The Great East Texas E-Cig Debate

by admin on June 9, 2014

in Tyler Businesses

ecigThere is a controversy boiling up in East Texas right not, and based on the current mood and movement of local politics I think it’s only a matter of time before our illustrious local bureaucrats wade into the issue. Of course the issue in question is e-cigs, and this has got to be the absolute biggest much ado about nothing story to come down the pike since… what? Maybe ever!?

Ok so here’s how I see it. Local politicians hear that the city of New York has banned smoking in restaurants and public places. Tylerites (of which I am proudly one mind you), who desperately desire to be seen as big city sophisticates, say “hey that’s a good idea we should do that too.” And officially ban a form of “sin” in and around Tyler eateries. “Oh at last, I can go into a restaurant and not have to smell all the smoke or witness others having more fun than me! Thank you government for taking away their liberties!” Now before all the supporters of the ban jump down my throat, I realize I’m being sarcastic and over simplistic and I don’t plan on spending the entire article rehashing the old issue nor by the way, do I smoke anything more the very occasional cigar. I’m just trying to set the stage.

Enter an entirely new product designed to help smokers kick the habit that so annoys their fellow citizens. That product is of course the e-cigarette. Of course the e-cig substitutes smoke for water vapor, which doesn’t smell, burn the eyes or in any documentable way harm the people surrounding the user. With one exception, it looks like their smoking! And hence the problem, anti-smoking zealots see e-cig users as people who have found a way around the stigma they’ve successfully created and imposed and are managing to enjoy themselves without permission.

Now of course, to be sure that the image of the smoker remains stigmatized, all kinds of questions must be answered. “We don’t know what the long term health risks are!” Well so far studies are showing that there is really no grave risk. And even so, when do we apply this kind of prohibitive thinking to anything else in life. “I better not invent the automobile because someone might die in thirty years.” Or “I’d better not buy that motorcycle…” Or “I’d better not get that pool…” Come on people we’re Texans. We’re friendly, we don’t interfere with other people, and we’re willing to embrace a few risks in order to enjoy life.

I should say by the way, that I understand banning the use of e-cigs in courtrooms and in places where legal proceedings are held, but I don’t use my phone there either. It’s not a question of safety but decorum. But when people start calling for wider bans, I can only see their calls as an emotional response to an image in their minds. And we don’t take away people’s liberty to make unobtrusive choices simply because someone else is uncomfortable.

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