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Economist Who Believes In The Benefits Of Vaping Wins Nobel Prize

Economist Who Believes In The Benefits Of Vaping Wins Nobel Prize

 

Richard Thaler, renowned economist at the University of Chicago, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences on Monday (October 9). Thaler is famous for pointing out the contradictions in human logic that make economics messy – someone who'd drive an extra 10 minutes to save $10 on a $45 radio, for example, wouldn't drive that same 10 minutes to save $10 on a $495 TV. You can read about some more of his findings here, but let's tie this back to vaping – Thaler was an early champion of nudge theory, which suggests that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions supporting a behavior can be even more effective than direct commands.

 

In other words, pointing out that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes will win more converts than propaganda that demonizes smokers ever will.

 

Nudges are actually quite interesting – not only do they help people quit smoking, they've encouraged people to become organ donors and even encouraged people to voluntarily pay their taxes.

 

The only problem? While Thaler's theories have been proven effective around the globe, particularly in Britain where smoking rates are hitting all-time lows as vaping is encouraged by public health bodies, US authorities continue to prefer the "stick" approach to that of the "carrot."

 

Will further proof nudge local and federal authorities toward a more commonsense approach that, at least in the intermediate term, embraces vaping as a powerful force to combat tobacco use? We'll continue watching and waiting, but it assuredly won't be with bated breath.

acuity