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Why Public Health Advocates Hate E-cigarettes

In a letter published in The Economist this week, I write,

* SIR – It is no wonder many in the public-health establishment have steam coming out of their ears about e-cigarettes. Here is a product created by private-sector innovation that is doing what many hundreds of millions of dollars of government spending, costly litigation, addictive excise taxes, warning labels and punitive regulation have been unable to do: help cigarette smokers quit happily.

Yet the Tobacco Product Directive currently under consideration in the European Union is about to regulate them out of existence. Regulators understand that in order to maintain not only their huge budgets, but their basis for authority to control both private-sector businesses as well as personal decisions, they must demonise, delegitimize, and defeat e-cigarettes.

Anyone who is more concerned about the public’s well being, rather than the well-being of institutions, should speak out against this harmful style of fiefdom-defending regulation.

Jeff Stier
Risk Analysis Division
National Centre for Public Policy Research
Washington, DC

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