New York City is aiming to block the sale of all electronic cigarettes (source). Its objective is to rewrite the existing law. It wants to raise the minimum age to 21 for any tobacco-related products and ban the sale of any ‘flavored’ cigarettes. The other aspect of the law is to adjust the fines against “ illegal cigarettes” by heavily raising the fines. However, their reasoning for the changes seems completely backwards.
Initially, it seems like the new law is to stop people from smoking. However, if read carefully, this law aims to stop all sales of electronic cigarettes, or vaping. Its basis is on the fact people will smoke both traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. This is far from the truth. Most electronic cigarette smokers end up smoking electronic cigarettes to assist them from smoking traditional cigarettes, even to stop all together.
The fact New York City is aiming to stop the sales of flavored cigarettes equates the sale of all electronic cigarettes, as they are flavored. Dr. Michael Siegel, a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, also believes New York is trying to stop the sale of all electronic cigarettes. As a researcher of 25 years of experience in the field of tobacco control and publishing nearly 70 papers related to tobacco, Dr. Siegel is perplexed on this potential measure. On his blog, he writes:
- “The truth is that the very purpose of electronic cigarettes is the complete opposite of what the New York city council is apparently suggesting. Their purpose is to get smokers to quit smoking by completely substituting electronic cigarettes for tobacco cigarettes. All of the marketing for these products is designed not to deter smokers from quitting but to encourage smokers to quit.”
Dr. Siegel goes further by stating:
- “Why would New York City want to protect the sales of the most hazardous type of tobacco product on the market – cigarettes – but ban the sale of a product (electronic cigarettes) that literally hundreds of thousands of people across the country are using in order to quit smoking and is the safest available nicotine-containing non-medical product on the market? This makes no public health sense.”
Dr. Siegel, as an expert on tobacco usage, makes valid points. Why is the New York City trying stop the sale of electronic cigarettes but allowing sales of tobacco. If they truly want people to stop, ban smoking altogether!? Only time will tell if New York succeeds in this measure. Hopefully they do not win but we will find out.
The Long Island Rail Road committee, a branch of the MTA, recently decided to ban vapor-based cigarettes from all of this stations, rail platforms, outdoor ticketing, etc.. The LIRR are banning electronic cigarettes on the same basis of an actual cigarette. Here is an excerpt of the Rules and Regulations from the MTA site, specific to the “Smoking Ban”:
- “burn a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any tobacco substitute on a train or in any indoor area within a terminal or station not specifically designated as an area where such conduct is permitted”
The confusing part of the ban is the actual verbiage of LIRR’s Section 1097.5, titled “Prohibited Uses.” If we read part (0) carefully, it states “burn a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco.” Let us take a quick step back — it is understandable that electronic cigarettes contact nicotine, which is the addictive nature of smoking cigarettes. It is also understandable any burning tobacco produces second-hand smoke, which impacts the health of surrounding individuals. No one disregards the idea that actually lighting and smoking a cigarette is frowned upon by the general public.
However, the main wording many pro-electronic cigarette users are confused about is “burn a lighted” item. Even the general MTA regulation clearly distinguishes this:
- Section 1050.7 2. smoke or carry an open flame or lighted match, cigar, cigarette, pipe or torch;
Electronic cigarettes do not require a match or a lighter. There is no ‘open flame’ to smoke a vapor cigarette. Vapor cigarettes only require a battery pack to produce the water favor ‘smoke.’ Therefore, vapor cigarettes should not all under this regulation and individuals should at least be allowed to smoke on platforms before they board.
This year New Mexico tried to pass bill HB428 which would regulate electronic ecigs as a tobacco product. Electronic Cigarette regulation is a hot topic and many want to regulate ecigs as tobacco products. Bill HB428 wants to do just that, New Mexico tried and the bill may be coming to your state soon, this is what you can do stop ecigs from being taxed as tobacco products. Join the fight and keep them from imposing high taxes on ecigs.
Bill HB428 proposed a tax raise on “other tobacco product” like smokeless tobacco and dissolvable tobacco as well as classifying electronic ecigs as a tobacco product. Taxes could jump anywhere 25% to 53%, that is just crazy 53% tax to buy a product that will help you quit smoking and is not a real “tobacco product”.
