Electronic cigarette supporters in New Jersey are angry and they are making it clear that Governor Chris Christie has stepped out of line by proposing a new sin tax on e-cigarettes. Vapers in New Jersey are already forced to vape outdoors after e-cigs were banned in public places, but now they might be paying a higher price for e-cig supplies thanks to Governor Christie.
Based on the new budget proposal, the governor hopes to impose a tax on e-cigarettes that would equate to the same sin tax used for tobacco cigarettes, currently $2.70 per pack. This could mean a substantial price increase for vapers that have enjoyed cost benefits from giving up tobacco cigarettes.
So far, there have been mixed reactions to the proposal, but the predominant theme has been outrage and frustration. The Washington Examiner pointed out rumors that Christie might run for president in 2016 and this could hurt his chances. American conservatives are consistently opposed to this kind of “nanny-state tactics” and it could seriously damage his shot during the primary elections.
The medical community has also spoken out against Christie’s proposed taxes, calling them harmful and counterproductive for public health. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona recently told reporters that e-cigs have “extraordinary potential” to help smokers quit. By enforcing strict regulations, high taxes, and public bans, it could “significantly hinder” the potential of e-cigarettes to be a good alternative for American smokers.
Dr. Gilbert Ross, the medical and executive director of the American Council on Science and Health, echoed the same sentiments. Ross said that laws restricting e-cigarettes could be counterproductive in the long run. Last month, the Daily Caller explored the root cause for e-cig bans and concluded, “Ecig bans and propaganda are driven by cronyism, not public health.”
So far, Governor Christie seems to be ignoring critics and pushing forward with plans to impose new taxes on e-cigarettes. If he does plan to run for president, this could hurt his chances.
New Jersey residents have spoken out about the proposed sin tax and a heated debate continued is local newspapers. Here is a closer look at what some of the concerned citizens had to say about the issue:
“I am a smoker who, for the past year, had been hacking all day long. After Christmas, I switched to an electronic cigarette, and within a week, I was not hacking… If the state plans to raise the tax on e-cigarettes to tobacco-like levels, then it should comparably raise the tax on nicotine patches and gun, Chantix, etc. However, since obesity is an epidemic, I recommend that the tax first be raised or imposed on all “junk food”. Think of how many people will not buy a candy bar, bag of chips, etc. if it costs $8.” –Doris Gillen of Bridgeport
“The makers of e-cigarettes have their marketing eyes fixed firmly on the youth of the world. They’re looking to find lifelong customers who start the nicotine addiction at a young age, making e-cigarettes a potential gateway to traditional tobacco cigarettes. To think that e-cigarettes are a good way to give up smoking is idiotic…” – Ruth Crane of Woodstown
“Apparently there are millions of ‘idiots’ who, in Crane’s opinion, should go back to cigarettes and quit the ‘right’ way. Why is it the ‘idiotic’ way to replace tobacco smoke with sweet-flavored vapor? Look, there is no “right” way to quit smoking… e-cigarettes have done more for public health in the past year than tobacco control has done in 10 years. Perfect cessation is not worth risking your life and health over, which is a flaw in any quit-or-die philosophy.” –Matt Zukowski of Tahoma
There is no doubt that electronic cigarettes are causing some division, but e-cig supporters will not go down without a fight. What do you think about Chris Christie’s plans to impose a sin tax on ecigarettes? Will it ultimately be harmful to public health? Will it hurt his chances at a presidential run in 2016? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!