According to an article in the Rutland Herald, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society is concerned that kids might switch away from smoking and start using electronic cigarettes instead. To prevent that occurrence, they are lobbying for a huge 92% tax on electronic cigarettes so that there is no longer a price advantage for these products over real tobacco cigarettes. Without the price advantage, youth smokers will be deterred from making the switch, so they will - as the ACS apparently wishes - continue smoking their tobacco cigarettes.
This may sound completely absurd, and it is. But unfortunately, it appears to be true. The American
Cancer Society was quoted in the piece as stating the following:
"This tax is an important step in getting e-cigarettes out of the hands of Vermont youth. We
know kids are extremely price sensitive, so keeping the price high
enough will help slow down the skyrocketing use of the unregulated,
addictive products by Vermont kids. This tax at 92 percent
of wholesale would create parity with cigarettes and other tobacco
products, which will help eliminate the switching to e-cigarettes."
The Rest of the Story
The rest of the story is that the American Cancer Society is here revealing that they actually prefer that kids continue to smoke rather than that they switch to tobacco-free cigarettes. When it comes to the use of cigarettes by kids, the ACS has made it known that it prefers that you use tobacco-full cigarettes rather than tobacco-free cigarettes.
That's quite unfortunate, especially since this is an organization that is supposed to be reducing cancer, not increasing it.
Furthermore, the effect of the tax on adults will be even worse. By taking any financial incentive out of switching to vaping, this law will help protect cigarette profits and keep smoking rates high by deterring smoking cessation using vaping products.
I think it is the time of reckoning in the tobacco control movement. Are we really going to switch sides and promote smoking because we are so threatened by a tobacco-free product that is saving lives, but that we didn't think of and which looks like smoking? Anti-smoking groups may believe they are on the same side as before because they are fighting against nicotine use. The truth is, however, that they have switched from the public health side (a desire to save lives and protect the public's health) to an ideological side whose actions are in line with the best interests of maintaining high cigarette profits.
Today’s story reveals how absurd the campaign against
e-cigarettes has become. Vaping opponents have completely lost sight of public
health’s mission, so much so that they are now actually fighting to preserve
and protect smoking.