Cigarettes are bad for your health. But government meddling can be, too.
Article by Brad Polumbo from FEE.
That reality isn’t stopping the Food and Drug Administration from possibly embarking on its latest public health regulatory crusade. New reports reveal that the Biden administration is considering mandating a decrease in the amount of nicotine in cigarettes in hopes of reducing addiction.
“The Biden administration is considering requiring tobacco companies to lower the nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the U.S. to levels at which they are no longer addictive,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The nicotine-reduction policy under consideration would lower the chemical in cigarettes to nonaddictive or minimally addictive levels, aiming to push millions of smokers to either quit or switch to less harmful alternatives such as nicotine gums, lozenges or e-cigarettes.”
Where the nanny state goes, unintended consequences and black markets will follow.https://t.co/pxCRQJVvLn
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) April 19, 2021
The goal behind this proposal is both clear and benevolent. Nicotine is an addictive substance, and cigarette smoking is bad for your health, increasing the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. By limiting nicotine addiction and thus cigarette smoking, the FDA undoubtedly hopes this rule would save lives. But as is so often the case with nanny-state regulatory proposals, mandating lower nicotine content in cigarettes would likely have unintended consequences that far outweigh any benefit—and could even prove lethal.
1. More Smoking Means More Cancer
Millions of Americans are addicted to nicotine, and an FDA mandate isn’t going to change that. Were the amount of nicotine in cigarettes lowered by law, many people would respond by smoking more total cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. Because it is tar and other carcinogenic substances in cigarettes that cause cancer—not the nicotine itself—this would likely mean more cases of lung cancer and more premature deaths.
Yes, some might respond by reducing their consumption or switching to alternatives, but given how addictive nicotine is and how ingrained smoking is as a habit for many people, it seems nearly certain many people would respond by smoking more, not less. As a result, the FDA’s well-intentioned rule would make our lung cancer problem even worse.
2. Black Market Products Could Be Dangerous and Even Deadly
While pre-pandemic life does sometimes feel like a distant memory, you might remember the great panic over “vaping deaths” in 2020.
Mysterious lung illnesses resulting in at least 33 deaths were initially linked to e-cigarette use, also known as vaping. But studies and closer examination revealed that legal vaping products, already in use for years with no recorded deaths, weren’t to blame. Almost all of the cases of illness and death were eventually traced back to black-market THC products used in vaping, unsafe products that only emerged because marijuana is still illegal in most of the United States.
Something similar could happen with traditional cigarettes if the FDA’s nanny-state rule goes through.
Many smokers won’t be happy with the new weak cigarettes for sale at legal storefronts and may turn to black markets to buy stronger stuff. Because black market dealers have little business accountability or oversight, there’s a greater chance that the products could be laced with dangerous substances or dangerously made.
In short, more people could die needless deaths from black-market purchases gone wrong.
Unintended Consequences Inevitably Plague Nanny-State Interventions
Were the FDA’s rule to backfire in these ways, the fiasco would, unfortunately, just be par for the course. It’s typical for unintended consequences—sometimes deadly—to plague big government interventions into the minutiae of daily life.
“Every human action has both intended and unintended consequences,” economist Antony Davies and political scientist James Harrigan explained for FEE.org. “Human beings react to every rule, regulation, and order governments impose, and their reactions result in outcomes that can be quite different than the outcomes lawmakers intended.”
The tobacco industry is no exception.
The FDA’s Good Intentions Won’t Make Up For Its Deadly Results
As economist Robert P. Murphy put it, “It’s not enough… to endorse legislation that has a nice title and promises to do something good. People need to think through the full consequences of a policy, because often it will lead to a cure worse than the disease.”
I don’t doubt the good intentions of the FDA bureaucrats and Biden administration officials considering this rule. But intentions matter little when results are potentially deadly.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!
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JD Rucker – EIC