Some people talk about the threat of ‘normalisation’ of electronic cigarettes. At the same time, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of normalising our favourite devices. When an authority figure or a government figure talks about the normalisation of electronic cigarettes, they are referring to tobacco cigarettes fundamentally.
Normalisation complainers generally talk about the fact that the more people use electronic cigarettes, the more that smoking tobacco will seem normal. This will encourage vulnerable groups, like children, to smoke.
We all know this is not true. We all know that we love our electronic cigarettes and they are our personal things, and if anything they have brought us away from tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco cigarettes are now becoming abnormal, and this is something we are proud of. We like waking up without stuffy noses and a cough.
We like being able to run up the stairs rather than crawl up. We also like the fact that way saving lots of money through buying electronic cigarettes. This money will pay for a gym membership which now seems more reality that our lungs are cleaner and our health is generally improving.
Integration of vaping into our society
Normalisation is actually taking place because of the authorities right now. If normalisation of electronic cigarettes also means integration into society, in America, the various states are doing a very good job of that integration. They are currently without any compass to guide them as regards regulation. But this has not stopped them thinking about how they can tax electronic cigarettes even further.
Pick up an electronic cigarette in a store or online and currently you are most likely to have to pay just a simple sales tax. This is part of commerce and part of business, and generally part of everyday life. We can live with that.
Sales tax makes the world go round, and also ensures that governments are able to pay for things that are important for those people. This means schools and hospitals, and it means all the good things that the state brings to our lives.
States are now wanting to ban e-cigs
But here’s the rub. Pick up a newspaper or go online at the moment and you find plenty of states that wanted to ban electronic cigarettes in public places or are making their own self-regulation noises.
But more than a few states also do something behind the scenes that is actually quite depressing when it comes to electronic cigarettes. And at the same time, it means that electronic cigarettes are on the verge of growing up. We are talking about taxes.
Back in the swirly mists of time, when tobacco was King, it was taxed heavily due to the fact that tobacco did something to the public that was undesirable. It was causing people to get sick and die left right and centre. We know we are using the past tense in that last sentence, because we are very conscious that tobacco itself is dying out.
Outside the vaping arena, taxes used to pay for tobacco deaths
Tobacco was doing these nasty things to the people of the world, so the states and governments of the world decided to add extra taxes to raise the prices of cigarettes, in an attempt to claw back some of the money lost on health care and other issues around the sickness and death of millions of people.
This made great economic sense, because if people are proving to be a drain on the state because they are getting sick, it makes sense to go to the source of that sickness and tax it. This way, a kind of karma system works. You get sick because of these things, so we will make these things expensive.
And it’s working too, still. These days, if you want to buy a pack of cigarettes anywhere in the world, expect to pay a premium. They are not cheap. Instead, they can cost a lot of money, especially if you add up the total over a month and across the year. A large part of the income of many people is taken up by the cost of cigarettes.
This is all well and good, and the health argument is perfectly sound as regards tax. This is why alcohol faces tax every year in most countries. These tax rises are taken on the chin by drinkers, because they know they’re doing the damage to themselves.
Casual drinkers find it rather annoying, but they accept it too because they know that alcohol abuse places a large financial strain on the state. The taxes are important, and they help to claw back the money the state desperately needs, especially after a recession.
E-cigs are potentially a huge cash cow
Now, it seems, some states in the United States of America are viewing electronic cigarettes as a kind of cash cow. They are losing state tax revenue due to the fact that less people are smoking. All those lovely taxes that came from smoking revenue are now dwindling away.
Because people are switching over to an alternative to smoking, state lawmakers are thinking about tax laws that will claw that money back from electronic cigarettes, rather than tobacco cigarettes.
It hasn’t happened yet, but so far only one state has really taken the plunge and decided to levy a tax upon electronic cigarettes. Remember, the only tax you’re likely to pay at the moment is a sales tax. Minnesota is the only state that has acted in anything like a tax hungry measure. But others are thinking of it, like Oregon, for example.
Minnesota has placed a 95% tax on e-cigs and is treating it like a sales tax. This tax is placed on the cost price of the electronic cigarette and is was passed on to the consumer.
It is hard to tell how this will affect the consumer. We wouldn’t really grumble about paying a bit extra for electronic cigarettes and juice. But there is one particular complaint that does holds strong. If tobacco cigarettes were subject to tax due to their health risks, why are electronic cigarettes open to tax issues? They have so far proved to have no health risk to anyone. Something is wrong here.