Most of the cigarette tax is due to the linked and rising healthcare cost associated with cancer and smoking. Why should we pay 53% tax on electronic ecigs when they are not currently linked to these rising health care cost?
Call or write your local House Taxation & Revenue Committee before the Bill hijacks tax rates in your State
Flat out express you are against HB428 redefining the definition of “tobacco product” to include new products like electronic cigarettes that could prove to increase public health.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up if you or someone you know has had success quitting smoking with an e cigarette. Let them know e cigs work to help you quit smokin!
- Let them know you don’t think it is right to pass on the burdon of high taxes meant to cover medical costs caused from smoking to electronic ecigs.
- Speak up if you yourself or have known someone who has quit smoking with electronic cigarettes. Ecigs could be improving public health, don’t let them raise taxes to the point people stop converting to ecigs to quit smoking.
I had a co-worker once who was a real jack-in-the-douche. First of all he spent way too much time talking about his pants. And he was always making comments about the fact that I was a smoker. “Did you just go have a cigarette?” he’d ask, wrinkling his nose when I came back from my morning smoke break. No, you gel-haired business school ass-bag, I just went outside at the same damn time I do every morning and let a bunch of smokers exhale on me, because I’m into some freaky, freaky shit.
So when I switched over and decided I was buying an e-cig, one nice bonus was I didn’t have to put up with as many annoying comments from Senior Rear Admiral Bagadouche (Ret.). I even enjoyed answering his questions about my new e-cig. “Is that an e-cig?” he asked about 15 times. “No,” I’d say every time. “It’s a string cheese. You haven’t seen these yet? They are super for getting calcium. I’m telling you, man, it’s like I’m all bones over here, check me out.”
The second-best part about having an e-cig in the office was that I didn’t have to go outside or be gone for very long when I needed to destress. I could simple step into the bathroom or an empty conference room, enjoy a few quick c-cig puffs, and that took the edge off enough that I could step head back to the meeting and deal with the a 157-slide PowerPoint presentation about how we were going to scale up solutions for the problems we’d created by doing the same dumbass thing over and over. Overall I’m a lot calmer and friendlier now.
The French government has reported and estimated 500k people are smoking e cigs and that number is rising. Electronic cigarettes are suddenly getting a boost in popularity with smokers and law makers alike.
With fear the e cigs could attract new smokers and health concerns ministers announced they want to expand the 2007 smoking ban to cover electronic cigarettes as well. Do to the fact not a lot is know about long term effectes of vaporizing nicotine and if there is second hand vapor concerns. Unlike a traditional cigarette there is no actual burning or carbon released but studies need to be completed on vaporizing nicotine. They also factor in the issue of e cigs “simulating” smoking, does this appeal to children or produce new smokers? Makes you wonder about candy cigarettes children used to eat.
With the number of people dying from tobacco each year in the millions a decent percentage still die from exposer to second hand smoke. And the rapid take off of unproven electronic cigarettes lawmakers are getting nervous. It is a new kind of product, un tested and currently without regulation. Long term effects on the lungs and vaporizing liquid nicotine are unknown but there is a sense that e cigs are healthier than cigarettes. This may not even be true but could be dangerous if the prove to be harmful. As well as being a simulation of smoking will ecigs become a gateway for new smokers?
Currently ecig proponents and tobacco companies alike are touting them as a cigarette replacement and a good way to quit smoking. More and more consumers are jumping on this bandwagon and picking up an ecig. With a whole new market and new customers everyday there is a lot of money to be made and that gets risky concerning health issues. France is leading the way by banning ecigs in public place. This not only buckets electronic cigs with cigarettes but also attached the smoking stigma to them as well.
This could temporarily delay would be e cig smokers until long term testing and regulation can be determined. Electronic Cig companies will be pushing for the opposite, that there is no smoke or smell and is a different product. Banning e cigs in public is just the first step, how will they be classified and regulated are much larger issues. Are ecigs medical products or are they tobacco products. Arguments can be made for either side and then there are those who will say ecigs are neither. They are made from nicotine liquid but are not a tobacco product and they are not also for medicinal but a whole new thing. The market is growing fast and legislation is trying to catch up, either way the legal landscape is starting to take shape but will take years of debate.
