Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Where There Is Smoke, There is ... Vapor?

Hey folks and welcome back. Mr. Peabody, fire up the wayback machine and let's go back to the 1970's. Back in the seventies I was your basic teenager; wild, and stupid. One of the things I learned how to do was smoke cigarettes. Now a few years later I realize that is just about as smart as using concertina wire as dental floss. Don't get me wrong. I truly enjoy smoking. I like the ritual, the social aspect, the taste, etc. But, I realize that the health risks to myself and more importantly to the people around me are huge. So, I decided to quit. Heck it was easy. I managed to quit 15 times over twenty years .

Well I found a new way to feed the need. I've got this thing called an electronic cigarette, e-cig or PV (personal vaporizer) for short. It's a battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge that contains liquefied nicotine. Take a nice long drag and feel the throat hit and lungs expand. Savor the taste. Exhale, and you blow water vapor the looks like smoke. No tobacco, no added chemicals like arsenic, no odor, no sidestream or second-hand smoke, and no dangers to passersby. I have a wife who used to smoke, and kids who've never smoked. None of them were shy at telling me how bad it stunk up the house. And so far all of them think I did the right thing. By the way, I've been tobacco free for almost a month now. I can feel the changes in my body from not inhaling a few thousand chemicals. I'm still addicted to nicotine, but I am convinced that I am better off.

Oh, and did I mention that while the up front cost is sorta steep in the long term it pays for itself in savings? Talk about being a realist. Money talks. Taxation of tobacco is a big revenue generator at all levels of the government. So, what do you think they are going to do about this new phenomenon?

Enter the Food and Drug Administration. These people are not elected. Instead they are appointed and get to make regulations within the very general guidelines provided by the actual law. But make no mistake, these regulations have the effect of law even if the Congress never voted on it.

Right now the FDA stands poised to jump in one of two directions. They can classify e-cigs as a tobacco product and regulate it that way or they can call it a drug delivery device. If they call e-cigs a device they can ban them outright.

I personally couldn't care less what you do in your personal life and your personal time as long as you don't hurt anyone. And, I strongly feel that the .gov has no business in that realm either. And I do get a little bit upset when the government tries to tell people how to live their lives. So if you want to walk down the street butt naked smokin a big ol stogie and a carrying a samauri sword..... go for it. Just don't infringe on others rights when you do.

You need to be aware that the reality of today's government is that the politicians (crooks and liars for the most part), are the ones enabling the bureaucrats. They do this to appease the various lobbies that keep the cash on tap.

If you believe that everyone has the right to live their lives as they see fit without government interference, you might need to watch this issue. If you believe that lifestyle choices (think gay-rights for example) are your choices and not subject to government approval, you might need to watch this issue.

This blog is about facing reality. FTFGIMAD stands for face the facts, get involved, make a difference. So, how can we do that and keep it real? The answer is to challenge everything that has the potential to encroach on your personal liberties. I respect a non-smokers right to breathe clean air. So, I support regulating smoking in a way that preserves smokers and non-smokers rights. I don't support potential adverse regulation, taxation, or outright banning of a device that has the potential to be a healthier alternative to tobacco. And, my elected reps from the mayor to the president have heard from me on this issue.

You may be wondering why I am on a soapbox over an electronic cigarette when there are high profile issues dominating the news. Part of it is my own self-interest to be sure. But, the bigger part is that it's not always the obvious civil liberties contained in the Bill of Rights that are stolen. Sometimes they sneak around the edges and just whittle 'em away from other folks. They figure you won't care about other peoples rights as long as yours are left alone. That might work, for now.

Here are some links that discuss this issue. Remember the WIIFM principle. What's In It For Me? Tax Revenue? Protection of Big Tobbacco companies? Or is it just a government that has decided you can't be trusted to live your own life? You decide.

From Wikipiedia
Smoking Everywhere V. FDA
Oregon AG moves to block 'E-cigarette' sales
Debate continues over e-cigarettes | Jackson County Floridan
FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes

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