Late yesterday, Tennessee lawmakers passed vital consumer protection legislation that would safeguard consumers and businesses from misinformed and unaccountable local government bureaucrats banning life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternatives. This marked the passage of the third such bill in the last week, as Florida and Montana lawmakers similarly took steps to safeguard their citizens from threats arising from local governments.

Recent months have seen a concerted effect by numerous local governments to take advantage of their relative lack of transparency and scrutiny to effectively ban the sale of e-cigarettes. This is despite these products being proven to be 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, more than twice as effective as any other nicotine replacement therapy, and endorsed by over 40 of the world’s leading medical bodies as an effective quit smoking tool. According to Georgetown University Medical Center, e-cigarettes have the potential to save 6.6 million American lives over the next decade.

When local government bureaucrats ignore the science and place their own ideological agenda above the interests of their citizens, it is imperative that state governments step in to protect their citizens. Were these bills not passed, dozens of businesses would have been forced to shut down, hundreds of jobs would have been lost, state governments would have lost significant excise revenue to the black market, and tens of thousands of people who quit smoking would have potentially taken up the deadly habit.

Missouri, Idaho, South Carolina, and Arizona lawmakers are expected to face similar votes in the coming weeks, and in the interests of public health and good government, it is imperative they do so.