Fracking, Vaping, and the New Puritans

 

Around the turn of the millennium, it was conventional wisdom that nicotine was the worst possible thing for you, and that the world economy was on the brink of Peak Oil, which would soon send energy prices on a permanent upward spiral and slowly grind the economy to a halt.  Since then, two innovations have challenged these beliefs: vaping and fracking, both of which have attracted controversy.

Vaping provides nicotine, the chemical that gets you hooked on tobacco, without the tar.  Fracking revived the American natural gas industry, causing a major move away from coal and toward natural gas, and made the United States self-sufficient in oil, in the process turning North Dakota into Saudi Arabia with lutefisk.

Both these innovations were unexpected, and both were imperfect improvements on the status quo. While vaping is not nearly as bad for you as smoking, nicotine is still addictive. Switching from coal to natural gas is an improvement in terms of carbon emissions (a major reason why the United States is the only developed nation to meet its Paris Accords goal) but burning natural gas still releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby ruining Greta Thunberg’s childhood.

Both have faced a backlash from politicians. More practical Democrats, such as John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, have made their peace with fracking, but on the party’s liberal wing, support for banning it entirely is almost mandatory. Vaping has attracted bipartisan concern, to the point where the panic has led some to switch back to smoking.

H.L. Mencken famously defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Today, we might define Puritanism – at least with these issues- the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might come up with a solution you didn’t have in mind.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    The famous January 2017 Intelligence Assessment regarding the 2016 election campaign asserted in the appendix (which, of course, no one paid attention to) that the Kremlin was actively supporting opposition to fracking in the U.S. in order to weaken America so I am shocked, just shocked, to find Democrats acting as stooges for Putin!

    • #1
  2. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Jeff Ditzler: a major reason why the United States is the only developed nation to meet its Paris Accords goal

    A minor quibble.  The US had no Paris Accords goals.

    • #2
  3. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Smoking is a choice; addiction is a choice.

    “The main reason given by smokers for their failure to stop smoking is that they see themselves as addicted, and many smokers are very willing to describe themselves as “addicts” on the back of cessation failures. From a functional perspective, attributing smoking to a physical disease is attractive because the ‘addict’ label allows smokers to claim diminished responsibility for their behavior, diminished free will to control their behavior, and so, justification for discontinuing their efforts to quit without assistance.”

    And don’t forget the behavioral aspect of smoking. Do anything 20-30 times a day, for decades; you will find it difficult to stop….

    I’m sorry, what was this thread about again?

    • #3
  4. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    All humans should promptly assume room temperature to save the climate.  We all exhale that pollutant, carbon dioxide, all day every day.  Oh, yeah, and so do all the animals on Earth!  All animal life must die!  So who would be left to enjoy the perfect climate?  Only those plants.  But, without all the CO2 emitters, all the plants would die!

    • #4
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Jeff Ditzler: it was conventional wisdom that nicotine was the worst possible thing for you,

    That’s now how I remember it.  #1 was Y2K.  #2 was smoking.  #3 was second-hand smoking.  Nowhere on the list was nicotine or second-hand nicotine.  The danger of smoking was the *smoke* (ie particulate matter)

    • #5
  6. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):
    I’m sorry, what was this thread about again?

    I think it is about some kids that were vaping some frac’ing juice and listening to Prince.

    • #6
  7. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    Can’t they just plant more trees in North Dakota? Wouldn’t that take care of the extra CO2? Or do I have my basic science wrong?

    • #7
  8. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    Smoking is a choice; addiction is a choice.

    “The main reason given by smokers for their failure to stop smoking is that they see themselves as addicted, and many smokers are very willing to describe themselves as “addicts” on the back of cessation failures. From a functional perspective, attributing smoking to a physical disease is attractive because the ‘addict’ label allows smokers to claim diminished responsibility for their behavior, diminished free will to control their behavior, and so, justification for discontinuing their efforts to quit without assistance.”

    And don’t forget the behavioral aspect of smoking. Do anything 20-30 times a day, for decades; you will find it difficult to stop….

    I’m sorry, what was this thread about again?

