The Double-Edged Sword: Taxes Meant To Curb Teen Vaping Epidemic Could Increase Smoking Rates In Adults
The vaping industry has been making the argument all long: a crackdown on e-cigarettes will be detrimental to adults who are trying to quit smoking. But taxes work to combat the crisis facing the country's youth. So is there a way to walk the tightrope between the two concerns? Meanwhile, public health groups are angry over President Donald Trump's decision to leave menthol and tobacco flavors on the market.
The New York Times:
What If A Vaping Tax Encouraged Cigarette Smoking?
The surging popularity of vaping among young Americans is driving lawmakers to use one of their favorite tools to discourage unwanted behavior: taxes. In December, the Massachusetts legislature passed a 75 percent tax on all e-cigarettes. Twenty states have already done so, along with the District of Columbia, and several more are considering similar policies. The House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill last year that would make federal tobacco taxes apply equally to cigarettes and vaping products that deliver nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco. (Sanger-Katz, 1/6)
Public Health Advocates Outraged By Trump's Limited Vaping Ban
Public health groups are outraged by President Trump's limited vaping ban, arguing the new policy is short-sighted and will not stop a surge in youth vaping. Health advocates are also accusing the president of bowing to political interests in an election year. The administration’s decision, announced Thursday, is a major reversal from its promise in September to completely ban the sale of most e-cigarette flavors. The move also came after an intense pressure campaign by the vaping industry. (Weixel, 1/5)
How Trump’s Vape Plan Could Affect New England States
The Trump administration announced Thursday that it will ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette cartridges or disposable “pods,” but will allow menthol- and tobacco-flavored pods and flavored nicotine liquids sold for open-tank systems at vape stores. Pod-based systems, such as Juul, have grown popular with teenagers in part because of their convenience, smaller smoke clouds, and thumb-drive size compared to the larger open-tank devices. Consumers in Massachusetts won’t be affected because state law already is more restrictive than the new federal policy, which begins next month. But other New England states with less stringent policies will see changes. (Martin, 1/3)
And in other news —
Sanders Calls For Vaping Industry Shutdown, Then Walks It Back
For a moment — before his campaign almost immediately walked it back — Bernie Sanders appeared to call Saturday for the vaping industry to be “shut down.”Responding to a question about the youth vaping epidemic at a town hall meeting here, the Vermont senator said, “The answer is, I think we shut down the industry if they’re causing addiction and if the evidence is that people are getting sick as a result or inhaling a lot of bad stuff.” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ longtime political adviser, told POLITICO following the town hall that Sanders was “certainly not talking about shutting down the industry tomorrow.” (Owermohle, 1/4)
Atlanta's Ban On Smoking Officially Begins
The city of Atlanta’s ban on smoking and vaping in most public places went into effect on Thursday. In July, the Atlanta City Council approved legislation prohibiting smoking and vaping indoors, including bars and restaurants, with a 13-2 vote.Cigar bars and hookah lounges are exempt from the ban. (Deere, 1/3)