Forbes Magazine Condemns E-Cigarette Taxation

We’ve documented the countless ways that power mad, money hungry politicians have attempted to cash in on the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. They’ve been joined by the usual public health scolds and have sought out to demonize vaping the same way they did smoking. They seemingly could care less about the hypocrisy of vilifying a product that many people use to *quit* smoking which these types spent the better part of the past twenty years convincing us was the worst thing possible. Thankfully, a recent editorial published on the Forbes magazine website sees their efforts for what they really represent: a cash grab.

The Forbes editorial begins by explaining why in theory taxes on cigarettes are legitimate–in theory the added revenue from tobacco use would go to pay for smoking related health care expenses borne by the government. The revenue should be used to pay for what are known as ‘externalities’–societal costs that aren’t covered by the free market. Of course, they continue, tobacco taxes have never been about ‘externalities’. Instead, they’ve been about extracting as much money as possible from a ‘demonized’ industry to pay for all sorts of things like education. This is an easy sell politically because a) smoking is bad for you and b) no one likes ‘big tobacco’.

In light of this, Forbes argues that taxing e-cigarettes is silly and illegitimate. They argue that the only reason that the politicans and bureaucrats are piling on e-cigarettes is ‘because many people enjoy them’ and the underlying reason is that “liberal elites can’t fathom people making their own choices about what to put in their bodies.” Forbes continues to speak the truth “Taxing e-cigarettes is a money grab. If people use e-cigarettes instead of real cigarettes, the state loses money.” Obviously that is bad for government contractors, public employees unions, etc. Of course none of this makes any sense due to the fact that there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking which means, in the words of Forbes, they should be ‘subsidized’ and not taxed.

That’s not going to happen, of course, because of the addictive properties of money to government at every level. They just can’t get enough and don’t care how they get more.