“it is not fair to our children to ask them to pay a potential price…for a hypothetical benefit to adult smokers.” In fact, he said, “it is egregious to suggest that we need to have kids do this in order for adults to quit.”

This is taken from the testimony of Tim McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a Senate Hearing on Thursday May 15th, 2014.  It seems that among some health experts there is a fear that the use of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs, or “vaping”) will encourage teenagers to smoke actual cigarettes.

All well and good – I suppose that’s why we have highly paid people working at places like The Office on Smoking and Health – to worry about things that hardly anyone else worries about.  I mean, things have a right to be worried about don’t they?  Hmmm…might have to think about that one.  Because there are some things that deserve to be worried over that aren’t getting the attention they deserve;  Specifically whether the liberaliztion and in some cases outright legalization of marijuana use might be encouraging teenagers to smoke –  not cigarettes, but marijuana.

As I have written before, I believe there are these two things taking place today, the “normalization” of marijuana use and the appearance of E-cigs as a smoking substitute and that they have obvious parrallels; and it is unfathomable to me that nowhere in the media or government do I see anyone connecting the dots.  Cigarette smoking is considered a public health issue, and deservedly so, though I do take some issue as to where the line is being drawn between regulation/prohibition and one’s personal freedom to chose.  You see, I’m pro-choice regarding cigarette smoking;  I’m also pro-choice regarding marijuana smoking.  What I do not understand is how all the worrying and hand-wringing about the ever so slight possible harm posed to children and teenagers by e-cigs does not in any way carry over into what I believe is the more likely potential harm caused to young people by increased marijuana use.  I don’t think anyone is arguing that there is no risk to young people associated with relaxed marijuana regulation – I just don’t think anyone’s talking about it at all.  To the extent there even is a debate, it is primarily whether legalization/increased use is better for adults or society as a whole.  Meanwhile there is frequent discussion nationwide over the looming threat posed by e-cigs, a threat so dire they should be banned.  Banned – instead of being hailed as a benefit to public health, which in my opinion they are.  Banned – also in my opinion, because they “look like” smoking, and are percieived a successful “end-around” of smoking regs by smokers.  And we can’t let the smokers win.

Since these public health “debates” always end up being about the best way for do-gooders to bully adults around because their behavior might possibly wound a precious child, can we at least invite marijuana to the witch trial?

This post inspired by an article I read at Reason.com