The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 31, 2014

Rational decision-making needed on e-cigarettes

The Mankato Free Press

---- — “I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s bad.” This might be the motto for the method jealous, anti-e-cigarette legislators are employ in their endeavors to restrict certain e-cigarette use.

I don’t care at all — maybe a little — what becomes law, but their approach to this relatively easy debate is a bit disturbing and embarrassing.

See, if they can’t negotiate this simple problem without immediately calling for bans, we might question their decisions on more important and complicated issues.

The problems result from a false moral equivalent between e-cigarette and traditional tobacco use. That is, since tobacco has gone from bad habit to something detestable in public perception, it and its users have been open to condemnation.

Fine, but when that is applied merely from emotion and pre-judgement, the process suffers. The lack of science, along with a Utopian fervor, is not dissimilar to the delightful methods of Torquemada and friends.

Imagine that tobacco products of any sort and all of their causes of disdain had never existed. I imagine e-cigarettes being developed without that ghost of tobacco villainy. It would have to be considered on its own, which it is supposed to be. The other questions, like helps/hurts tobacco cessation, bad signals, etc., not withstanding.

The desire here is an appeal for rational decision-making before considering bans on anything.

Steve Goodell