Don’t Make the Vaping ‘Crisis’ Worse with Hasty New Regulations

Forbes cites Senior Fellow Michelle Minton on e-cigarettes:

Michelle Minton, a Senior Fellow and policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute argues that regulators are attacking the wrong target. Regarding the recent illnesses and deaths, she notes:

[W]hat few of these reports have pointed out is that it seems most — if not all — of the hospitalizations were related, not to e-cigarettes, but illicit “street vapes.” If e-cigarettes are banned or restricted we can expect to see more stories like this as people increasingly turn to the black market.

Minton also argues that over-zealous regulations are a source of the problem, rather than a cure:

[T]he only reason these people turned to the black market was because they couldn’t acquire cannabis or e-cigarettes legally. Black markets only arise when products are unavailable or prohibitively expensive on the legal market, often as a result of well-meaning efforts to protect people from their own choices. But instead of keeping them away from substances that might increase their risks a little, restrictions push people into the illicit market where adulterated and defective products can kill them.

As Minton notes, Prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking alcohol. But it did boost the black market for tainted bootleg liquor.

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