EU Called Out for Ecig Regulations that Prioritize Money Over Public Health
As the European Commission debates a massive tax hike on electronic cigarettes, experts are speaking out about the misguided policy that prioritizes money over public health. Currently, tobacco cigarettes are priced much higher than ecigs because of the “sin tax”, but the EU wants that to change. The new policy would drastically increase the cost of electronic cigarettes as legislators claim they need to level the playing field between tobacco smokes and ecigs. But experts say this would just remove some incentive for smokers to switch to the safer, tobacco-free option.
David Atherton, the chairman of Freedom2Choose, said increasing ecig prices is a bad idea and could have disastrous consequences. “If the health lobby are so keen to reduce the harm of smoking then electronic cigarettes which have a quit rate of 20 percent after one year as opposed to using the Pharmaceutical industry’s nicotine patches, gum, and drugs at 5 percent, then ‘vaping’ must be encouraged as much as possible.”
Atherton went on to say vaping bans and “sin taxes” are pointless because science shows that ecigs are not dangerous and they are a far better choice than smoking. “The government should never ban vaping indoors and private enterprise should also embrace electronic cigarettes too,” he said. According to Atherton, research shows that secondhand “smoke” from ecigs is “almost certainly harmless”. Alderman compared vaping to consuming caffeine in terms of risk factors. “Most view smoking electronic cigarettes as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee,” he explained.
Deputy leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall, said the EU is making a big mistake by cracking the whip on ecigs. “I am a great fan of e-cigs and UKIP has been very supportive of the practice because it is healthier and a source of jobs for innovative British companies,” he said.
Nuttall said that the EU is ultimately looking for any excuse to pad their pockets and it needs to stop. “I have never seen a private pleasure that the EU does not want to tax. Of course this move will hike up the cost of vaping e-cigarettes, and thus push more people back to ordinary and less healthy cigarettes.”
While the EU pushes to tax every possible cent out of electronic cigarettes, the World Health Organization is taking a similar approach by calling on governments to tighten regulations on vapers. The UK has chosen to take a more balanced approach by regulating ecigarettes as pharmaceutical products beginning in 2016.
Despite evidence to suggest that vaping is the best option for smokers that want to quit, the EU seems determined to destroy the electronic cigarette industry and it starts with taxation. Perhaps former US President Ronald Reagan said it best. “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Do you think a new ecig tax hike would be the fatal blow to the ecigarette industry in Europe?
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