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SMOKING: Burden of proof is on regulators

Letter by Schuyler C. Schaff, Auburn on May 16, 2011 at 9:47 am with 15 Comments »
May 16, 2011 1:55 pm

Re: “If e-cigarettes aren’t harmful, then prove it” (Viewpoint, 5-13).

I find it surprising that a person of Dr. Anthony Chen’s education is so unclear on burden of proof. Of course, the burden of proof that a regulation is necessary is on the regulator.

There is evidently no data on the safety of vaping; otherwise he would have presented it. Without evidence, he is trying to protect us from an imaginary or, at best, potential danger.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    “There is evidently no data on the safety of vaping: otherwise he would have presented it.”

    Not entirely true… If there were data and it suggested vaping was relatively harmless, there is absolutely no way in the world he would have presented it.

  2. aislander says:

    The animus behind the proposed ban on e-cigs is a desire for control and perhaps irritation at being outflanked by some citizens. It IS kind of Kool to flout a meddling law without REALLY flouting it, and that has really gotten the goat of the busybodies in the health department…

  3. Publico says:

    e-cigs are a nicotine delivery system. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. We know that already. The author’s premise is bogus.

  4. aislander says:

    No intrusion by government is too much, huh, Pub…?

  5. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    The author’s premise is that the regulators are trying to regulate the delivery device instead of one of the products it delivers, which is all the voters gave them the power to regulate.

    Nicotine is optional in e-cigs. Outlawing them for that reason would be no different than outlawing all beverages in alumninum cans because some of them contain alcohol. If you want to regulate who can buy beer, and when and where they can drink it because its a danger to their health, fine. But you can’t say that because of the health risks posed by beer consumption, no one can drink anything that comes from an aluminum can.

  6. You say hiking, para-gliding, swimming, bicycling, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, mountaineering, driving, crossing streets, climbing ladders, walking the streets of Tacoma are not harmful? Then prove it!

  7. As I stated on another article about this issue, if the Health department wants to do something positive for people’s health, start inspecting some of these roach coaches parked all over the place selling tacos and who knows what else. Try checking some of these other “ethnic” type places that anyone with a set of eyes can see are dirty, grease traps. There must be some “incentive” for them to turn the other way huh?

  8. Dave98373 says:

    When is smoking not smoking? In Auburn! By S. Schaff. “Smoking” is not “Vaping.” What the hell is “Vaping” anyway with respect to smoking?
    E-smoking, Vaping (whatever that is), inhaling, not inhaling (Bill Clinton) is all the same as “medicinal” marijuana. Non-sensical double-talk to rationalize and justify criminal behavior!

  9. Dave98373, what did you say?

  10. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Dave 98373, you ar spot on with the non-sensical designation for bogus ideas like “medical” marijuana and “vaping”. The person “unclear on the burden of proof” is letter writer Schaff–this burden lies with the party proposing an action, thus, it is on “vaporware” producers to establish safety. One other thing, go ahead and vape, people, but not in public. The rest of us don’t want second hand vapors, toxic with nicotine or not.

  11. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    You are right: the burden is on the party proposing action. In this case, it’s the county. The “vaporware producers” aren’t suggesting any changes. The law currently prohibits smoking. Vaping is not smoking and it is legal. The county is suggesting a prohibition in addition to the one already on the books, thus the burden is on them.

    See my earlier comment regarding aluminum cans and try this scenario on for size: Imagine alcohol were illegal because of its health risks. Now imagine the county wanted to prohibit Pepsi because it comes in the same container that some alcohol comes in. The county health department says that because Pepsi is like alcohol in one way, it is in all ways, including the health risks. Before Pepsi can be banned, the burden of proof is on the health department to show that Pepsi is as dangerous as alcohol, and not on Pepsi to prove it is harmless.

  12. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    APNS–Framed the way you just did, you are certainly correct that a burden would be on the County, if it needed some proof. This is a policy decision–take the vapors, but privately, thank you. I don’t want to wait the usual 10 years for evidence that it is/isn’t harmful to me and others when used in public. Start the research now and producers will have what they need to “go public” in 10 years, if they are right that there is no harm. No problem!

  13. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    I certainly understand your frustration at how long it takes for reliable studies to be produced, but do we really want to live in a society that prohibits the public use of a legal product because it looks like something we don’t like? What happens in 10 years when they’ve done the studies and find that vaping is not only perfectly healthy, but also an effective method to stop smoking, yet we’ve spent 10 years in the interim denying legitimate business owners the right to freely develop their business models and we’ve denied smokers open access to what may be their best chance at quitting?

    Do the studies, but in the mean time don’t infringe on the rights of people who, to the best of our knowledge, aren’t hurting anyone.

  14. APimp, great comments. Regrettably, the liberals won’t get it.

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