With each year, electronic cigarettes prove to be even more successful than years prior, and they have currently reached the status of widespread acceptance and a certain level of normalcy. They are continuously used by celebrities, as well as by thousands of others who are choosing to live better without the smoke. And there is very good reason why: e-cigarettes offer the same pleasure and sensations as traditional cigarettes without the smoke, tar, residual odor, and inconveniences that come with burning.
Financially, each year the industry has grown massively. In fact, the growth has been so rapid that since 2012, tobacco companies have slowly come over to the electronic side, with Lorillard being the first with their acquisition of a major e-cigarette company.
However, with this expedited growth, and the subsequent decline in traditional tobacco cigarette sales, federal and state governments are looking to recoup lost income from taxes, and e-cigarettes are their target. As many states have started implementing e-cigarette sales bans, restricting their usage in public places, and attempting to categorize them as traditional cigarettes, it leaves the question to be asked about the motives behind these strategic movements. Is it a public health issue or does it really come down to finances?
Currently, 46 of the 50 states are receiving an approximate $10 billion annually from taxes of tobacco companies, as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Seeing that tobacco sales continue to lessen, and electronic cigarettes are currently subject only to sales tax, 30 states are contemplating taxing electronic cigarettes to cut losses and make gains where smokers are using alternatives.
While government regulation is certainly imminent, only time will tell what that means for the electronic cigarette industry. Most people involved are vying for restrictions that include age verifications, ingredient labels, clear information on manufacturing practices, and others that validate the quality because they make sense. However, legislation that benefits only governments, and impedes smokers who want affordable, legitimate alternatives to cigarettes is simply wrong.