulterated drugs, which means death for more than a few users (especially youthful, inexperienced ones who don't know what to look for). Which is what we are right now seeing with the current "Vaping Crisis".
Then consider what the free market has delivered in comparison to Prohibition: We now have light beer and non-alcoholic beer, whereas under Alcohol Prohibition the trend was toward harder and harder, more potent varieties of hooch.
In a legal market, and with steady Education and Persuasion campaigns, kids trying drugs will find pure (and ever-safer) prepackaged versions of them at Rite Aid and Wal-Mart, with instructions on safe use.
They won't get that from the local gang-banger who is filling vape cartridges with THC oil.
Over time, then, it stands to reason that it would be better for there to be a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes to be encouraged and available so people who have to put something in their mouths will be able to choose something less harmful rather than more harmful.
If vaping is made illegal, it will simply go underground. The technology for vape pens is widely known and easy to replicate, and prohibiting it will simply open up a new market for organized criminals to supply.
As an interesting side note, Colorado is not having anywhere near the problem with this that other states are -- because marijuana is legal, and people therefore tend to use traditional marijuana delivery methods.
The THC oil vaping problem would likely resolve itself in a legal market. If CVS and Walgreens were selling vape juice with THC in it, they would have to find ways to make it as safe as possible, or they would find themselves with a lot of liability claims. Drug traffickers who are illegally filling vape cartridges have neither the will nor the ability to figure out how to do that -- they're just supplying a product that people want, and they aren't going to be hauled into court if their product hurts someone.
Libertarian Party articles about vaping bans:
1. What do Libertarians think of Trump’s vaping regulation?
2. Libertarians, vaping industry condemn Trump vaping ban
3. I Vape I Vote Membership Promotion
Vote Libertarian * 800-ELECT-US * http://www.LP.org
Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, May, 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
My Course is a Straight Line
6 months ago