Hand and Hand: Politicians and Tobacco Dollars

Jan. 14, 2015
by Matt Wallace

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Looking at the vaping sector over the course of the last 10 years or so, there are few industries out there that have shown true growth as seen in this one. In the beginning, the vaping industry was seen as more of a non-traditional niche market at the turn-of-the-century. Yet it’s projected this year to see turnover of $2 billion in the US electronic cigarette market alone. This impressive growth looks even better against a heavy political backdrop which has been negative, counter-productive and constantly downbeat about the sector.

The question some people have raised is: Why do politicians see more value in tobacco dollars? The answer: TAXES.

If we take a step back from the debates going on right now and look at the tax income which governments around the world receive, a large part of this comes from the tobacco sector. There has been a significant drop in tobacco tax income of late, due to smoking bans and rising popularity for e-cigarettes. Not only is this beginning to hit the federal government but also the states’ budgets.

Perhaps this could be one of the major reason why politicians have expressed their negative views towards electronic cigarettes. It’s funny that many of their arguments against vaping have recently been shown to have serious flaws. One such argument revolves around the suggestion that electronic cigarettes are a gateway back to tobacco cigarettes. To counter that bogus claim, a recent report in the UK proved that fewer than 1 in 300 electronic cigarette users have never tried tobacco cigarettes. So, what next? Regulatory issues.

It’ll come as no surprise to those who follow this political circus, that after ignoring and then ridiculing the vaping industry, they’re now looking at strict regulations. It’s also worth noting that the FDA is currently in year three of a two-year review of the sector and they have nothing. This “unbiased” authority has already shown it true colors over the last few years after initially trying to ban electronic cigarettes outright only to be forced into an embarrassing U-turn by the US courts.

It seems they’re determined to classify electronic cigarettes and vaping devices in the same manner as tobacco cigarettes. This is worrisome because electronic cigarettes don’t contain toxins seen in traditional cigarettes. We vape them using e-liquid. However, some skeptics believe that by classifying them and other vaping devices in a similar manner to tobacco products, it would open the doors to bring sales of e-cigs under the tobacco tax banner. So, are politicians ignoring the long-term benefits and are just looking at the dollar signs?

The regulation will have a devastating effect on thousands of local vape shops and other vaping-related businesses. The only beneficiar of this regulations in going to be… Big Tobacco,

While trials and research into the health implications of long-term electronic cigarette use have to date been very positive, especially compared to tobacco cigarettes, all responsible parties in the industry are calling for more trials. This ongoing process will eventually and hopefully clarify any possible issues. And while they’re “thinking” about that, just watch as the healthcare costs continue to rise for millions of Americans in this country. Just another way for big health care and big government to collect from a large source – tobacco.

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