Better something that is less harmful than more harmful. But to some, innovative new products that reduce health risks – should be banned. In the tobacco and nicotine industry, the politically-correct anti-tobacco movement is advocating for the suppression of individual rights and elimination of less harmful choices, via restrictions and outright bans on products that could improve public health.
In recent years, there have been major technological breakthroughs that make new tobacco products much safer than conventional cigarettes. Yet government at all levels, as well as some public institutions, are seeking to block access to such products. They plan to rob consumers of their right to healthier lifestyles, and prohibit entrepreneurs from their right to earn a living.
In Washington, DC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review this month, a petition to approve a new tobacco product, known as IQOS, that heats tobacco, instead of burning it. This innovative technology allows smokers to enjoy tobacco flavor, without burning and harmful smoke, and without up to 90% of the health risks associated with traditional cigarettes.
In Rhode Island, the town of Middletown in 2017 banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, including legal (electronic) e-cigarettes, which are also less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Citing the need to protect school children, the town was heavily lobbied to restrict the sale such products, even to legal-aged adults, and even though the sale of tobacco products to minors is already prohibited.
With innovative products continually emerging to replace cigarettes, society would be better off if healthier choices were not systematically beat down by rabid advocates calling for economy-killing governmental intervention. How many jobs and entrepreneurial business ventures, such as vape shops, might be lost? As part of its occupational licensing and regulatory reform agenda, we recommend that legislation be enacted that would prohibit do-gooder municipalities from denying its residents their right to choose whether or not they will utilize tobacco products.