Should Vaping Be Taxed Like Tobacco Cigarettes?

The FDA calls electronic cigarettes “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS). To them, e-cigs are a tobacco product. Why should what they think matter? The European Union is taking steps to tax e-cigarettes in the same way that they tax tobacco products. The EU recently completed the process of receiving comments from the public about this matter. Several questions come to mind on the subject of taxing electronic cigarettes in the same way as combustible cigarettes. For example, taxes on traditional cigarettes are deliberately high in order to dissuade as many people as possible from taking up smoking. Are e-cigarettes equally dangerous to the point of deserving such “punitive” taxes? Whatever decision is taken in the EU is likely to have a bearing on what happens in the US and other jurisdictions. Read the full discussion on this debate and see whether the proposed taxes are justifiable or not.

Why Governments Should Give Vaping More Support

Public Health England (PHE) seems to be taking the lead when it comes to institutional and regulatory support for the use of electronic cigarettes as a way to reduce the harm that smokers face when they remain addicted to nicotine. The FDA doesn’t appear to be looking at this harm reduction angle when it seeks to regulate e-cigs in the same way as it regulates traditional cigarettes. Dr. Joe Kosterich writes a compelling article which shows that the authorities, such as the Australian government, aren’t being reasonable when they ban or severely restrict the use of e-cigarettes since they will, in effect, be telling smokers that it makes no sense to switch from one heavily restricted product (combustible cigarettes) to another heavily regulated product (e-cigs). Most studies on vaping agree e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes. Should the health of existing smokers be left on the line just because “the long-term effects of vaping are unknown”? Read the entire article and come up with your own answers to that and other questions about the mixed messages coming from regulators.

Issue #6

Issue #6 – It’s been a busy 2018 already with so many articles to read and so many articles to review! It’s March and it’s cold in parts of the country. Do what you can to stay warm! And as always – if you think we’ve missed something, drop us a line on our Submission Page.

Public Health England Busts Vaping Myths
Published: 2018-02-20
The conversation about electronic cigarettes has mainly been polarized between those who are in favor of those devices and those who are opposed to them. This has often made it hard for a neutral person to decide who to believe on the degree of the safety or risk posed by electronic cigarettes. Public Health England (PHE) has now come out to dispel some of the many myths that abound regarding e-cigs. For example, they have explained that it isn’t true that secondhand vapor can harm bystanders. People with respiratory complications, such as asthma, will always react to environmental substances. It is therefore not proper to blame those reactions on e-cigarettes, says PHE. The lengthy blog on this subject is a good read for someone who wants to gather as much e-cig information as possible from a neutral source.

Public Health England Recommends E-Cig Sales in Hospitals
Published: 2018-02-06
Public Health England (PHE), the government agency that boldly stated in 2015 that e-cigs were 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes, has come up with a recommendation that electronic cigarettes should be availed in hospital shops as a way to encourage smokers to use them. They are also concerned that many smokers don’t have accurate information about vaping. For example, many smokers believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful as tobacco cigarettes. PHE is of the view that more healthcare workers should discuss vaping as an option to the 40% of British smokers who have never used an electronic cigarette. The adaptation of this progressive stand in other parts of the world could go a long way towards reducing the deaths linked to smoking combustible cigarettes.

Singapore Vaping Ban Takes Effect
Published: 2018-01-27
It is always good to know what is happening around the world regarding issues that concern you since those events may be a pointer to what could happen in your own backyard. Vapers in the US should therefore be concerned about the direction that electronic cigarette regulations are taking in Singapore. Previously, the country had banned the importation, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes and other products that resemble tobacco products. On 1st February 2018, a new law took effect banning the use of e-cigs and those other products mentioned earlier. Singapore is taking steps to reduce the number of smokers in its population. It has also embarked on moves to raise the minimum age at which people can buy cigarettes to 21 over several years. For example, the minimum age will be raised to 19 next year (2019), then 20 the next year and finally 21 come 2021. Is it possible for such policy directions to influence events in the US?

Vaping While Driving Could Get You Arrested in the UK
Published: 2018-02-22
Vapers have been warned by the police in the UK that they could be arrested in case an officer deems them to be “driving without due care”. How is this possible in jurisdictions where vaping isn’t illegal? The vapour generated during vaping can obscure the view of the driver. Similarly, holding an e-cigarette can distract the driver mentally and cause him or her to loosen his or her hold on the steering wheel. Media reports across the UK show support for such a warning. While no new rules targeting drivers who vape are in the offing, the police promises to use the existing laws to take action against those whose vaping poses a danger to the drivers themselves and other road users. Is this a sign of what is to come in other countries, such as the US, where vaping is widespread?

FDA Taken to Court Over E-Cig Classification
Published: 2018-01-30
In 2009, congress passed a law granting the FDA powers to regulate all tobacco products. In 2016, the FDA issued the “deeming rule” which categorized electronic cigarettes, e-hookahs and other such products as tobacco products. Consequently, e-cigarettes had restrictions placed upon their adverts and how the products were labelled. Three lawsuits have now been filed in different states of the US challenging that “deeming rule”. The plaintiffs argue that the action was unconstitutional and imposes needless restrictions on businesses, such as vape shops, in the vaping industry. This case is likely to awaken several questions that have always arisen about what e-cigarettes really are. For example, can e-cigs without nicotine be a tobacco product? Does the presence of nicotine automatically make a product to be looked at as a tobacco product given the fact that nicotine can be extracted from other plants and crops, such as potatoes? One needs to follow those lawsuits in Minnesota, Texas and Washington, D.C in order to see how the trajectory of the electronic cigarette industry will be shaped going forward.

Why a Global Regulator Would Be Good for the Vaping Industry
Published: 2018-01-30
Two major issues are emerging regarding electronic cigarettes. First, the big tobacco companies now have major e-cig brands on the market. Could Big Tobacco be using e-cigs as a way to recruit new smokers? Secondly, some quality and safety concerns have been raised about electronic cigarettes. These two issues make a strong case for adequate regulation of the industry. Dr. Tanusree Jain, an academic with keen interest in ethical business conduct, has written a thought-provoking article that suggests that a global transnational private regulatory body would do a good job in ensuring that standards are set and adhered to by the players in the industry. She gives examples of such bodies in the garment and chemical industries. Her ideas are worth serious consideration given the fact that individual governments may take long to come up with the right set of regulations that can protect consumers without stifling the growth of the industry.