Anti-smoking nannies targeting non-smokers
Smokers everywhere are used to being pushed outside to use their product, even in inclement weather. In the last few years, smokers have found an alternative: Electronic cigarettes. There is no question that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking traditional cigarettes, though there is some dispute over whether "second hand vapor" is harmful. (If so, it certainly isn't nearly as harmful as second hand smoke.) There is some evidence the vapor is not harmful at all:
Rather, electronic cigarettes users exhale a vapor and a study conducted by Professor Igor Burstyn of the Drexel University School of Public Health concluded that claims regarding chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor were detected only "in trivial levels that pose no health risk" and are far below current "workplace standards for involuntary exposures."
But that lack of evidence is not good enough, because even non-smokers using a product that looks like a cigarette are being targeted. It is not surprising that New York City, with the most obnoxious nanny-state mayor in the country, is considering jumping on this bandwagon and banning use of e-cigarettes in "public places." Erika Sward of the American Lung Association sums up the attitude perfectly: "We don't want to have people now exposed to e-cigarette second-hand emissions until we know more about them."
That is great. We have no idea if second-hand water vapor from e-cigarettes is dangerous or not, but let's go ahead and ban it because cigarettes are icky. Never mind that these are not cigarettes and there is no smoking going on. Rush Limbaugh had a hilarious reaction to running into these wannabe nannies when he was in Hawaii.
Enter the Indiana University trustees, who are considering banning the use of e-cigarettes on campus. Electronic cigarettes have been a way for some employees to stop using cigarettes completely, which is what the university wants and encourages. The problem with things like patches and gum is that it doesn't replicate the motion that smokers are used to using. Treating electronic cigarettes exactly like traditional cigarettes is absurd.
Is it really too much to ask that we treat adults like adults, and made policy decisions based on facts instead of emotions? Do we really need Nanny Government managing our lives for us?