Friday, April 10, 2009

Get Used to It

Reason on the rush to ban e-cigarettes:

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill, which the Senate will consider later this year, are demanding that the FDA ban e-cigarettes, a potentially life-saving alternative for smokers, as unauthorized drug delivery devices. Last month Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who brags that he is "one of the Senate's leaders in protecting Americans from the dangers of smoking," urged the FDA to take e-cigarettes off the market "until they are proven safe." The next day, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded Lautenberg's position.

Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, did not. "This is about as idiotic and irrational an approach as I have ever seen in my 22 years in tobacco control and public health," he wrote on his blog. "A public policy maker who touts himself as being a champion of the public's health as well as some of the leading national health advocacy organizations are demanding that we ban what is clearly a much safer cigarette than those on the market, but that we allow, protect, approve, and institutionalize the really toxic ones."

That is what it is like almost every day for those of us that study economics. Almost daily we watch policy makers claim they want to bring the poor out of poverty or increase the standard of living, only to have them then turn around and propose policy that does precisely the opposite. Why? Because some crazy activist with irrational, knee-jerk, and oftentimes elitist, positions on market policy want them.

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