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Oregon AG Blocking Sale of E-Cigarettes

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.

Way to be, Kroger. Way to be. I razzed on Kroger back when he was running for AG here. Also, check the archives for more on our long, quixotic fight against smoking bans.

  1. This sort of thing COULD become the basis for some quite interesting court cases in the future. Attorney Generals acting in concert and with planning with antismoking organizations and big drug manufacturers to misrepresent the dangers of e-cigs and prohibit them, thereby possibly causing injury to smokers who continue to smoke regular cigarettes rather than the arguably safer e-cigs…

    Hey, we could have another RICO racketeering and MSA lawsuit party festival on our hands but this time the billions will be paid by ALL Oregon citizens in their taxes – instead of just smokers.

    Hey, they won’t mind. It’ll be used “for the children” or somesuch, right?

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  2. nike urbanism duk says:

    These E-cigs are as great of a risk to public health as the Snuggy.

  3. virglk says:

    Just one more Government numskull doing his best to deserve his grant/contribution from the Pharmaceuticals who sell Smoking Cessation Products that are much more harmful. Drugs are in the top three killers nation wide. Doctors and Hospitals are the top two. Chantix is the most dangerous of the NRT’S. It is responsible for thousands of Hospital admissions and at least 38 verifiable deaths. It is given to the Military and they now have the highest rate of Suicides ever in the service. Even the other NRT’S will cause an overdose of Nicotine and even more so if smoking is continued. Even the ACS admits, quitting Cold Turkey is easier and more effective. NRT’S have a 98.4% failure rate. A 1.6 success rate is nothing to brag about. If you research as long as I have, since 1998, you will find that no one knows what causes Cancer and SHS has not been proven to have killed anyone. The ACS/CDC have moved to change Death Certificates to claim, if even one cigarette has been smoked during a person

  4. Musician says:

    How “bought” is that politician by the antismoking organizations?

    You know how they hate the E Cig. Cuts into gum and patch kickbacks for the antismoking lobbyists.

    It’s all getting rather crystal clear now with this politician’s stand….

  5. Jancascade says:

    The action of our new AG is very foolish. He should have followed California’s law and limited the sales to those 18 and older.

    Anyone can buy these and many other products they want online. Who does this law harm? Oregon businesses and Oregon citizens who worked at the mall kiosk. Oh well, they too can sign up for unemployment benefit instead of working at the mall.

  6. Vincent says:

    Wow. This is one of the most perplexing, boneheaded decisions I’ve ever seen.

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