The Corner

Therapy Or Menace?

New York City has banned so-called e-cigarettes, or nicotine vaporizers, in all of the places where regular cigarettes are banned, which is effectively everywhere other than street corners and private homes. Minnesota is weighing restrictions, too, as are burgs large and small. Never mind that using an e-cigarette is not smoking — the whole point of the silly-looking things is not smoking — it sort  of resembles smoking, which is enough for the nanny powers that be.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service has received a recommendation that its doctors start prescribing e-cigarettes as a means to — get this — not smoking.

The NHS should consider prescribing electronic cigarettes after a major study found that those using the devices were 60 per cent more likely to quit than those using patches or gum.

Although e-cigarettes are yet to be licenced by the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, researchers at University College London said new evidence showed they were extremely effective at helping smokers to quit.

My first thought was that the world’s busybodies need some sort of international conference where they can get together and sort out what it is they want to ban vs. what it is they want to recommend as therapeutic, but then it occurred to me that they probably already have a conference like that, and, if they don’t, I don’t want them getting any ideas.

At some point, we’re going to have to decide whether we want government to help us do things or want it to tell us what to do. I live in New York City, and I can tell you that this town has more pressing problems than whether a guy in a bar uses a nicotine vaporizer. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t make my top-10, top-100, or top-1,355 list of things to worry about in New York City. Maybe start with the fact that the city is covered up with rats like some medieval plague nightmare and the fact that the trains don’t work. We have a lot of nasty little fights over non-issues while very large problems go unaddressed; it’s almost like there’s some sort of strategy at work there. 

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