Just as tobacco products, electronic cigarette and e-liquid prices are rising in the USA. As part of a larger public health initiative, products with nicotine are taxed at 40 %. A study carried out in Pennsylvania in 2015 has proven that young consumers are vaping in spite of the hit to their wallets. It appears that the rates are even rising!
Electronic cigarettes have multiple advantages. Not only are they tobacco-free, and therefore contain none of the toxic components found in classic cigarettes, but due to the fact that there is no combustion, there are none of the health hazards associated with carcinogens in smoke. It is also true that there is little information available on the health risks of long-term vaping. To meet this challenge, health authorities are taking a preventive approach and established a tax on vaping products to steer teenagers away from the high addiction potential.
The increase in vaping rates in the USA is worrying to parents, and the fear is mounting. Many have called this a tragedy of public health, a measure of how divisive this topic can be. There is even talk of a a vaping epidemic, a turn of phrase stated multiple times by former Commissioner of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb. In this context of hostility, many States are working to stop the trend in its tracks. One of the most common strategies is the establishment of taxes on e-cigarette and related accessories. But according to recent research, this has had very little impact…
A useless fiscal policy
This fiscal policy, built on the foundations of tobacco industry tax schemes, is apparently doing very little to reduce electronic cigarette consumption rates in younger populations. Lindsey Stroud, a government spokesperson for the state of Pennsylvanie, indicated that in middle and high-school populations, the habitual vaping rate was calculated at 15,5 % in 2015. The following year, the 40% tax was voted in with a stated objective of reducing the vaping rate. In 2017, the Pennsylvania Youth Survey conclusions indicated that the rate had climbed to 16,3 % of middle and high-schoolers who had vaped in the days preceding the survey, which represents an increase of 0,8 % in 2 years.
So it would seem that this particular slice of the population is in no way closer to quitting e-cigs, whatever the price. The USA should be despairing, however, as an increase in vaping means that smoking rates are falling, as these two rates have an inverse proportional relationship.