The Nanny State Kills. Vaping Should Be Legalised

This great land of ours that was once a bastion of liberty, is now an overregulated nanny state, where practically any somewhat enjoyable activity is prohibited. The fun police are out in strength. Another annoying thorn in the side of liberty are the public health puritans who are also out in strength making sure that harm reduction is impossible.

A case in point is the public health puritans believe the only solution to the ills of tobacco smoking is complete abstinence. Virtue signalling is more important than results for these fundamentalists.  Let’s ignore the public health puritans and the fun-police for a moment, and look at the facts.

According to the Britain’s National Health Service, vaping is up to 95% less harmful. Vape liquid is made up of two core components; vegetable glycerine which is a clear, odourless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil and propylene glycol which as a substance used to create the thick mist in smoke machines. Both key ingredients in vape liquid are FDA approved in the United States, which mean that they are safe for human consumption.

We need to ‘Unshackle’ ourselves from the anti-tobacco lobby and realise that vaping doesn’t cause much harm, if hardly any at all.  The user of a vape knows exactly what is contained in their e-liquid, whereas the average smoker is exposed to a litany of over 7,000 toxic chemical agents. Some of the chemicals the average smoker is exposed to are such things as, paint striper, toilet cleaner, arsenic and rat poison. There is a statistically negligible amount of reported deaths due to vaping, whilst there has been around 100 million deaths due to tobacco smoking in the 20th century, more than both World War 1 and 2 combined.

‘Nicotine’ has become an evil word associated with smoking and ‘big tobacco’, although the killer in tobacco is not nicotine, in most cases, but it is fact the paint stripper, the toilet cleaner and the arsenic. Yes, nicotine can contribute to increased blood pressure, and can be bad for your heart, but this is not too different to the effects of caffeine to the user’s body if isolated and taken as a nicotine gum, or if it is contained in a vape. Psychologists and tobacco-addiction specialists, including some in world-leading laboratories in Britain, think it’s now time to distinguish clearly between nicotine and smoking. The evidence shows smoking is the killer, not nicotine, they say. I agree with the experts. We need to distinguish nicotine from smoking, because doing so will have great public health benefits.

If we paid attention to the evidence and legalised vaping it would be likely to reduce smoking rates, in the United Kingdom vaping has reduced smoking rates by 3 per cent from 18% of the population to 15% of the population. This is not only great for the nation’s health, but it is also good economically as Britain has a nationalised health service and the poor health of your neighbour has a direct effect on your bank balance.

Reduced smoking rates mean reduced taxation, as the state needs less money to take care of those who have fallen ill due to their smoking.  Legalising vaping would mean that we could direct our tax dollars into different avenues, allowing us to take care of more people to a better standard, but at the end of the day this isn’t the paramount question we should be asking, the question we should be asking is ‘why should the government tell me that I can’t undertake a practice to save my life?’ at the end of the day legalising vaping is a question of liberty, and accepting the fact that big brother does not always know what’s best for us.

People should be free to vape nicotine liquid e-cigs as they are grown adults. Grown adults are able to join the army, vote, drive and drink so why shouldn’t they be allowed to make a decision as take up smoking nicotine e-cigs to break, in some cases a lifelong dependence to a highly addictive drug? Nicotine is thought to be about as addictive as cocaine, and it is evil not to allow people to gain easy access in trying to improve their health.

I am not an anti-smoking crusader either, I think adults should be allowed to make their own decisions (as long as their decisions don’t have a direct negative effect on their neighbour, such as blowing 2nd hand smoke onto people), but at the end of the day government shouldn’t inhibit people from making decisions that benefit their health.

Let’s be frank about this as well, who smokes out of the 13% of Australians that do? It tends to be those Australian’s who are ‘lower-middle class’ and ‘working class’ and in many cases the mentally ill, who use cigarettes as a coping mechanism. It is unfair not to allow these to carry such a tax burden.

The average price of a 25 pack of cigarettes is $25, now that’s a dollar per cigarette, but $17 dollars out of that $25 dollars is made out of government taxation, that’s around 68% the price of a typical pack of cigarettes going into the government coffers.  The excuse the Government offers is that it goes back into the public health service to cover the costs of smoking, but in truth it is such an ugly burden that the lowest in society pay, to keep the extravagant spending of the government afloat.

A prominent study dubbed the ‘thank you for smoking study’ found that smokers have an actual net benefit to society, as they tend to die quicker, and are less likely to take up lengthy pensions, in fact their benefit is thought to be about 17 times that to the health system.

So, all that this heavy taxation on smokers does is prop up the part pensions of Australia’s upper middle classes who are too cheap to sell off personal assets that they want to pass onto their children. It does not actually address any public health concern.

All these heavy taxes on smokers, and this ban on e-cigs through calling nicotine a poison does is prop up middle class welfare, and encourage financial mismanagement from a government that makes upwards of 10 billion dollars a year out of the working-class battlers ‘dirty little habit’, it is completely counter-productive.

As a nation, we need to see the light, and acknowledge the facts.  Smoking kills, and vaping doesn’t in most cases. We need to make sure that the nanny state doesn’t take any more victims due to its ‘addiction’ to the smoker’s tax dollars. We should really legalise it straight away. It will reduce tax burden on the bottom 20% of our nation, it will allow people to breathe easy, it will reduce the risk of 2nd hand smoke exposure, and it will ‘unshackle’ our battlers from the shackles of our overreaching nanny state.

Jacob Watts

' Jacob Watts is The Unshackled Editor-at-Large and host of The Conservative File podcast. He is based in Geelong, Victoria where he conducts interviews and field reports.'

  • Olrence

    Good article and agree with every point. But please check your maths in para 11. $17 out of $25 is 68%, not 32%.