The government selectively banning vices is creating a moral debate

Over the past few weeks, the national conversation has shifted thanks to the Trump administrations’ perusal of banning flavored e-cigarettes. State legislators across the country have also taken steps to ban e-cigarettes, including Illinois. What this led to is a national conversation focused around the government banning people’s vices, and whether that’s the way to go.

Though e-cigarettes are the focus of the public right now, there is a large number of vices that are currently banned or heavily regulated. Vices, for the most part, are wrongdoings and harmful behaviors that humans are susceptible to engaging in. While not every human engages in these behaviors, most people have some vice. From cannabis to alcohol, and even soda, the national government has been favoring some wrongdoing over others.

Since the Nixon administration, for example, the US government has had a fierce anti-cannabis policy that continues to this day. Despite cannabis being safer than alcohol, tobacco, and conventional opioids, it remains illegal in the same class as drugs with much higher addiction and death rates. Now, the question of whether the government has the power to restrict these substances is obviously yes. The government has both the duty and the ability to regulate drugs and other vices to keep the population safe. However, the question comes down to whether the government should ban some of these substances, especially when it’s hugely selective when doing so. 

I believe that the government should not ban vices so quickly, and so selectively. Drug control policies hardly ever work and are both massively expensive and ineffective at actually stopping the drug problem in the respective country. Countries like Portugal decriminalized all drugs and have seen a massive drop in Drug-related deaths in the end when it comes to vises like marijuana, alcohol, and vaping, no matter what the government does teenagers will still find a way to obtain their wrongs. 

Additionally, the fact that the government has chosen to ban flavored e-cigarettes is explicitly rather strange. The ban itself won’t affect menthol-flavored cigarettes even though they’re technically flavored and only goes after flavored cigarettes because they attract children. Putting aside the massive tobacco lobby that has influenced this decision, ultimately all this does is restrict a vice will others run rampant around the US. Some may argue that the government should do what’s best for the sake of their people; however,  just how much should the government be allowed to restrict the people for their safety.