FDA’s New Rules Against Smoking

FDA’s New Rules Against Smoking

Guy Bentley
Show Date
May 22, 2022
HealthCivil Libertiesconsumer protection
Cato Institute
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Created time
May 2, 2022 10:46 PM
Interview Date
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The sun has set on the Golden Era of Tobacco, much like the bygone Golden Era of Hollywood. Perhaps once movie stars stopped smoking cigarettes on the Silver Screen, audiences found the activity less glamorous. Or perhaps the dramatic decline in smoking rates was a more rational response by consumers and celebrities alike to new information about the dangers of tobacco products.

However, the regulators at the FDA are not content with people’s free and informed choices. They have moved to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, along with many flavored “vape” cartridges, in the name of public health and (of course) protecting the children.

Guy Bentley, Director of Consumer Freedom Research at the Reason Foundation, has been the “Voice of Reason” in multiple respects on this issue, calmly and rationally pointing out the facts that regulators have ignored, such as…

  • E-cigarettes have helped countless adults quit smoking.
  • Vaping is far less dangerous than traditional cigarette smoking.
  • Menthol bans will disproportionately affect African Americans.

And last, but not least, the continuation of failed prohibition policies — this time applied to cigarettes instead of alcohol or drugs — creates yet more victimless crimes and empowers law enforcement to abuse their power in new and creative ways.

Remember the cautionary tale of Eric Garner, detained and ultimately suffocated to death by a policeman for selling “loosies” outside a corner store? Bentley reminds us of this, and other flaws with the seemingly “liberal” policy of protecting people from themselves.

Guy joined me to review the evidence on relative harms to adults and children of various nicotine and tobacco products, and put the proposed FDA rule in its proper historical and modern context.


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