Electronic cigarettes, otherwise known as e-cigarettes (e-cigs), are digital vapor devices that are powered by a battery. It looks like a regular cigarette and simulates tobacco smoking but it instead it just vaporizes a liquid solution, whether it’s a mixture of nicotine and a flavor or only a particular flavor. E-cigs now replicate cigars and pipes, too.
There have been thousands and thousands of testimonials identifying the benefits of using this product. Many people who have tried to quit smoking for years have finally been able to do so by utilizing the power of an e-cig. With growing ubiquity, perhaps smoking tobacco will come to an end in the future thanks to e-cigs.
“I was smoking a pack and a half to two packs a day of True Menthol Kools just two days ago. This is amazing. I had no cravings at all and only smoked the cigarette because I was trying to do a taste comparison; the cigarette tasted horrible. Is it unusual for this to happen so quickly?” on e-cig user said in a testimonial.
Essentially, due to these kinds of statements and the immense popularity of the product, many business and health experts say the e-cig industry could overtake the $80 billion-per-year tobacco industry. This could save millions of lives each year and free up healthcare budgets. Also, the marketplace would be the one to end smoking and not the government, which has tried for decades to end smoking.
What has the government decided to do? Ban ‘em and/or tax ‘em.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of banning the use of e-cigs from bars, restaurants, nightclubs and public spaces. Boston, Chicago and New York are just some of the major metropolitan cities restricting the use of vapor.
The Washington State Senate is looking to change the name of vapor products to “tobacco substitutes” and “tobacco products.” In addition, the bill suggests applying a 95 percent state tax – the latest report says it has been lowered to 75 percent. Critics of e-cigs say this can help add much needed funds to state coffers and deter youth from smoking because e-cigs could act as a gateway.
Health experts argue that there have been considerable strides made in the last 30 years of getting youths to understand the dangers of smoking. Therefore, a nicotine-filled e-cig could undo all of that. It should be noted, however, that there are nicotine-free e-cigs on the market today.
Another argument made is that e-cigs are unregulated. However, e-cigarette juices are in fact regulated, at least in Canada, by the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations of 2001.
“We have an obligation to protect the workforce from the effects of secondhand aerosol exhaled by people who choose to ‘vape’ on e-cigarettes,” said City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, who co-sponsored the proposal. “We also have a responsibility to protect our youth and everyone else in public places from the carcinogens found in the ultra-fine particles in e-cigarette aerosol.”
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) says Washington’s proposed taxes are a bad idea.
“Taking aim at e-cigarettes works at cross-purposes with efforts to cut down on the harm associated with smoking. A number of studies have shown that electronic cigarettes stand to improve health and prevent disease. By choosing to “vape” e-cigs instead of smoking traditional tobacco, consumers get their nicotine fix without the combustion and smoke, which are responsible for many of the negative health effects of tobacco cigarettes,” the organization wrote in a letter to the state legislature.
“With e-cigarettes, the free market has provided a solution to a problem that social engineers have not been able to address through stiff government regulations. The imposition of new taxes on innovative products that reduce smoking and people’s dependence on tobacco cigarettes is misguided and will impede proven harm reduction methods. It makes little sense in this fragile economy to impose tens and millions of dollars in higher taxes on a product that provides consumers a viable and harmless alternative to traditional tobacco products.”
Bans are starting to head up north in Canada. The Nova Scotia government is considering whether or not the province should ban them in public places until more facts, studies and research are released in to the public sphere.
Many proponents of e-cigs have pegged the question: why is the government so adamantly against e-cigs? Is it because the tobacco industry is losing out? Is it because they don’t want their own citizens to be healthy? Is it because the free market is beginning to kill off unhealthy cigarettes and allowing consumers to quit the addictive substance?
Of course, it’s all conjecture but one thing is for sure: the government is definitely killing its own citizens by banning e-cigs or applying astronomical taxes to make a healthy alternative unaffordable. In years to come, e-cigs could very well help millions of Americans and Canadians quit.
Just think if these things were around 50 years ago: a lot of our friends, family, loved ones, colleagues and peers would be around today.