New Jersey authorities want ecig tax to pay for no smoking policies, eh?
Yes, you did read the headline right, the authorities of New Jersey have confirmed that they are looking to introduce a specific electronic cigarette tax in the short to medium term. This tax would see electronic cigarettes costing the equivalent of their tobacco cigarette counterparts and has the potential to raise $35 million per annum. So, what do the authorities of New Jersey plan to do with this additional $35 million per annum?
Well, as the comedy headline says, the authorities are looking, wait for it, to raise $35 million per annum from electronic cigarettes and use these funds to invest in anti-smoking policies. Despite the fact that many experts believe electronic cigarettes offer the greatest opportunity ever to combat tobacco cigarette addiction, the New Jersey authorities seem to see it very differently.
How would this work?
As we touched on above, the authorities are looking to introduce an electronic cigarette tax which would make electronic cigarettes comparable in cost to their tobacco cigarette counterparts. This will effectively see no benefit from a price angle if you are smoking tobacco cigarettes or electronic cigarettes – and is a move seen by some as dangerous and by others as totally outrageous.
When you also bear in mind the cost of collecting this tax, the various layers of administration within the state authorities and the cost of introducing anti-smoking policies, we can only imagine what fraction of the expected $35 million per annum would be left to actually invest. So not only do the authorities reduce the cost benefits of electronic cigarettes but they also have the potential to reduce any health benefits. Even the most ardent critics of electronic cigarettes readily admit that they are at worst “less harmful” than their tobacco counterparts.
Why do they not talk to electronic cigarette users?
If you look back 10 years ago it may have been difficult to find anybody willing to talk about their switch from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes but that is most certainly not the case today. There are literally millions of users around the world and many of them are more than happy to wax lyrical about the improvements in their health after they switched to electronic cigarettes. Experts are still undecided about the long-term health implications but at this moment in time there is nothing to suggest that electronic cigarettes pose any significant threat to your health.
If the authorities had attempted this 10 years ago, when the industry was relatively new, there is every chance they would have been able to push through an electronic cigarette tax. However, there is a growing appetite for fighting the establishment, fighting the authorities and bringing freedom of choice back into the spotlight.
It really is difficult to understand how any state authority could justify adding a tax to electronic cigarettes as a means of combating smoking addiction. While officially electronic cigarette companies are not able to promote or advertise their products as “medical devices” the fact is that the proof is in the pudding. There are more and more electronic cigarette users around the world waxing lyrical about their experience and the benefits they have felt when switching from tobacco to electronic cigarettes. The authorities seem immune to these comments, they seem addicted to taxes and raising a tax to effectively combat something which electronic cigarettes are already assisting seems to be complete madness.
Or are we missing something?
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a level headed approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website