RANTZ: Progressives Ditch ‘Harm Reduction’ Support So They Can Ban Vaping Products

Rhiannon Griffith-Bowman smokes an E-Cigarette at Digital Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Health professionals are investigating why, suddenly, there’s a rash of lung illnesses related to the use of e-cigs and vaping devices. It’s almost assuredly linked to black market devices and juice pods tampered with by the users.

Progressives won’t let this crisis go to waste, combining concern over the illnesses along with recent data suggesting an uptick in teen vaping, to push for nonsensical bans. These efforts reveal a deep level of hypocrisy, and ultimately, will lead to more deadly habits.

When it comes to “harm reduction” strategies, progressive politicians and talking heads promote heroin-injection sites. Some call these illegal spaces “safe injection sites” because they’re monitored by a health professional to treat addicts at risk of overdose, but the fact that they need a nurse or doctor present literally means they’re not all that safe. This is exactly why the Trump administration has warned cities like Seattle, for example, to stay away from the addiction-enabling programs.

When the Trump administration warned Seattle to stay away from the addiction-enabling programs, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office decried, to the Seattle Times, the effort “to block a harm-reduction strategy to the opioid epidemic.”

Seattle is not alone, of course. Philadelphia is in a legal battle with the feds over the sites, and San Francisco Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener is pushing a bill to bring the heroin dens to California.

Harm reduction is where it’s at for these progressives!

Yet, when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping, suddenly, they want bans. San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes. Durkan immediately supported the “bold” move, saying it’s time to consider banning them in Seattle. Philadelphia has long sought regulations on the devices, too.

What happened to the Left’s love affair with harm reduction strategies? E-cigarettes and vaping nicotine is a popular tool used for smoking cessation. Cigarette consumption is considerably more dangerous than e-cigarettes. No one is saying they’re categorically safe; they’re saying it’s safer. It’s a similar argument progressives use when talking about heroin injection sites – only, in this case, we’re talking about a lawful-for-now device.

But what about the children? King County Executive Dow Constatine in Washington state declared “urgent action” needed to save the children! Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accused e-flavor makers of purposefully trying to “hook children on nicotine.” Democrats aren’t alone. President Trump, along with the First Lady, used kids’ health as an argument to ban e-cig flavors – except if, inexplicably, they’re tobacco flavored. Kids are often used as props in these debates. These bans are ludicrous.

Children are already banned from purchasing e-cig and vaping products. If you want to get them to stop using them, increase enforcement on shops that are illegally selling devices and increase funding to education programs – mimicking the very same ones that caused a decrease in smoking. And there’s even reason to believe that a ban like this will drive child-vapers back to cigarettes. If they’re going to consume one of these products, wouldn’t we rather have it be an e-cigarette, where they cut their exposure to toxic chemicals associated with burning tobacco?

The bigger unintended consequence of this kind of ban is that it likely brings smokers back to cigarettes. Adults overwhelmingly prefer the “kid-friendly” flavors than the tobacco one. Couldn’t this just push adults back to cigarettes? I thought this was about health.

Jason Rantz is a Seattle-based talk show host heard weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m.on KTTH 770 AM (subscribe to the podcast here). He’s a frequent guest on FOX News and occasional fill-in host for the Ben Shapiro Show. Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonRantz.