Makers of e-cigarettes getting around the law

Child’s play? E-cigarettes marketed to youngsters, report finds. The Washington Times, April 14, 2014.

A troubling if thought-provoking article about how companies making e-cigarettes seem to be working to get around federal legislation banning advertising of cigarettes to minors. At issue here is the making and marketing of candy-flavored cigarettes, a relatively new product that, according to many concerned parties, can play a crucial role in hooking kids on nicotine from a very early age.

candy flavored e-cigs

As the article attests, the makers of these products were allowed to advertise their wares on Super Bowl Sunday, that is to a general audience. The idea here is that American corporations are finding ways to circumvent the laws established to diminish a serious public hazard, cigarette smoking by banning advertising to audiences of minors.

Since the e-cigarette does not emit actual smoke, it is less objectionable than actual smoking in which second hand smoke is so problematic and offensive. Further, they are probably less likely to cause cancer.

But the candy-flavored e-cigarettes are still addictive, as they are nicotine-laden. Once the young nicotine user is addicted, he or she is on a slippery slope to using old fashioned cancer sticks.

One of the proponents of government regulation, Senator Dick Durban, points out that common sense tells us about the dangers of e-cigarettes as a gateway to cigarette addiction. But a mogul from the industry shoots back that this is not scientifically proven. This is a great point, one I’ve tried make over and over: Scientific research is always going to be a few steps behind the media industry in demonstrating the ill effects of the media on kids. It’s much like a game of cops and robbers in which the robbers are usually one step ahead and the cops running behind, trying to catch the bad guys.

The purpose of a corporation is to make money, regardless of the cost to individuals. Witness the behavior of GM, for instance. The purpose of a good government is to rein in the corporations and make them behave in the interest of the public good. Witness the recent ruling to allow the EPA to regulate smoke-belching factories across state lines.

Big versus little government is not this issue here. It’s smart government versus corrupt government.