…On National Regulators
While European, US and Canadian regulators continue to tread water with regards to their future plans for the electronic cigarette industry, it seems that provincial authorities have different plans. In what is becoming a more common pattern as time goes on, the provincial authorities of British Columbia in Canada have turned up the heat on the country’s national regulator. In essence the provincial authorities have confirmed that they will introduce their own strict regulations on the electronic cigarette industry if the national regulator fails to act.
It is unclear at this moment in time whether restrictions on the sale of tobacco cigarettes will be replicated for the ecig industry but it does seem as though we are heading towards a clash of provincial and national powers.
Why are provincial authorities so keen to regulate electronic cigarettes?
If you listen to the provincial authorities in Canada, and other parts of the world, they will talk about health issues, about the smoking ban as well as the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
Taking each of these arguments one by one, the subject of health issues associated with electronic cigarettes are far more positive compared to their tobacco cigarette counterparts. The smoking ban was introduced because of evidence that secondary smoking was impacting the health of individuals in the vicinity of smokers, while there is no such evidence for electronic cigarettes. Then we move on to the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, something which the national and state authorities could eliminate with the flick of a pen and the introduction of specific new laws.
Not once is there a mention of tobacco tax, not once is there a mention of reduced income for the local authorities and not once is there a mention of the rights of the vaping community. Despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest electronic cigarettes are anywhere near as harmful as their tobacco counterparts, although more research is required to confirm this, it seems that provincial authorities are keen to act now as opposed to wait for evidence-based regulations.
Is it really all about the money?
It is common knowledge that tobacco taxation still brings in billions of dollars a year to governments around the world. However, there has been a significant reduction in tobacco tax income over the years as various smoking bans came into play and many local and national authorities are looking for new income streams. Battle hardened vapers are now convinced that politicians are determined to control the electronic cigarette industry and then introduce an array of new taxes to replenish their diminishing coffers.
As a means of smoke cessation opportunities there are many prominent medical figures around the world adamant electronic cigarettes offer the best opportunity in our lifetime to reduce dependency on tobacco cigarettes. Indeed some experts have gone as far as to suggest that at worst electronic cigarettes are less harmful than their tobacco counterparts and at best could be up to 90% less harmful. So, why are local and national authorities not encouraging the take-up of electronic cigarettes as opposed to placing more and more hurdles in the industry’s way?
With many local authorities now openly discussing the idea of introducing their own partial or full electronic cigarette smoking bans, if their national authorities fail to act, many in the vaping community are becoming concerned. At this moment in time, as we await further research and trials, it is impossible to justify an evidence-based move which would see electronic cigarettes regulated in the same manner as tobacco cigarettes. So, should we assume that it is really about the money?
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.