    I smoked for about 15 years and towards the end 3 packs a day. I quit 37 years ago. Take it from me I was physically addicted. I had the shakes,couldn’t sleep even my bowel habits and condition changed when I quit. Of course this was all out weighed by good things happening. I would say it took a month or six weeks to get over the physical aspect of quitting.

    • #8
  9. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    I smoked for about 15 years and towards the end 3 packs a day. I quit 37 years ago.

    Good for you, Cheese! It’s different for everybody; I applaud all attempts and methods.

    And one of the most effective methods is vaping! These attacks on a godsend are woefully misguided.

    • #9
  10. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Jeff Ditzler:

    Both these innovations were unexpected, and both were imperfect improvements on the status quo. While vaping is not nearly as bad for you as smoking, nicotine is still addictive. Switching from coal to natural gas is an improvement in terms of carbon emissions (a major reason why the United States is the only developed nation to meet its Paris Accords goal) but burning natural gas still releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby ruining Greta Thunberg’s childhood.

    Great work! This paragraph is especially outstanding.

     

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Jeff Ditzler:

    Both these innovations were unexpected, and both were imperfect improvements on the status quo. While vaping is not nearly as bad for you as smoking, nicotine is still addictive. Switching from coal to natural gas is an improvement in terms of carbon emissions (a major reason why the United States is the only developed nation to meet its Paris Accords goal) but burning natural gas still releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby ruining Greta Thunberg’s childhood.

    Great work! This paragraph is especially outstanding.

    Seconded. 

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    One could almost be forgiven for thinking that angry rejection of partial solutions indicates control issues. 

    • #12
  13. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Juliana (View Comment):

    Can’t they just plant more trees in North Dakota? Wouldn’t that take care of the extra CO2? Or do I have my basic science wrong?

    If trees liked North Dakota they’d already be there.

    • #13
  14. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I’ll argue that the difference for me personally is that fracking has been a net positive, and vaping a net negative.  

    The reason:  my older kids would never have considered smoking.  They think it is disgusting.  But they vape.  They did not take up smoking as teenagers.  They just one day found themselves old enough to buy vaping products and figured it was cool (“…you charge it by USB!” one told me).  “It is better for you than cigarettes!” they say.  “But it isn’t better for you than doing neither!” rails dear old dad.  And of course, there’s no chance of your pack of Marlboro 100s spontaneously catching fire in your purse or backpack, as happened to my niece.

    I’ll agree: if you smoke cigarettes and can’t kick the habit, vaping might be a less bad alternative.  But in my own life I’ve seen people take up vaping just because they think it isn’t “that bad”.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Spin (View Comment):

    I’ll argue that the difference for me personally is that fracking has been a net positive, and vaping a net negative.

    The reason: my older kids would never have considered smoking. They think it is disgusting. But they vape. They did not take up smoking as teenagers. They just one day found themselves old enough to buy vaping products and figured it was cool (“…you charge it by USB!” one told me). “It is better for you than cigarettes!” they say. “But it isn’t better for you than doing neither!” rails dear old dad. And of course, there’s no chance of your pack of Marlboro 100s spontaneously catching fire in your purse or backpack, as happened to my niece.

    I’ll agree: if you smoke cigarettes and can’t kick the habit, vaping might be a less bad alternative. But in my own life I’ve seen people take up vaping just because they think it isn’t “that bad”.

    What does any of that have to do with government regulation?  

    • #15
  16. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    I’ll argue that the difference for me personally is that fracking has been a net positive, and vaping a net negative.

    The reason: my older kids would never have considered smoking. They think it is disgusting. But they vape. They did not take up smoking as teenagers. They just one day found themselves old enough to buy vaping products and figured it was cool (“…you charge it by USB!” one told me). “It is better for you than cigarettes!” they say. “But it isn’t better for you than doing neither!” rails dear old dad. And of course, there’s no chance of your pack of Marlboro 100s spontaneously catching fire in your purse or backpack, as happened to my niece.

    I’ll agree: if you smoke cigarettes and can’t kick the habit, vaping might be a less bad alternative. But in my own life I’ve seen people take up vaping just because they think it isn’t “that bad”.

    What does any of that have to do with government regulation?

    Nothing.  Why do you ask?  

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Spin (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    I’ll argue that the difference for me personally is that fracking has been a net positive, and vaping a net negative.

