The Department of Health and Human Services and Vaping: A tale of Bootleggers and Baptists

Vaping Post cited Senior Fellow Michelle Minton on e-cigarettes. 

To further understand the concepts that I’m presenting, we need to consider some basic ideas. Within the appropriations process the U.S. government follows, money and influence can easily impact policy and regulation. Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Michelle Minton, the author of “Fear Profiteers” (a white paper that analyzes this very idea that I’ve cited several times) told me that this “coalition” of competitive but interested parties is directly responsible for the current state of the e-cigarette market in the United States.

“Advocates (whether governmental or otherwise) provide a service for which they get paid (by government funding, grants, or private donations),” Minton wrote to me in an email. “They compete with many other causes in need of addressing. This includes government agencies, which compete with one another for their slice of the federal budget.”

Minton, in our conversation, used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an example of this trickle-down effect. CDC, being an agency of the U.S. federal government, is subject to federal appropriations like most of the other agencies. While HHS competes for its chunk of the federal budget to fund the entire department, CDC too also competes within the ranks of HHS to score the best possible “slice of the pie.”


“This is just one way that advocates use e-cigarette scaremongering to siphon money away from other issues,” Minton added. “It doesn’t include things like the millions the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/CDC/HHS hand out directly to advocacy groups.”

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