An article on the news aggregator Breitbart.com shines some light on the current plan the EU is pushing forward to tax electronic cigarettes across the EU at the same rate as tobacco cigarettes. That’d be 57% right now and it would be a terrible idea according to many public health and tobacco addiction experts. In general, efforts to “sin tax” e-cigs to protect the public appear poorly conceived.
Perhaps the most damning piece of the puzzle is a government report over there that found only 1 in 700 vapers were not current or ex-smokers. As well, it suggests — as most of the research done suggests — that electronic cigarettes and vapor devices help people quit or reduce smoking more than any other “approved” product on the market. For instance, a small study found comparable quit rates between e-cig users and nicotine patch user, but of those that continued smoking, e-cig users regularly managed to cut their smoking by 50% or more.
Beyond the topic of electronic cigarettes and vapor devices is a debate over whether sin taxes actually work. Most more recent studies suggest that they do not. Instead, they encourage circumvention of said taxes and purchasing of lower quality products — all while not actually discouraging use of said products.
All this evidence is piling up against efforts to tax or regulate e-cigs and vapor devices off the market.
You can ready the full article at Breitbart right here.
It’s possible that said tax won’t actually be an issue anytime soon. An insider suggested that plans to tax e-cigs have been put on the back burner while other, more important issues get tackled. This could be just a distraction however. According to the Breitbart article, bureaucrats in Brussels have asked tax experts throughout the EU for input on the best way to achieve fiscal equal treatment between tobacco and electronic cigarettes. It sounds like they don’t even want to create a new category for e-cigs. Instead, they’re hoping to simply loop e-cigs in with all tobacco. Expert call this kind of tactic misleading because it suggests comparable harm between tobacco and electronic cigarettes when the later is 99% less harmful than the former.
In any case, EU-wide e-cig taxes might be quite a ways off. There is certainly support from certain shortsighted public health groups, over-zealous anti-smoking groups, greedy pharmaceuticals, and even tobacco companies. However, the growing industry and — particularly — the community that has already benefited from e-cigs and vapor devices aren’t likely to give up without a fight. With mounting evidence that the products could be the death knell of smoking and more and more experts beginning to support them, there is a growing arsenal against efforts to treat e-cigs and vapor products like anything tobacco.