    The reason: my older kids would never have considered smoking. They think it is disgusting. But they vape. They did not take up smoking as teenagers. They just one day found themselves old enough to buy vaping products and figured it was cool (“…you charge it by USB!” one told me). “It is better for you than cigarettes!” they say. “But it isn’t better for you than doing neither!” rails dear old dad. And of course, there’s no chance of your pack of Marlboro 100s spontaneously catching fire in your purse or backpack, as happened to my niece.

    I’ll agree: if you smoke cigarettes and can’t kick the habit, vaping might be a less bad alternative. But in my own life I’ve seen people take up vaping just because they think it isn’t “that bad”.

    What does any of that have to do with government regulation?

    Nothing. Why do you ask?

    Just to be sure. The topic of regulation had come up in the OP.   

    • #17
  18. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jeff Ditzler: Fracking revived the American natural gas industry, causing a major move away from coal and toward natural gas, and made the United States self-sufficient in oil, in the process turning North Dakota into Saudi Arabia with lutefisk.

    That is a great line.  Well done, Mr. Ditzler.

    • #18
  19. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    All of the issues have to be understood as moves to enhance Washington political power.  The substance of the issue is usually irrelevant, it’s all about Washington power.  Of course the folks who are manipulated may actually care about the substance of an issue, but those who create and manage the issue understand what they’re doing.  What have they done to reduce Washington power in the last 20 or 30 years?  What issue has the left undertaken that is presented the same today as it was even just ten years ago?

     

    • #19
  20. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    The British magazine Lancet did a thought experiment regarding vaping. Just on the cancer causing nature of cigarettes alone, their conclusion was that a switch to vaping would reduce the societal harms of tobacco by 90 to 95 percent.

    When governments realized that they began to treat vaping as smoking, banning it in public places (despite the fact that the only exhalation a person vaping has is water vapor).

    I have come to the conclusion that governments hate vaping because it can move people away from smoking thus reducing cigarette tax revenues and settlement dollars from tobacco companies.

    Having people live longer is also a net negative for governments having to provide benefits to the aged.

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Instugator (View Comment):

    The British magazine Lancet did a thought experiment regarding vaping. Just on the cancer causing nature of cigarettes alone, their conclusion was that a switch to vaping would reduce the societal harms of tobacco by 90 to 95 percent.

    When governments realized that they began to treat vaping as smoking, banning it in public places (despite the fact that the only exhalation a person vaping has is water vapor).

    I have come to the conclusion that governments hate vaping because it can move people away from smoking thus reducing cigarette tax revenues and settlement dollars from tobacco companies.

    Having people live longer is also a net negative for governments having to provide benefits to the aged.

    The taxes on vaping products already account for any loss of revenue. They are dimwitted, but they are thorough.

    • #21
  22. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Percival (View Comment):
    The taxes on vaping products already account for any loss of revenue. They are dimwitted, but they are thorough.

    No, they don’t. There are two taxes on tobacco. The sales tax that users pay and the “settlement” that tobacco companies pay to states to fund expanded state healthcare mandates. Of course this money also happens to come out of user’s pockets. Taxes on vaping products doesn’t even come close to the the settlement dollars.

    • #22
  23. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Instugator (View Comment):

    The British magazine Lancet did a thought experiment regarding vaping. Just on the cancer causing nature of cigarettes alone, their conclusion was that a switch to vaping would reduce the societal harms of tobacco by 90 to 95 percent.

    When governments realized that they began to treat vaping as smoking, banning it in public places (despite the fact that the only exhalation a person vaping has is water vapor).

    I have come to the conclusion that governments hate vaping because it can move people away from smoking thus reducing cigarette tax revenues and settlement dollars from tobacco companies.

    Having people live longer is also a net negative for governments having to provide benefits to the aged.

    I don’t think it’s about the taxes.  People just naturally dislike other people enjoying themselves doing things that the first person doesn’t enjoy.  In centuries past it was drinking coffee and dancing the waltz.

    • #23
  24. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I don’t think it’s about the taxes.

    Singapore recently banned vaping. I cannot be because vaping is more dangerous that smoking. They have a very high rate of smokers and the evident desire is that they die earlier. 

    • #24
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