A bill introduced in California would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. While it’s not clear that there are a significant number of minors buying the products anyway, nobody wants to get kids hooked on nicotine. This is a much more sensible approach than that pursued here in Oregon, where the AG is strong-arming stores to take them off shelves.
To put the issue in clearer perspective, be sure to read Jacob Sullum’s post (linked in the sidebar too) about a new study on the effects of smokeless tobacco (as in snuff and snus, not e-cigs). The conclusion:
This comparison highlights the absurdity of the main “public health” objection to promoting smokeless tobacco as a harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes. Opponents of this strategy claim to be worried that it could lead to more tobacco-related mortality in the long run if it attracts nonsmokers to smokeless tobacco. But Lee and Hamling’s numbers indicate that if a significant percentage of smokers switched to oral snuff, the tobacco-related death toll would be smaller than it is now even if every nonsmoker in America started using oral snuff too. By the professed standards of public health, which seeks to minimize morbidity and mortality, this is a no-brainer. As with the opposition to electronic cigarettes, something else is going on here: a moralistic crusade to conquer sin disguised as a scientific quest to conquer disease.
For a variety of reasons, cigarettes are by far the most dangerous form of tobacco/nicotine. Occasional pipe and cigar use, snuff, and e-cigarettes are all safer by varying degrees, but the moral crusade of public health has placed discussion of these alternatives off limits.
[Thanks to Jan for the link!]