Despite more than enough research to prove that electronic cigarettes are an effective way to quit smoking, the European Union wants to impose a new “sin tax” that would level the playing field between Big Tobacco and ecig companies. After news of the new tax hike proposal was released, public health experts and vaping activists began speaking out to condemn the EU’s actions and demand changes.
One of the leading voices of opposition comes from David Atherton, the chairman of Freedom2Choose. He said the EU is essentially putting money over the best interest of public health. “If the health lobby are so keen to reduce the harm of smoking then electronic cigarettes which have a quit rate of 20 percent after one year as opposed to using the Pharmaceutical industry’s nicotine patches, gum, and drugs at 5 percent, then ‘vaping’ must be encouraged as much as possible.”
Atherton suggested that legislators should be running to embrace electronic cigarettes rather than stifle the industry with taxes and stringent regulations. “The government should never ban vaping indoors and private enterprise should also embrace electronic cigarettes too,” he said. Research points out that the secondhand vapor that many fear is “almost certainly harmless”. Atherton said that vaping is no more risky that enjoying a caffeinated drink. “Most view smoking electronic cigarettes as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee,” he said.
Paul Nuttall, the deputy leader of UKIP, also spoke in opposition to the EU. “I am a great fan of e-cigs and UKIP has been very supportive of the practice because it is healthier and a source of jobs for innovative British companies,” he said. “I have never seen a private pleasure that the EU does not want to tax. Of course this move will hike up the cost of vaping e-cigarettes, and thus push more people back to ordinary and less healthy cigarettes.”
The world’s governments have struggled for several years to determine a reasonable way to handle the growing ecig movement and opinions are mixed. While the UK opted to classify ecigs as medications beginning in 2016, the World Health Organization wants more stringent regulations to stifle the burgeoning ecig movement.
It’s hard to imagine that our lawmakers have any real interest in public health at this point. With so much money being funneled to lawmakers from tobacco lobbyists, it seems they are more interested in keeping the market moving in favor of cigarettes than in protecting public health. Ultimately, it’s all about the dollar signs. Ronald Reagan summed it up well when he said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.”
Do you think ecigs should be taxed at the same rate as tobacco cigarettes? Should vaping be excused from sin taxes since ecigs are tobacco free?