Over-regulation defeats the purpose of e-cigarettes

Former smokers who vape should be applauded, not ostracized.

In her commentary supporting heavy-handed restrictions on e-cigarette use, Interim City Health Commissioner Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey misses a central point about how and why e-cigarettes are so widely touted as a way to reduce the harm from smoking ("Regulate Baltimore's e-cigarettes," Oct. 22).

By banning their use in public and indoor spaces, Baltimore would take away a competitive advantage that public health advocates should want e-cigarettes to have over regular cigarettes.

Ms. Duval-Harvey's approach would cause the real public health heroes, former smokers who vape, to go outside bars and restaurants with other smokers. She may as well just offer them a light because many are bound to go back to smoking.

Her claims that e-cigarettes are entirely unregulated and will lead to a new generation of smokers are rhetorical arguments that don't stand up under analysis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working diligently to regulate e-cigarettes in a way that protects their public health potential while minimizing any risks. That's why the agency, as well as states and cities across the country, are banning sales to minors, but not treating e-cigarettes as if they were regular cigarettes.

Jeff Stier, Washington

The writer is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

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