Get ready, e-cigarette users … the federal government is coming.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is dropping $270 million dollars on nearly fifty academic studies – a costly pretense for the forthcoming regulation of the $2 billion a year (and growing) industry.

Among other research, the government is paying for volunteer puff-counting, social media stalking of vapor users as well as “a virtual convenience store for 13-to-17-year-olds, measuring how e-cigarette displays and price promotions influence whether minors buy the increasingly popular devices,” the wire reported this week.

Wow.  And you thought the NSA was Orwellian …

At least fourteen million adults (and two million teenagers) have used vapor cigarettes – a population which is rapidly expanding (especially among younger users).  How does it work?  Easy: E-cigarettes use a battery-operated water vapor device to deliver nicotine to users with no smoke, no smell and no second-hand issues.

Not only is such a nicotine delivery system safer … it’s much cheaper than smoking, as recent cigarette tax hikes at the state and federal level have pushed the price of a pack of smokes to between $5-6 here in South Carolina.

Vapor cigarettes also render moot the issue of second hand smoke adversely impacting non-smokers …

This website has long supported vapor cigarettes … and consistently opposed efforts to subject them to unnecessary regulation and taxation.  Accordingly, we’re disappointed to learn of this costly ramp-up in federal scrutiny over the industry – which we have no doubt will lead to all sorts of new restrictions, rules and levies on e-cigarettes.