Oregon, California, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana. Six states and seven deaths within a single month, all apparently linked to e-cigarettes in the United States.

The story throws up so many questions it’s little wonder why the responses across the public, politics, and industry have been so confusing. Vaping is one of those boom sectors throughout developed economies, offering a technological solution to nicotine addiction that removes so many of the dangers associated with combustible tobacco. Individual rights, government responsibilities, the power of markets, the hard logic of science, and political struggles are all at stake. Then we have the politics of the politics. When the subject reached the presidential level, last week, it achieved another level of confusion when this tea-total, non-smoking, and anti-drug president seemed to forget that he’d had a son with the First Lady.