The Nov. 17 commentary “The Sudafed solution to the vaping problem” (Page D1) was the most shortsighted and poorly thought-out idea I’ve ever heard.

Bloomberg Opinion columnist Joe Nocera writes of former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler’s idea of how to keep vaping products out of the hands of young people. His brilliant idea (sarcasm), in short: Ban the sale of vaping products in all of their current outlets and sell them only in pharmacies.

It gets better. Not just pharmacies, but behind the pharmacy counter. By the pharmacist. His reasoning? “Pharmacists are generally more careful than gas-station clerks about who they sell to.” Gee, ya think?

The sheer volume of sales in shifting this product to only pharmacies would have lines out the door. All day. Every day. The “clerk” selling them would do nothing but that.

Mr. Kessler, of all people, should be aware that in the United States, medication errors are the third leading cause of death, and that this year, pharmacists will fill approximately 4.4 billion prescriptions. Pharmacists are highly educated professionals who have much more important things to do all day in order to improve your health than to sell e-cigarettes to hurt it. Like perhaps filling prescriptions and making sure they don’t kill you or your loved ones. Dealing with your insurance company. Administering immunizations. Answering drug and health care questions. I could go on in more detail.

Mr. Kessler, for more blatantly obvious reasons than I can state here: No, pharmacists will not be your e-cigarette clerks.


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