Okay, we all know about the popularity of eCigarettes and how it’s exploding. That’s old news to you and me. Right now we are all waiting for the FDA to act, one way or the other. You have to wonder how many companies in our industry are freezing their planned growth, or stashing profits instead of investing in their business, while they wait to see if they can remain in business or even if their products will be so regulated as to be unprofitable. This is a nervous time for the vaping community as a whole, but especially for those that have their lifesavings invested in it.

The Decline of Smoking and the Modern eCigarette

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Even the people that continue to smoke and continue to believe they are immune to the effects of deadly tobacco carcinogens are beginning to consider switching to eCigarettes because the quality of the modern eCigarette is on par with, or succeeds, the experience of smoking. The new Totally Wicked eLiquids eCigars are now better than most regular cigars (see my review here), which even makes switching to electronic cigars more appealing than sticking with real cigars. Today’s electronic cigarette/cigar delivers great taste, plenty of vapor, and none of the ‘stink’ of tobacco. Not to mention the health factor. So, people are switching like crazy. The people in power should celebrate this.

But, in the age of chronic unemployment, and slow growth in the economy as we turn this giant ship called the United States from a capitalist society where merit is rewarded into a nanny-state where it doesn’t matter if you sit on your ass all day drinking beer and playing Xbox because your healthcare, food, shelter, and even your cell phone will be paid for by taxes collected by Big Brother, the cost of tobacco cigarettes continues to rise because of higher taxes being placed on them by state and federal legislators.

These taxes make eCigarettes an even cheaper way to satisfy the nicotine desires and the hand-to-mouth addiction that makes smoking so hard to quit. Last time I looked, electronic cigarettes are, at the very least, half as much as analog cigarettes.

For now.

For decades the government has been beating smokers to death with both taxes on tobacco and Public Service Announcements (PSA’s), as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for ‘quit smoking’ courses and lawsuits against Big Tobacco. The efforts have paid off, I guess, by creating tens of thousands of ‘anti-smoking zealots’ that fear the eCigarette is going to normalize smoking again.

You can’t smoke anywhere anymore.

Will these zealots stop the FDA from making a “good” decision?

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Hell, you can’t even come to work smelling like cigarettes anymore lest you get chastised by your fellow (zealot) co-workers. Smoking is déclassé now, God forbid you admit to it or smell like a smoker! (though I admit, passing an obvious smoker in the grocery store does make me nauseas)

2000-2011

Well before the popularity of eCigarettes the smoker had apparently gotten the message; smoking is down 27% from 2000 to 2011, according to the US Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Electronic cigarettes did some 300 million dollars in sales in 2012 alone and headed toward a billion a year over the next couple of years, if the FDA doesn’t kill the movement before then.

So, after 30 years of constant attacks against smokers people are quitting, in droves.

What has been the bottom-line effect for the government?

Lost tax revenue.

Solution?

Tax eCigarettes.

As the CEO of Logic (an eCigarette company) said in the CNN piece:

“The government is going to tax this industry and try to recoup the revenues they’ve lost from cigarettes,” said Eli Alelov, chief executive of Logic, a New Jersey-based e-cigarette company.

Forked Tongue

One side of the government is telling people to quit smoking and attempting to make it easier and easier to do by funding ‘Quit Smoking’ programs and blasting the message across all mediums. The other side of the government, dissatisfied with the loss of tax revenue, will most certainly look to eCigarettes to make up for the lost taxes.

MODS and such…

Realistically speaking, those of us that consider vaping as a hobby leave behind the cigarette lookalikes early on and move to larger batteries and all kinds of cartomizers, clearomizers, tanks, and what-have-you. It isn’t easy for the government to tax these devices because, as Steve K said recently, “It’s basically a flashlight” (Vapeon.TV Down the Rabbit Hole January 2013). And he’s right.

For the immediate future it is most probable that the FDA will slap the strictest regulations on the lookalikes like Blu and NJOY, or 777 eCigs, if they do anything in April. Maybe, just maybe, the eLiquid makers will skate by for a while. Not forever, probably, but maybe for a while.

I have no doubt (now) that the FDA will seek the easiest path for the regulation of electronic cigarettes, which means tacking on a few regulations on the ‘cigalikes’ and then take a wait and see attitude on the rest of the market. (Now watch them come out in April with huge regulations on every aspect of the industry!)  Eventually though, as more and more smokers move away from the dangers of tobacco cigarettes and more studies show the basic ‘harmlessness’ of “vaping”, the government, from the FDA to the state legislators, will come knocking on the doors of great eLiquid artists and slap every bottle with a hefty tax.

Or…

Maybe, just maybe…

The Feds will leave them alone…

But…

Various states are already hammering eCigarette vendors and the people that want to vape. From the outright ban to the absolutely-insane-jackass-political-hacks of Rhode Island who has outlawed flavored eLiquids, the states are taking the most asinine attitude toward a real solution to tobacco suffering. Can we expect more of the same from the states?

Could cooler heads prevail within the FDA? Could they do what they should do and declassify eCigarettes from the tobacco products label? Could they recognize the good that eCigs are doing? With jobs, health, and work productivity?

At this point, who knows?

Does it make sense to act like gun owners and instead of stocking up on guns and ammo in case there is some heavy gun restrictions headed their way, should we stock up on eLiquids, batteries, cartos, tanks, clearos, and all the rest?

I don’t know.

I do know what I’d like to do if the FDA goes all “heavy-handed” on the vaping community.

Protest. A lot. Maybe take to the streets and demonstrate on Washington. Form an OccupyVaping organization, or start the “Vaping Party”. I kid, but only by half.

The various governments in the US and elsewhere have been cracking down on lots of personal liberties lately. The US has been issuing new federal regulations like there’s no tomorrow. But it’s still anybody’s guess.

There is a lot at stake here.

Electronic cigarettes are where we should make our stand. All of us.

This far. No further!

It’s a waiting game now…

John Manzione