Evil robots attack humans with e-cigarettes

Alex Lindley Copy Editor

Robot spies have set into motion their nefarious plot to destroy the human race: mass poisoning with electronic cigarettes. Good thing we have the heroes at the Department of Transportation to protect us from our pending demise.

Just kidding about the robots, but the DOT’s recent, paranoid measures against electronic cigarettes leads me to believe that robotic chemical warfare is one of the many suspicions that the DOT has regarding the alternative smoking devices.

Adhering to the typical bureaucratic inability to process change and/or gray areas, the DOT recently banned the use of electronic cigarettes-commonly known as e-cigarettes-on airplanes.

But why? The reusable plastic devices produce vapor instead of smoke and deliver nicotine-not the more than 4,000 other carcinogenic chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. That’s not to mention the habit-crushing effects that e-cigarettes appear to possess.

A study conducted at Boston University and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that roughly 70 percent of 216 study participants reduced their daily cigarette intake after six months of e-cigarette use, while nearly 30 percent kicked the habit altogether.

The DOT claims that the ban is intended to protect the health of airline passengers. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the man who brought airborne e-cigarettes to the DOT’s attention, told the Associated Press in an e-mailed statement, “We still don’t know the health effects of e-cigarettes, and we don’t want to turn airline passengers into laboratory mice.”

We still don’t know whether or not personal electronics cause cancer, though Oregon recently introduced a bill that requires brain cancer warning labels on cell phones. Yet, the DOT only prohibits cell phones on airplanes to prevent interference with air-to-ground radio communication-not to prevent the snoring guy in seat 26B from getting a tumor.

So far, no reason has surfaced to legitimately question the safety of e-cigarettes.

Of course, the legality of e-cigarettes isn’t just being questioned by the DOT. Many legislators want them illegalized, or given the same regulations as traditional cigarettes.

The opposition to e-cigarettes cannot come to terms with the highly successful method for quitting smoking, mumbling feeble arguments with a halfhearted effort to appear progressive. The only semi-valid argument centers on the appeal of e-cigarettes to children and teens.

Critics claim the bright colors and designs often found on e-cigarettes are too appealing to minors, and that a nicotine addiction in any form is unhealthy. Young people should try to avoid picking up habits, but the colors are not causing the addictions. Just walk to the nearest head shop-those “tobacco” pipes come in some pretty psychedelic designs, and they’re still legal.

The e-cigarette industry does have some advances to make, as there are no current age regulations on purchasing e-cigarettes, and more studies should be conducted.

E-cigarettes represent a step in the right direction for beating cancer and addiction, but the DOT and the legal system are hindering them in a paranoid, overly bureaucratized frenzy disguised as public health concern.

Maybe if the bureaucrats over at the DOT would relax some real change could happen.