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E-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without tobacco or combustion, are the most important harm-reducing alternative to smoking ever developed, one that could prevent millions of premature deaths in the United States alone. Yet bureaucrats and politicians seem determined to negate that historic opportunity through regulations and taxes that threaten to cripple the industry.

When a court-set deadline for “premarket” approval of vaping products came and went Sept. 9, the Food and Drug Administration had received millions of ­applications but had not approved any. [...]