Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon in most countries. As such, there aren’t tax laws around vaping in most parts of the world. Even in the U.S where vaping has grown exponentially, there aren’t any laws on its taxation. It’s only recently that Connecticut lawmakers introduced a bill seeking to impose federal taxes on vaping. As vaping becomes more commonplace, such bills will increase all across the world. It’s just a matter of time. Therefore, at this point the big question isn’t whether or not vaping products should be taxed, but whether they should be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes. Cigarettes are among the most overtaxed products in the world. The goal of these punitive taxes, is to disincentive cigarette smoking due to its harmful side effects, such as a high risk of cancer. So should vaping be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes? The answer is a resounding NO. Here’s why.
1. Vaping can help cigarette smokers quit
Most people looking to quit smoking can’t do so drastically. The withdrawal effects can hinder them from engaging in any productive activities. For such people, the best way is to take in small amounts of nicotine, until they are in a position to quit completely. Vaping allows them to take this gradual approach to quit. As such, since the whole idea of punitive cigarette taxes is to discourage smoking, it would not make sense to impose punitive taxes on something that can help in this process. Vaping should be taxed at a rate that encourages it, as a strategy for discouraging cigarette smoking. In fact, if scientific research proves that it can help smokers quit, it should be incentivized through subsidies.
2. Vaping doesn’t spread 2nd hand smoke
One of the reasons why cigarettes are taxed at a punitive rate is because, they don’t just affect smokers, but those around them as well. Second-hand smoke from cigarettes has been shown to have the same effect on non-smokers as it does on smokers. That’s a good enough reason to impose punitive taxes on cigarettes. That’s not the case with vaping. Top-quality vaping pods are designed in such a way that, they don’t produce a cloud of vapor. In essence, even if there may be side effects to vaping, they only affect the person who is vaping. As such, there is no rational basis for taxing vape at the same punitive level as cigarettes.
3. Vaping is eco-friendly
Vaping pods are designed in such a way that, they can be refilled. This means that, they don’t add to the growing amount of e-waste that has become a huge problem for the environment. Since we live in a world where climate change has become a real concern, anything that helps in making the environment better should be encouraged. Vaping combines environmental friendliness with all the above attributes, meaning it’s nowhere close to cigarettes in terms of harm. As such, there would be no rationale for taxing them at the same rate. Taxing them at the same rate would be a hindrance to progress.