It’s no big secret that American politicians, primarily the Democrats, want to reclassify all vaping devices and e-cigs as tobacco products. While many in the vaping community believe that government officials are simply lumping all cylindrical-shaped inhalers into the same category due to ignorance, others are not so sure. What’s really behind the anti-vaping movement?
Numbers don’t lie.
According to a recent news story published on the Quartz website, Yelp data shows that the number of tobacco retailers, wholesalers, and distributors nationwide has nearly doubled in the past 15-years even though the smoking population is decreasing at nearly the same rate. As of mid-February 2016, there were almost 11,000 listed vape shops in the United States. That’s almost three times the number of bowling alleys or four times the number of comic book stores.
The same Yelp statics also show a particularly strong surge in new vape shops opening in the past 18-months, a much faster rate than at any other time in the 15-year study. Nevada has nearly seven vape shops per every 100,000 citizens. Hawaii, where the legal smoking age is now 21, has about six. California, Florida, and Oklahoma round out the list of the Top Five States with the most vape shops per capita. Is it any coincidence that California also recently raised its legal smoking age to 21, just like Hawaii?
It’s all about money.
Politicians are no dummies, even though they often appear as complete buffoons on national television and in Presidential Debates. And Big Tobacco has generated trillions of tax dollars in the last few decades. As the number of smokers continues to decline and vaping gains in popularity, politicians need to replace that lost tax revenue somehow. What’s the easiest way to do this? Tax the vaping industry.
Even though anyone with half a brain knows that vaping is infinitely healthier than smoking chemical-filled tobacco cigarettes, government officials choose an anti-vaping marketing strategy to place fear in the minds of the American People. This fear often comes in the form of exploding e-cigs stories and catchy headlines like, “I got vapers tongue from my Eleaf iStick.” As Americans become increasingly frightened, they demand government regulation.
Where is all this heading?
What happened in California this week is essentially a warning shot fired across the bow of the vaping industry. Within 48-hours, the Golden State not only raised the legal smoking age to 21, but they also got the State Legislature to classify vaping devices and e-cigs as tobacco products. Other portions of the six different bills include a substantial increase in the licensing fees of tobacco retailers. Coincidence?
Once Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bills, vape shops will officially be taxable just like the local cigar store down the street. And thanks to Former President Bill Clinton, who slapped an immediate $2.00 per pack tax on all brands of tobacco cigarettes back in 1993, this leaves the door open to intermittently place other excessive taxes on everything from vape batteries to e-juice.
Vape shop owners may even eventually be forced to pay a massive application fee for government approval that may take up to 18-months simply to sell a new brand of e-liquid. Vape retailers should be quaking in their boots right now, especially in California.