Regulation has an odd impact on industries; take the cigarette industry for example. In a quest to stop people from smoking governments have legislated and regulated to point where the purchase of e-cigarettes are both socially and financially preferable to traditional cigarettes.
You would think this would make them happy. After all e-cigarettes do not produce second-hand smoke and aren’t carcinogenic. These are after all the ‘evils’ for which tobacco industries and smokers have been persecuted. But true to form, there are moves afoot to regulate e-cigarettes out of the market in the US, backed by The American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
If they do ban e-cigarettes then we will be on a slippery slope to the dangers of prohibition. As things stand, the wonders of human ingenuity, has thrown up a solution to the heavy hand of government, allowing those who can stand the indignity of having to smoke fake cigarettes, to do so without the some of the negative externalities as have existed in the past.
The logic of many involved in the anti-smoking movement leads us to prohibition, the reality of which will involve the balance of power shifting from consumers (who are increasingly becoming criminals) to the vagaries of the black market and the increased dangers and deaths that result.