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In this past week the Legislative body of California approved a basket of bills, most of them are intrusive, pertaining to nicotine products and use. Many Republicans raised their objections, but the majority (Democrats) had the final say and they insisted that the state impose their will on the common man. Despite having smoking rates that cause governors around the country to salivate they feel they must do more…to ‘save the children’ no doubt. The proposed laws are so intrusive that even the liberal-leaning LA Times couldn’t hold back their criticism.
“In its zeal to stand up to the tobacco industry, the California Legislature has gone too far with a new package of proposed laws that would trample on the rights of adults — yes, even smokers have rights! — and prematurely treat electronic cigarettes the same as their dangerous smoke-based brethren,” opined the Los Angeles Times.
A major part of the package intends to boost the smoking age to 21, something that is not kindly looked upon by anyone other than the lawmakers. They use science to support their argument (teenage brains are wired to get easily hooked on tobacco) and put it up against individual choice. The majority of time, an 18-year-old is considered an adult…unless you want to vape. However, since you are old enough to be sent over to a foreign land to kill people, should you find yourself in the military the powers that be will grant you an exception and let you vape. They are benevolent.
Needless to say, most vapers aren’t happy about this development. Many have found it satisfying, pleasurable and a much less dangerous alternative to smoking.
“The science is behind the California Tobacco 21 Initiative. We feel our case is strong, the Institute of Medicine Report shows that it is our duty to protect people from themselves,” explained a New York City physician who is a long-time supporter of Big Brother. “There is no other report out there that supports any other bill in front of the governor.
The government reaction against vaping reminds many of similar restrictions of freedom throughout history and the heavy-hand of the government. Maybe they have a fear, that someone, somewhere is enjoying themselves and possibly doing without the government getting their cut. Whatever the case may be, they feel your business is their business.
Here’s where the Times editorial really sings:
Vaping is a public health concern, but a distinct one requiring its own set of restrictions. There’s no evidence, for example, that the emissions associated with second-hand vaping are even a fraction as dangerous as those of traditional cigarettes. Simply extending all the rules that California adopted to protect the public from the effects of second-hand smoke doesn’t make sense before the facts are all in.
If anyone thinks that a calm, level-headed, scientific based discussion is what is going to happen at any level of government discussion, odds are they haven’t paid attention to politics for long. We’re at a time in our society when the curtain gets pulled back a little more every day, and recently we have seen just how much private corporations influence our politicians with money. Follow the money and you’ll be able to find out the motivations behind these decisions. There are very powerful people who are interested in keeping the barrier to entry with any nicotine-related product very high.
“There’s not that many companies that dominate the nicotine market and they have an interest in keeping that number as small as possible”.
All the anti-vaping activists should look at the issue from a slightly different perspective. Sure, vaping isn’t as healthy as breathing air, but does that mean we should lose our rights over it? Should it be restricted as heavily as traditional tobacco? Should it be restricted as heavily as guns or alcohol? Where does it stop? Once the government starts taking your freedom under the guise of ‘protecting you’ it’s all downhill.
Those who want to the iron fist of the government as a daily companion in their life point to teens that would never consume nicotine if it wasn’t for vaping. And while I’m sure that does occur, is that worth infringing upon everyone else. Since when is the one greater than the many. To take away our rights under the illusion of security and protection goes against the very fundamentals of democracy and liberty. Let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that someone has the courage to stand up to the wolves in the henhouse, the ones who spend their days thinking of ways to keep you in an invisible cage.