Wednesday, September 23, 2015

D.C.'s Electronic Cigarette Tax is an Insane Policy that Will Help Renormalize Smoking

On October 1, the District of Columbia will impose a 67% tax on all electronic cigarettes and vaping products. As an article in the Daily Caller explains, this tax will put many vape shops out of business.

According to the article: "A steady stream of customers poured in to M Street Vape Friday afternoon to get flavor refills for their vaporizers, but they may not be able to do that for long after a new city law takes effect. Starting Oct. 1, a new 67 percent excise tax on vapor products takes effect in Washington, D.C., and it will likely put the shop out of business, its owner says. The tax will treat e-cigarettes just the same as regular tobacco-burning cigarettes, despite the fact that there is no actual tobacco being burnt, but a juice containing nicotine that is heated to produce water vapor."

The Rest of the Story

This is one of the most insane "public health" policies I've ever heard of. Taxing e-cigarettes at a whopping 67% rate is nothing more than a gift to Big Tobacco. Undoubtedly, it will put many vaping shops out of business, resulting in significant numbers of ex-smokers returning to smoking and many smokers who would otherwise have quit using e-cigarettes not doing so. The policy protects cigarette profits at the expense of the public's health.

Ironically, Chicago is considering a similar tax on e-cigarettes under the guise of trying to fight Big Tobacco. The rest of the story is that such a tax would be a present for Big Tobacco by protecting cigarettes from competition from the much safer vaping products. If enacted, this policy will help renormalize smoking and will cost lives.

I understand that the city of Chicago wants to raise revenue, but to do so at the expense of the public's health and the lives of its citizens is unconscionable.

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