Politicians Pretend Airlines Can’t Protect Customers from Second-Hand Vaping

Don’t businesses already have an incentive to keep customers from being inconvenienced or harmed by vaping?

As you probably already know, vaping is the new term for using “electronic cigarettes” which allow you to inhale nicotine without smoking tobacco. I’ve heard that nicotine is an intelligence booster and have wondered about experimenting with it. But even if I found it helped, I’m not sure I would want to feel dependent on the expense. Plus, I’m not certain that vaping is safe for your lungs. And long-term use of nicotine probably will lead to other health problems.

So I’ve never vaped and don’t plan to.

But that doesn’t mean I think we need yet more prohibitionism from our government. The latest push is especially stupid. On the Charles Koch Institute website, we read, “New Calls Surface for Bans on Electronic Cigarettes.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey has pushed for further restrictions e-cigarettes, calling for a ban on their use in airplanes in a letter to the Department of Transportation earlier this week, a move that will undoubtedly upset those enthusiastic about this new technology.  The ban would prevent anyone on an aircraft using electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other vaping devices that are designed to look like everyday items, such as pens. It attempts to enhance passenger comfort and reduce confusion surrounding the use of e-cigarettes.

The rule was originally proposed by the Department of Transportation in 2011, but no further action was taken, and so far, the proposed ban has not yet been finalized and enforced. Pallone called the delay “unacceptable,” writing “I urge you to immediately finalize the rule to ensure federal law is clear and e-cigarette use on aircrafts is banned”.

Many airlines, including United Airlines and KLM, have already banned vaping devices on their aircraft, often for the health and comfort of their passengers. However, some airlines allow some e-cigarette use onboard. Ryanair Ltd., a low-cost airline based in Ireland, allows customers to use electronic cigarettes as long as they use Ryanair’s “smokeless cigarettes” which are sold inflight.

Unbelievable. Airlines are making their own decisions on the basis of what they think their customers want. Obviously, this outrage must be stopped! We need Pallone to use the power of the state to coerce and threaten and plunder so he can save us from all this international diversity. Surely it is self-evident that every airline must be exactly the same and enact the same policies. “Ownership” is your tax liability, not your freedom to make decisions about what to do with what you own.

The Koch Institute post points out that a recent study determined that vaping is “no more harmful than breathing air.” But the science is never settled until the politicians have decided on a policy. Pallone claims there is a lack of evidence for the safety of e-cigarettes. Safety for whom? If the vaping is done through a smokeless device then there is not even an inconvenience to other passengers. What is Pallone claiming? Is he saying that people who are completely free to vape suddenly lose their right to make their own decisions about their health and nicotine as soon as they step on a plane? Why?

What is amazing is how already four states have banned vaping in public areas with no scientific evidence that there is any health concern to support such bans. The rule seems to be that “Statists are going to state.” Prohibition is the first instinct and gut reaction of politicians and people who think politicians are socially useful.