14 September 2011

HPV, Smoking and Sinning

Mrs. SB7 and I were talking last night about the Rick Perry/HPV vaccine brouhaha that has flared up recently.  I am told that some people are of the opinion that vaccines against STDs "encourage promiscuity" by lowering the costs of sexual activity.

This seems to be an opinion held by socially conservative Christians. [Many] Smart Liberals seem to think this is absurd.*  But I want to point out that our very own FDA, as well as liberal anti-smoking groups, apply the exact same thinking to electronic cigarettes. (See here, here and here.) Just last year the FDA attempted to ban them because they reduced the harm from tobacco use. Things like this, and NIH banning smoking from outdoor areas on its campus even while admitting there was no health reason to do so, make it clear that this is essentially a religious issue for many.  It is not the adverse consequences of tobacco use they wish to minimize, but the sinful use of tobacco itself.

*And indeed it is. Not because it recognizes incentives, but because it conflates goals.  If you think sexual activity leads to bad consequences then the goal should be to reduce the bad consequences, not to reduce sexual activity itself.  (And if you think it's the sex itself which must be avoided for its own sake, then the cancer risks, along with other consequences, are irrelevant.  Also, please come out and say that.)


  1. hmmm. as a SmartLiberal I would like to formally distance myself from those that are trying to ban electronic cigarettes. Is there a form I can fill out or something.

  2. That is because you are merely a smart person, and not a self-declared Smart Person. It's a subtle distinction ; )