Don’t ban e-cigarettes on airplanes

Editor’s Note: Marc Scribner is a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank in Washington, D.C. He specializes in transportation and telecommunications policy issues. CEI has received funding from the tobacco industry and e-cigarette industry in the past. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Story highlights

Department of Transportation has a proposal to ban e-cigarettes in planes

Marc Scribner: This has more to do with pushing a nanny-state agenda than promoting public health benefits

CNN  — 

These are good times for anti-smoking campaigners. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to their rhetoric. At the urging of anti-tobacco activists, the Department of Transportation is proposing to ban electronic cigarette use aboard aircraft.

This impending regulation not only defies medical evidence but makes a mockery of the law in the process.

The use of e-cigarettes among U.S. adults more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tobacco industry predicts e-cigarette sales will surpass traditional cigarettes in the coming decades. This signals great progress from a harm-reduction standpoint, since the best available scientific evidence suggests that while e-cigarettes may bring health risks, they are far smaller than those associated with tobacco smoking.

Marc Scribner