For the third time, Vermont is trying to pass an insane 92% tax on all vaping products sold in the state
If you’ve been a vaper for any extended period, you are already well aware of the growing vaping regulations around the country and world. Many seem to be under the false impression that vaping and smoking are more or less the same, leading to legislators attempting to reign in their usage as we’ve done with the tobacco industry for the last several decades. Politicians claim to be using these vaping bans and taxes as a means of preventing and limiting teen use, but the research seems to indicate this is only a minor issue, while government’s line their pockets with increased taxes. In fact, Vermont is once again talking about implementing a full 92% tax on vaping products, but many believe it will actually pass this time.
Governor Phil Scott is finally supporting the plan to add vapes to the tobacco taxes already in place in Vermont, giving this proposal a much clearer path to becoming law. Similar taxes have been passed around the globe, but the reasoning is as varied as it is murky. Those in favor of the tax say it will make it much more difficult for teens to access vaporizers, but critics are skeptical. They reference growing piles of evidence which conclude not only is vaping safer than smoking, but harsh bans and taxes are actually having a negative impact instead of a positive one.
The Potential Tax
As mentioned, this isn’t their first attempt at implementing this insane tax. The last couple of years have each seen a push to have e-cigarettes added to their existing regulations. Luckily this hasn’t been very successful so far, with it being soundly shot down each time. Last year it actually got closer to a passage, when a 46% tax was compromised on, but it ultimately failed to pass into law. However, with support from Gov. Scott, many believe the vaping tax will pass this time around. The move would reportedly bring in over $1 million in extra tax dollars, but legislators are attempting to distance themselves from that figure. They claim the money is merely a means of preventing teen usage, not a method of generating more tax income.
No matter how you try to sell it, vapers in the state of Vermont may soon be paying nearly twice as much for the same products they use now. Many fear this will lead droves of vapers to turn back to a life of smoking, as it becomes much more expensive and difficult to find their preferred vaping products. Regardless, Gov Scott and his team are convinced their perceived risk to teens is reason enough to turn back on one of his main campaign promises, a policy of “no new taxes.”
The Full Picture
It’s quite understandable why so many in Vermont seem to be concerned with preventing teenage vaping. After all, a non-smoking teen picking up vaping isn’t a good idea, but the research we have is only making the right path forward more evident. For example, a study of over 60,000 students found that it is only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens that are ever picking up vapes on a regular basis, let alone transitioning to full-blown smoking. It makes a lot of sense when you realize vaping is also an extremely useful smoking cessation tool. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville concluded that not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool, but it’s actually more likely to be successful than anything else, including prescription drugs.
Turning to the harm reduction value of vaping and we get the same picture. In 2015 we had our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. But this wasn’t a one-off report, as the same type of figures have been found over and over as research is published. In December a different team of researchers concluded vapor contains about 93% fewer toxicants than tobacco smoke. But to truly understand what’s at risk, consider a report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a smoker from a similar background.
This type of taxation has become incredibly commonplace. Some blame the greed of politicians, while others think it’s the misperception surrounding e-cigarettes. But one thing is for sure; vaping is an effective harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. The more we restrict vaping, the more of an advantage it is for the Big Tobacco industry. Why would people switch from smoking to vaping if they don’t understand how much safer it is? So while protecting the youth is an incredibly important goal, we shouldn’t let short term plans jeopardize the future of the vaping industry. After all, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, and vaping could be the tool we need to end the epidemic once and for all.
Do these types of taxes bother you? Should tobacco and vapes be taxed the same way? What do you think is the best way to spread information about vaping to those around us? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.