Is it a medical product, is it a tobacco product or something else completely. What exactly are electronic cigarettes and how do you regulate them. That is the exact question the EU ministers are asking themselves right now.
Speculation is E cigarettes are about to take off and projected to be a multi billion dollar industry sooner than late. With all the major tabacco companies pushing their way into the scene the giant elephant in the room is regulation. The European Union ministers have taken the first shot moving the regulate electronic cigarettes as a medical product. But hold on some of those who initially pushed hard for regulation are taking a step back now with as large corporations with deep pockets are leaning on them.
What Does This Mean for the United States
What it means is for e cigarettes smokers you are next, as e cigs are popping up everywhere regulation chatter is growing. Both the medical industry and big tobacco will push for regulation in their favor to get the market advantage. Regulation may be a no brainer but just how and when will take some time. The EU will lead the way but comparative to the US bills and legislation move much faster. Very soon I predict many ideas and bills to be proposed but it will be years before any are passed into law.
So in the meantime Big Tobacco has set it’s sites on the e cigarette industry as the vessel that will take them into the future. The main reason being,
1. Traditional cigarettes are becoming more and more taboo, there are less new smokers every year and cigarette taxes are climbing. Add to that a lot of cigarette smokers are converting to e cigs the market is shifting.
2. E cigarettes are not regulated yet, this allows Big Tobacco to market in ways they can not market cigarettes. Such as TV commercials and billboards. It would allow them to reach more customers and potential e cig smokers via media.
3. They have a window to take advantage while regulation hangs in the balance to grab up market share and spin e cigs as a whole new product. While shaking the old stigma of cigarettes they can jump on the bandwagon of electronic cigs are a healthier option before FDA studies are complete. Most consumers believe if you can buy a product is must be safe for you.
4. There may be upwards of 250 current electronic cigarette brands out there now, and with some brands like NJOY attracting millions in investment from silicon valley, notably former Napster creator Sean Parker putting in $10 million. Everyone wants in and everyone wants to beat regulation, but no one has the resources or deep pockets like Big Tobacco. Competition maybe high but Phillip Morris and alike will easily sweep aside the small fries.
Utah House of Representatives attempt to tax e cigarettes at 86% of the manufacturer’s price and the complete ban of mail and internet sale of nicotine containing products failed. The bill would have prohibited all internet sale in Utah and required people to buy electronic cigarettes at the store directly.
The bill would have also prohibited vendors from giving away sample products as well.
Had the bill passed, it would have severely hamper small Internet companies that sold ecigs online. The tax implication would have been tough to swallow as well.
Australia mandated that by December 1, 2012, that all tobacco products follow standard plain packaging guidelines.
The measure also increase a tobacco excise tax of $0.25 per pack of cigarette, imposed greater restrictions on internet advertising, and various other anti-smoking programs to reduce the number of smokers in Australia.
The aim of the plain packing law is to have clear warning labels, prevent misleading packaging and reduce the attractiveness of cigarette products.
Since the implementation of the law, many countries have sought to challenge the law in the World Trade Organization. Thus far, all the challenges have been unsuccessful.
Russia, starting in June 1, 2014 will ban smoking in restaurants and bars. But Russia has been passing new laws and legislation concerning cigarettes for sometime now.
Already in effect is a complete banning of cigarette advertising and smoking in nearly all public places. Public places like government buildings, hospital, sports stadiums, schools and other public buildings.
Tobacco companies in Russia also cannot sponsor sporting events or do promotional campaigns.
They also raise the price of cigarettes.
The Oklahoma state senate recently passed a bill (SB 802) on March 6, 2013 that could dramatically affect the e cigarette industry in the state of Oklahoma. The bill would restrict online sales and prevent retailers from selling to the public without going through a wholesale middleman.
The bill is predicted to affect as many as 45 stores in Oklahoma and will make it more expensive to sell ecig.
It will also be interesting to see what happens when each state decides to pass their own laws given that most of the ecigs are sold online.
Online retailers are going to have to deal with a maze of legislation.