As I’ve noted before, when it comes to nanny-state paternalism, Oregon is always ahead of the curve. Via the AP:
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has gone to court to block sales of electronic cigarettes made by a Florida company.
Kroger said the company, Smoking Everywhere, made false health claims about nicotine and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate.
Manufacturers say electronic cigarettes are safe because they use a water vapor mist to deliver flavor and ingredients, unlike the burning tobacco that creates smoke in a real cigarette.
Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which says they contain some cancer-causing ingredients.
Kroger said Oregon is the first state to take legal action against an e-cigarette manufacturer.
Of course, the hypocrisy is that normal cigarettes, which contain a lot of cancer-causing ingredients, are approved by the FDA. From Reason:
Given the enormous differences between this vapor and tobacco smoke, the companies that sell e-cigarettes online and from shopping mall kiosks are on firm ground in advertising them as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes that can be used in places where smoking is banned. The arguments of e-cigarette opponents, by contrast, reek of red herrings.
The critics warn that nicotine is addictive, that it may contribute to cardiovascular problems, and that smokers may use e-cigarettes as way of coping with smoking bans, continuing their habits instead of quitting. All of these objections also apply to the nicotine gum, patches, sprays, and inhalers the FDA has approved as safe and effective smoking cessation tools.
E-cigarettes are less expensive than those products and may be more appealing to smokers looking for an experience that’s closer to the real thing. Although they have not been subject to the sort of rigorous testing the FDA demands for new drugs, the drug they contain is not new. It’s the same one delivered, in a much dirtier manner, by the cigarettes that the government says kill 400,000 Americans every year.
As Michael Siegel notes on his tobacco policy blog:
What the Oregon Department of Justice is saying is that they would rather have Oregonians smoke cigarettes — with their more than 10,000 chemicals and 57 carcinogens — than inhale electronic cigarette vapor, which has not been shown to deliver any of those 10,000 chemicals or 57 carcinogens in anything more than trace quantities.
From a public health perspective, this is the most absurd, non-science-based, and potentially damaging policy decision by a state government that I have witnessed in a long time.