Walter Block: Vaping Products Bans are Fascist Paternalistic Idiocy

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Loyola University Economics Professor Walter Block did not hold back in responding to the Trump administration’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes, as well as efforts by local and state governments to impose various types of vaping-related bans. Interviewed Wednesday at RT by host Rick Sanchez, Block derided banning vaping products as “fascist,” as well as “idiocy,” “moronical behavior,” and “utter nonsense.” Like other prohibitions of adults engaging in nonviolent activities, Block categorizes prohibitions on vaping as improper paternalist actions by government.

Block, in the interview, begins his analysis of the matter stating:

What’s going on here is — I don’t know — idiocy, moronical behavior. It’s just utter nonsense, or they say, nonsense on stilts. I think you’re quite right that, if we have to ban anything, we should ban cigarettes based on saving lives. But, if we learned anything from alcohol prohibition, we shouldn’t ban anything for adults. Now, for kids, it’s different. I mean, paternalism is OK for kids, but not for adults.

Addressing the matter further, Block argues that laws restricting or prohibiting vaping, and other paternalistic laws, are examples of fascism “in the sense that its government cooperation with corporate capitalism — corporate monopoly capitalism, which all free enterprise [supporters] would oppose.” Discussing vaping prohibitions in particular, Block, who is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute, notes that, while people say the prohibitions are “just to protect the public,” “really what’s going on, as the public choice school and Austrian school of economics tells us, is this is a restriction on entry.” “They don’t want to compete or they can’t compete so they go to the government and say, ‘Hey, get rid of vaping,” continues Block, referring to the motivation for tobacco companies to support vaping prohibitions.

Considering potential threats to people’s health, Block calls vaping prohibitions “utterly ridiculous.” Argues Bock, “the vapers could say ‘Well, let’s get rid of cigarettes,’ and they would have a lot more sense on their side.”

Indeed, Jacob Sullum succinctly presents the health danger posed by vaping prohibitions, and by the prohibition planned by the Trump administration in particular, in a Thursday Reason article, writing:

By banning the kinds of e-cigarettes and e-liquid overwhelmingly preferred by adults who used to smoke, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will drive many of them back to a far more hazardous source of nicotine. The same sort of harm-maximizing substitution is apt to occur among teenagers, who may respond to the ban by switching from vaping to smoking. If so, the fear that vaping is a gateway to smoking will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Watch Block’s complete interview here:


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