The Corner

The War Against Vaping: National Park Service Proposes New Puritan Exhibit (Itself)

Turn wearily to that old Mencken quote yet again: 

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

Virtue signaling (via  Wikipedia):

The term was first used in signalling theory, to describe any behavior that could be used to signal virtue, and especially conspicuous piety among the religious faithful.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie:

Because things can always be at least slightly worse, the National Park Service wants to permanently ban vaping wherever it bans smoking.

The Federal Register (referring to proposals to be published tomorrow):

The National Park Service (NPS) today proposed revisions to the regulations that address smoking in national parks. The proposed revisions would change the regulation that defines smoking to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The proposed revisions would also allow a superintendent to close an area, building, structure, or facility to smoking, which would include the use of ENDS, when necessary to maintain public health and safety.


“Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service,” said Michael Reynolds, Acting Director of the National Park Service. “It is clear from a recent rule by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a report by the Surgeon General that electronic cigarettes are a threat to public health, especially to the health of young people.”

I’d expected the ‘for the children’. That makes an appearance whenever nanny stirs, but junk science from the FDA, the Surgeon General, the National Park Service is, well, disappointing.

Nick Gillespie:

Let’s be real. Electronic cigarettes are not a threat to public health. If anything, by giving people a vastly less-toxic (and perhaps fully non-toxic) way to “smoke,” e-cigs are good for public health, here and abroad. As Jacob Sullum has noted, one of the main arguments against vaping is that it leads to the smoking of actual cigarettes, a finding that is evident everywhere except actual data of teen habits, European smokers, and elsewhere. Overwhelmingly, vapers use e-cigarettes to cut back on smoking or never progress beyond huffing air to sucking down menthols. And if you’re worried about “second-hand vaping,” don’t bother.

Read the whole miserable story here.  There will be an opportunity for the public to object to this proposal. They should take it, but probably won’t.