The electronic cigarettes are currently free from the heavy taxes levied on conventional cigarettes and tobacco products. Thus, these products are becoming hot in the eyes of lawmakers like in the state of Utah;
Proposed Electronic Cigarette Tax Legislation
The Utah Legislature has recently been presented with a proposal that will levy electronic cigarettes like their paper counterparts. With this proposed law, the state now takes the front position for a national movement to control these devices that are now increasing in popularity and sales.
All over the United States, there are about 35 or more proposals of various types were presented before the lawmaking bodies this year. Yet, what makes the proposed law in Utah different is that it aims to tax electronic cigarettes just as tobacco cigarettes are. According to the Tobacco Policy Analyst, Karmen Hanson, of National Conference of State Legislatures, there is no other state in the US with the same nature ever recorded on books.
Quick Growth Unrestricted By Regulations
Electronic cigarettes are products having the same second name as traditional cigarettes made from tobacco. Yet, there are many distinctive features that set this category apart from conventional cigarettes.
One is they are operated with the power supplied by a battery while regular cigarettes need lighting up using a match or a lighter. They contain and deliver just nicotine, while the other offers more chemicals that can cause enormous harm to users and bystanders.
These electronic cigarettes first occurred in the US market in 2006-2007 and since then, more and more people are finding them agreeable. What analysts initially predicted about their retail sales this year of $1 billion has already been surpassed. Before 2013 ends, the US retail sales of the products will amount to about $1.7 billion. In ten years or so, the category would already exceed traditional cigarettes.
Since this category does not fall under the coverage of federal legislation (yet), companies, especially Big Tobacco Companies that ventured them are taking advantage of the unrestricted setting.
Here and there, companies and manufacturers use different marketing strategies that will call the attention of more adult smokers. While this is doing well for the companies, legislators become more alarmed because along with the adult smokers are also minors who are getting drawn to electronic cigarettes.
The FDA is expected to give its proposed regulations by October so without federal rules yet, each state is left on its own device to formulate laws that will restrict the use and availability of electronic cigarettes.
Hanson stated that as the electronic products become more popular, the hotter and more prominent they become as public policy issue for the lawmakers.
Not To Be Considered Healthy
The FDA’s stand on these goods is that due to the lack of comprehensive studies, the health impact of using those remains unknown.
According to the Republican Representative Paul Ray, the sponsor of the proposed Utah taxation law, the products must not be considered or thought of as healthy.
He said that sellers and retailers are trying to sell the products as nicotine replacements, but they are not. According to him, the devices have no FDA approval as such so electronics are not among the likes of nicotine gums, nicotine patches and prescribed smoke cessation medication.
Instead, Ray thinks that the electronic products are just like tobacco products so they must be taxed just like other tobacco products.
Not only are electronic cigarettes involved in this proposed law by Ray. Dissolvable tobacco is also included in the measure. Dissolvable tobacco is tobacco pressed and formed in shape like tablets, which melts slowly when placed inside the user’s mouth.
Ray said that these are terrible products that manufacturers actually peddle to consumers even though they know will cause their death. The industry, according to him, is one that kills its clientele.
Current Electronic Cigarette Law In Utah
In Utah, there is already a law currently enforced to ban any consumer aged under 19 years old from possessing or buying the products. Nonetheless, this law has a loophole that gives no power to city and county officials to penalize violating sellers of these said products.
Under Ray’s proposal, electronic cigarettes will indeed be heavily taxed at 86%, just like cigars, pipe and Ryo tobacco. Tobacco cigarettes are currently taxed at a flat rate of $1.70 per pack.
Right now, one device costs about $50 with e-juice good for two week-consumption at $15-20. If approved, the taxation law will make the e-juice to be sold at $37.20.
Wrong Approach To Vilify The Products
Many smokers believe that electronic cigarettes help them from breaking the smoking habit. Example is the 38 year old Stauffer from West Point. He has tried almost a dozen times to quit using gums, lozenges and patches; but the only thing that helped end his 20 year smoking habit. He said that it would be wrong to treat electronic cigarettes this way. Instead, they must be encouraged as they help people make healthy choices.