Joseph Magero
3 min readNov 5, 2019

Prohibition has never worked in the history of humankind. There are few policies so widely supported that have been disastrously counter-productive and unjust; prohibition being one of them. With over 7.1 million deaths from smoking every year, there is urgent need to cut cigarette consumption. Scientific evidence has shown that electronic cigarettes, snus ,and heating products are safer than traditional cigarettes.

In the U.S, illnesses from illicit THC cartridges have caused panic which has led to rash responses, with some calling for an outright ban on vaping altogether. With smoking rates on a steady decline thanks to vaping ,banning these products could reverse the decade-long decline in smoking rates.The problem with banning things is that it makes them more dangerous . Supply-side intervention never worked in the war on drugs and as long as demand remains , the black market will thrive. This is why the war on drugs is a failure.

It is deeply worrying that the fundamental rights of people who vape are constantly compromised by hostile supply reduction activities.Every individual has a right to access life-saving nicotine products without fear of punishment or discrimination.Some sections of tobacco control believe that people who smoke or use nicotine products are morally weak or deserve to be punished.

The iron law of prohibition states that the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes. If electronic cigarettes are prohibited, they will become more potent, will have greater variability in potency, will be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances, and will not be produced and consumed under normal market constraints. The iron law undermines the prohibitionist case and reduces or outweighs the benefits ascribed to a decrease in consumption.

Governments must begin to question the effectiveness of existing tobacco control mechanisms. They need to acknowledge that punitive enforcement has proven expensive and counterproductive and to reorient towards pragmatic health and harm reduction approaches that have been shown to minimize the effects of smoking among smokers.

A ban wouldn’t stop people from using nicotine . As long as cigarettes remain legal, vapers would most likely revert to the combustible cigarettes that still kill more than 7,000,000 people every year. It is vital that we keep options available to smokers .

The lessons of Prohibition remain important today. They apply not only to the debate over the war on drugs but also to the mounting efforts to drastically reduce access to safer nicotine products.Governments can move the debate forward by calling for more human-centered objectives and measurable indicators for the future.Evidence-based responses should be the standard for countries to enable them to curb the health and social consequences of safer nicotine alternatives. A better approach to regulation would establish objective, transparent standards for e-cigarettes, Snus and other nicotine products that give producers a clear idea of what will be allowed for sale.Regulate — do not ban !