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Will A Political Party Take Up the Mantle of E-cigarettes?

By Tyler McCanus

Monday March 31, 2014
A look at politics and electronic cigarettes
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Will A Political Party Take Up the Mantle of E-cigarettes?

As the debate over electronic cigarettes continues to rage, one has to wonder if there will be a political party that will take up the mantle of e-cigarettes.

We already know that there are many Americans wary of the type of nanny state influence the government can exert, something members of the tea party movement can very much relate to and get behind.

But is this issue bound to be a divisive one in the future, or are we only going to see it on the fringes, far away from what a political party would incorporate into their campaigning?

It may be premature to think of the e-cig industry as having that sort of clout right now, a view that was pretty close to my own until I read this op-ed about a tax on e-cigarettes in New Jersey.

The author of the piece, Ashe Schow, ponders aloud if this move to tax e-cigarettes in New Jersey will hinder Governor Christ Christie’s potential presidential campaign. The reason being the utter distaste that many Americans, and conservatives especially, have for so-called nanny state laws.

When government puts on the books a law that seemingly harms our personal liberties, without very clear and specific reasoning to do so, the nanny state moniker is applied, implying that we are all children who need to be restricted from things that are “bad for us.” This type of government interference in our lives is almost up there with treason for those in the tea party movement.

The thing is, it’s not just those folks in the tea party movement (think of them what you will) that are against this type of government overreach. Ms. Schow links out to a very telling poll that clearly shows the apprehension many Americans, regardless of political party affiliation, have toward restrictions on things that are labeled as “bad for you” because of that label alone.

Things like buying caffeinated energy drinks or food with trans fat are listed in the poll and the majority who were surveyed are shown to be against prohibitions on them. Most interesting to us here at ECCR was the 62% of Americans that are against banning e-cigarette use in public places, almost twice the amount of those in favor. That goes directly against the recent trend of government bans on e-cigs and makes us wonder what the politicians proposing these restrictions are thinking.

WASHINGTON, DC - New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieWe’re looking at you, Chris Christie.

For a guy looking ahead at a potential run for president as a Republican, you would think he would steer clear of freedom-restricting moves such as this one.

While the proposal isn’t a ban, it does lump together e-cigarettes with regular cigarettes in as far as taxes go.

One big advantage e-cigarettes hold, and a huge reason to switch to them, is how much cheaper they are than analogue cigarettes.That’s akin to putting up a roadblock for a product that can do, and is already doing, so much good for so many people.Christie is turning off many voters in taking this type of stand.

I’m not talking about those in the tea party movement, but conservatives as a whole and libertarians of all kind. Those are the people he needs in the primaries. If they are paying attention to his decision with e-cigarettes, among other issues, they are not going to be too happy.

It does remain to be seen how much people really are paying attention to this, we’ll give you that much. Through the prism of our view here at ECCR, every story like this is a big one, but that doesn’t mean it will resonate with voters so quickly. Yet if political commentators are already writing about this issue as one that could affect a presidential campaign… well, it makes us feel like we aren’t alone and that the issue itself is picking up steam.

Will politicians’ decisions on how to treat e-cigarettes become a prime example of their nanny state tendencies? If so, we could see the devices thrust into the spotlight pretty soon.If a major political party takes up e-cigarettes as one example of the government going too far it will elevate the discussion and, hopefully, bring more of the truth to light.

In the meantime, here at ECCR we’ll keep doing our duty of shouting from the rooftops and contributing to this fast-growing community of e-cigarette users in any way we can.

Tyler,
Team ECCR

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