It can be frustrating even when we win.

Recently in Sweden, vapers got a very favorable court reason for all of the wrong reasons:

A Swedish court on Wednesday overturned an earlier judicial decision banning the sale of e-cigarettes.

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that e-cigarettes are not medical products, and therefore the National Drug Agency could not oppose its sale.

“To be a medical product, it must have the ability prevent or treat a disease and, therefore, provide a beneficial effect on human health,” the court’s ruling read.

The e-cigarettes “do not contain instructions on how they could be used to reduce the consumption of cigarettes or nicotine addiction,” according to the court.

In other words, something with tremendous potential benefit was un-banned for not having that potential benefit. Well, that’s only part of the case. But the irony has not been lost on vaping advocates:

The most sublime part of this ruling was the fact that [the Swedish Medicines Agency]’s case was built on their claim that since ecigs are effective cessation products, they should be brought under their juristiction in line with patches, gums, Chantix and other medicinal cessation products. The court ruled that after consideration of the available “evidence”, they didn’t consider ecigs to be effective cessation products.

So in their own special way, anti-vaping buffoon Glantz and the army of junk-science spouting “researchers” around the world have helped to prevent ecigs being banned as illegal/unlicensed medicines. It’s a delightful irony that a case whose central premise appeared to have been “These things are awesome cessation products, let’s ban them” has been rejected.

Of course, being who I am, I take a bit of the opposite view, which is that our argument, that it is a way to transition from a more harmful product to a less harmful one, was rejected in our victory.

Which does a good job of highlighting the absurdity of the current state of affairs.

Now, as not-great as the situation is in the USA, we’re at least not that far along. Or perhaps we’re further along, because the FDA tried to ban the product and failed, and so we have the product. But even when the government tried to ban it, they did so under the idea that the product is harmful and not that the product is helpful.

Even so, you can see trappings of the same conversation here in the debate about advertising. We allow ecigarette companies to advertise, but we do not let them even suggest that their product might be helpful for smoking cessation. We want smokers to vape and stop smoking, and we don’t want non-smokers to vape, but we’re forcing the ecigarette industry to advertise the product as a product in itself and not for the use we would prefer they advertise for.

There is a bit of logic here in that we don’t want them making false medical claims. We don’t want them saying that they’re completely safe because we don’t know that they are and they probably are not. We maybe don’t want them to say that they’re definitively safer than cigarettes because while that is almost certainly true, we don’t know. But saying that they are probably less risky than cigarettes is a true message worth conveying that legally cannot be conveyed by the people selling the product.


Category: Statehouse

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