Huge News! How Different Vaping Regulations Have A Massive Impact On Smoking Cessation
A new article attempts to explain the pitfalls of many common vaping regulations
Reactions to vaping’s rise to prominence over the past decade have been varied. Governments around the world have handled this new challenge with a range of regulations and legislation, some being harsh and restrictive while others have been more accepting and encouraging. One of, if not the most common government reaction to vaping has been taxation.
Entire countries and individual states have levied taxes on vaping products to varying degrees. Some flatly believe that vaping should not be encouraged, mistakenly viewing it as equally as harmful as cigarettes. Others are worried about the sensationalized “epidemic” of teenage vapers. In these places, they have tended to place high taxes on vaporizers and other vaping products. On the other hand, some governments have chosen lower taxes, which aim to encourage smokers to pick up vaping. The lower relative cost can be another big enticement for smokers used to paying high taxes on cigarettes, but the research is still being conducted.
The Latest Research
This week the International Center for Law and Economics, or ICLE, released a paper addressing the need for research on how these different tactics affect vape sales and if they are accomplishing their goals. The article, titled Vapor Products, Harm Reduction, And Taxation: Principles, Evidence, And A Research Agenda was written by ICLE’s chief economist, Dr. Eric Fruits who analyzed the different taxation tactics.
Dr. Fruits identified a disconnect between the legislature’s stated goals, and what was actually being accomplished with taxes. A primary reason he noted was the general lack of research into the long-term effects of vaping regulations. Dr. Fruits addressed the contradictory nature of heavily taxing a harm reduction product saying, “the consequence of over-taxing a product may be the consumption of alternative goods that cost less but cause even greater harm. It is not only the absolute level of taxation that matters, but also the level relative to alternatives.”
Dr. Fruits also pointed to the contradiction of goals that some legislatures run into when attempting to tax vape products. They want to discourage consumption while producing revenue for themselves. Dr. Fruits evidence suggests that most of these so-called solutions are ultimately more complicated than legislators would like. “In the long-run, the goals of reducing or eliminating consumption of a taxed good and generating revenues from it are in conflict. If a tax is successful in reducing consumption, it likely falls short in generating revenue. Similarly, if a tax succeeds in generating revenues, it likely falls short in reducing or eliminating consumption.”
What Dr. Fruits ultimately calls for is more research on the topic. There is, in his estimation no data supporting any of the strict policies currently in place. Cross-product comparison, he says, is extremely challenging in this case. At this point, we simply lack enough information to say anything for sure. But once we have more data indicating what effects the various vaping regulatory policies have, it will be much easier to answer this question once and for all. Right now, Dr. Fruits says, we have a lot of extremes going on in the market and learning more about the differences will ultimately find a proper balance between inaction and over-regulation.
A lot of the actions governments have taken to reign in vaping have happened while caught up in the sensationalized coverage vaping receives in the media. Many parents are up in arms over a teenage vaping epidemic, when studies show that only 0.1-0.5% of non-smoking teens ever take up vaping. Unfortunately, people believe the negative media coverage that implies vaping is as harmful as smoking. Much of the evidence the media uses is cherry-picked from poorly designed and easily disproven articles. On the contrary, what has been proven repeatedly through many scientific studies is vaping’s harm reduction and smoking cessation value.
Public Health England found, all the way back in 2015, that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, this study has been supported innumerable times since. A study out of the University of Louisville found that when compared with other smoking cessation tools, like nicotine gum or prescription drugs, vaping was the most effective at helping people quit smoking successfully. What governments ought to be doing is supporting vaping as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. That means finding the right balance of how vaping should be treated as a product. If we ever intend to put an end to tobacco use once and for all, we as a society must accept vaping.
How important is it that we nail down the proper way to regulate vaping? What’s the next step toward improving the public perception of vaping? Why do you think so many legislators seem to equate vaping with smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.