In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

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Vaping Regulation Mustn’t Cut Off Noses to Spite Faces Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, March 05 2020
Thus, whatever your opinion toward smoking or vaping independently, the simple fact is that vaping offers a popular and more effective means by which smokers can reduce or end their reliance upon traditional tobacco cigarettes.

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:  I’m from the government, and I’m here to help." Ronald Reagan, August 12, 1986 

President Reagan’s adage is by now readily familiar, but it remains as compelling today as the day he spoke it because it captures government’s peculiar talent for making people’s lives worse while claiming to make them better. 

Counterproductive targeting of electronic cigarettes (or “e-cigarettes”), popularly known as “vaping,” by government provides the latest example. 

For anyone unfamiliar, vaping simulates traditional cigarette smoking by electronically heating a liquid solution to produce an aerosol vapor that users can inhale in much the same way as combustible cigarette smoke.  E-cigarettes often look like cigarettes from afar, but they obviously operate in a dramatically different way.  

More importantly, research shows vaping offers a far safer alternative to traditional smoking, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) labels the top cause of avoidable death in America.  England’s National Health Service (NHS), which studied vaping extensively, found it 95% safer for users than regular cigarettes. 

Just this week, England’s leading health agency Public Health England (PHE) released a report concluding that, “vaping regulated nicotine products has a small fraction of the risks of smoking.”  As public health expert Clive Bates emphasized, “If we could get this sort of evidence-based good sense from the World Health Organization or the U.S. agencies and policymakers, it would be a game-changer.  The evidence update is very strong – a proper look at what the evidence actually says and not what anti-vaping activists wish it would say.” 

Importantly, research also confirms that vaping is twice as effective as other nicotine-replacement methods approved for decades by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in getting cigarette smokers to finally quit. 

In that vein, the medical journal source Bio Med Central (BMC) confirms that vaping provides a uniquely effective smoking cessation method: 

Our data demonstrates that e-cigarettes may be a unique harm reduction innovation for smoking relapse prevention.  E-cigarettes meet the needs of some ex-smokers by substituting physical, psychological, social, cultural and identity-related aspects of tobacco addiction.  Some vapers reported that they found vaping pleasurable and enjoyable – being more than a substitute but actually preferred, over time, to tobacco smoking.  This clearly suggests that vaping is a viable long-term substitute for smoking, with substantial implications for tobacco harm reduction. 

Thus, whatever your opinion toward smoking or vaping independently, the simple fact is that vaping offers a popular and more effective means by which smokers can reduce or end their reliance upon traditional tobacco cigarettes. 

True to President Reagan’s adage, however, nanny-state government officials just can’t resist swooping in to impose draconian regulatory restrictions.  For instance, the Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives just passed H.R. 2339, which if passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes. 

That latter provision is significant because adult e-cigarette users substantially prefer flavored varieties, which means that such people would be discouraged from switching to vaping.  That will in turn cost American lives not only because of the fact that fewer smokers would quit traditional cigarettes, but also because those who prefer flavored vaping would be driven to counterfeits and potentially fatal black-market products offering flavored varieties. 

Accordingly, governmental efforts like H.R. 2339 merely serve to cut off our proverbial noses to spite our faces. 

The Trump Administration clearly recognizes the destructiveness of those efforts, and officially communicated its opposition in clear terms: 

The Administration cannot support H.R. 2339’s counterproductive efforts to restrict access to products that may provide a less harmful alternative to millions of adults who smoke combustible cigarettes.  This includes the bill’s prohibition of menthol e-liquids, which available evidence indicates are used relatively rarely by youth.  It also includes the bill’s approach to remote retail sales.  At this time, problems surrounding such sales should be addressed through the application of age verification technologies rather than, as this bill would do, prohibiting such sales entirely.  The bill takes the wrong approach to tobacco regulation… 

If presented to the President in its current form, the Presidents senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. 

The Trump Administration’s approach offers the wiser course going forward.  Vaping offers a preferable alternative to traditional cigarettes, especially for those attempting to quit smoking. 

Although officials at the federal, state and local levels have an obligation to protect children and prohibit unsafe products from entering the marketplace, efforts that irrationally demonize e-cigarettes will only end up causing far more harm than good. 

Accordingly, per President Reagan’s adage, government officials mustn’t inflict needless harm under the false banner of “helping.” 

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
—Casey Harper, The Center Square
— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
Liberty Poll   

Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?