Over-the-Counter E-cigarettes?

I couldn’t believe the headlines. E-cigarettes are not a drug, yet the FDA is considering making them over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. This after every attempt to classify e-cigarettes as a medication has been shot down?


Inventing Facts

I don’t get it, any more than I understand how the government can “deem” e-cigarettes to be “tobacco products” simply be saying so. The lack of tobacco is no obstacle to the kind of bureaucratic new-think that has become more popular decade after decade – long before the invention of “fake” news.

Those of us who remember the Soviet Union recall that their national propaganda newspaper was called Pravda, Russian for “Truth” – yet it was filled with the same kind of fake, government-approved news seen in Nazi Germany, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, and other totalitarian regimes without a free press. When the government has control, truth takes a back seat.

Truth: There is no way that e-cigarettes can be classified as medicinal products (see Dr. Farsalinos on Vaping: Is It Mostly Harmless?, especially the section “Can E-Cigarettes Be Considered Medicine?”), in part because not all e-cigs contain nicotine.

Additionally, e-cigarettes are not used exclusively for smoking cessation or pleasure. Some people vape to help with their sweet tooth, and a number of diabetics have found that vaping is a good tool for cutting back on processed sugar. (Because of research on nicotine and glucose levels, diabetics are told to avoid vaping with nicotine, the only potential “drug” involved in vaping.)

It’s All About Control

Bureaucracy exists for two reasons. The stated reason is part of their name: Federal Drug Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Prisons, etc. The second reason they exist is to protect themselves. They don’t want to see their budgets cut, so they keep extending their reach to preserve jobs and increase their level of control over the populace.

Bureaucracy is one reason the United States has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world. Local and state police departments, jails and prisons, the courts – they all benefit when more people are arrested and locked away.

And now there’s talk of the FDA putting e-cigarettes behind the counter in your local pharmacy. There’s no evidence that vaping is dangerous enough for that kind of treatment, but when has that ever stopped government overreach? What next, are we going to require a prescription? Or will you just have to show a state-issued ID, like Sudafed™ users (pseudoephedrine, not the far less effective PE version that anyone can waste their money on), so that you can buy a product that someone else might abuse?

Economic Impact

As a person with allergies who uses the store-branded version of real Sudafed (the PE stuff does nothing for my allergies), I have watched the price go up and up as the government increased the number of hoops you have to jump through to buy it. The pharmacies raised the price to cover the paperwork and the pharmacists time, and it just kept getting more expensive – all on the off chance that it might be used to create meth.

Imagine if every vape shop in America had to close its doors because you could only buy e-cigarettes from a pharmacist. No more e-cigs in convenience stores, at gas stations, or at the vape shop where they help you choose the right hardware and e-juice.

Tens of thousands of empty vape shops in strip malls and neighborhoods. A far larger number of unemployed former vape shop employees. No more buying online, except perhaps through an online pharmacy. And prices will rise to cover the extra overhead of a pharmacy with licensed pharmacists vs. the local vape shop and its staff ready to talk to you about flavors and hardware. And the pharmacists will complain that this is just one more thing to take them away from dispensing medications, which is what they went to school for.

Just Say No

We need to stand up to the FDA. This is ridiculous. Tobacco cigarettes are far more dangerous than e-cigarettes, yet they are not over-the-counter items you can only buy in a pharmacy. And now the FDA is considering that level of control over the vaping industry, which is demonstrably 90% to 99% less hazardous than smoking cigarettes.

Of course, we have an uphill battle there because the bureaucrats benefit every time someone believes the lies that vaping is inherently dangerous. Show us the evidence! Until then, stop spreading unsubstantiated rumors as facts.

Further Reading

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