DC Politicians Want Further Micromanagement of E-Cigarettes

Jose Nino Comments

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin recently demanded that The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remove certain brands of e-cigarettes off of the market.

If that wasn’t enough, Durbin wants to muzzle Juul’s advertising shut. What irked the Senator was the e-cigarette company’s claim that its products could help people break their smoking habits.

In control freak fashion, Durbin expressed his disbelief with the Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless’ inaction on the issue. The Illinois Senator even believes that Sharpless has no intention of addressing this issue.

Durbin voiced his frustration:

It is my belief that any person leading the FDA … must, first and foremost, feel a deep sense of responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all Americans, especially our nation’s children. Unfortunately, based on our meeting, I do not have confidence that you are that leader.

Durbin advised the Acting FDA chief to follow through with the enforcement of the FDA’s “deeming rule” which bars non-FDA approved e-cigarette products from hitting the market after August 8, 2016. He then noted that “new products are coming to market seemingly daily” without receiving the FDA’s approval. Durbin asserts that “FDA has not ordered the removal of a single product for this violation.”

For Durbin, the way Juul has entered the market is completely unacceptable:

It defies logic that a federal regulatory agency, such as FDA, would not have an understanding of which products are on the market legally and which are on the market illegally. Durbin then called for the FDA to remove all e-cigarette products that were not available on the market before the 2016 deeming rule came into effect.

Whether e-cigarettes are healthy or not, is beside the point. The government has no authority to be stepping in and micro-managing people’s private affairs. If there is evidence to demonstrate the harmfulness of such products, civil society can step in to help alleviate those consequences. Freedom comes with responsibility, and private actors have proven time and time again to be able to build solutions to societal ills.

On top of that, such interventions cause consequences that the regulators don’t anticipate. The drug sector is one which is filled with accounts of certain types of prohibitions leading consumers to use more dangerous drug alternatives. One of the most notable cases of this trend took place during the Prohibition Era when people started consuming the more dangerous variant of bathtub gin.

In their zeal to do something, these kinds of consequences are never considered by the political class. The current nature of politics is to reward short-term actions masquerading as solutions that ultimately morph into a whole different set of problems in the long-run.

Long-term analysis has completely flown out the window in today’s era shock politics. Sadly, our current society has lost its imagination and impulsively turns to the State to solve almost every problem.

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