Tobacco Industry Wants More E-Cig Taxes

The reason that politics is such a sleazy business is on clear display in the regulatory feeding frenzy over e-cigarettes. The politicians that are most forcefully condemning e-cigarettes are not only going against their own ‘principles’ regarding the dangers of smoking and the importance of public health they find themselves on the same side as the tobacco industry. What the anti-smokes kooks used to dismissively refer to as ‘Big Tobacco’ is helping to push the misguided crusade against e-cigarettes. At least the tobacco companies’ motivation is understandable–they want what is nominally a competing product subject to the same burdensome taxes that they are.

This exact scenario is going down as we speak in North Carolina aka ‘Tobacco Road’. Here’s the story–as you probably know most of the big cigarette companies have also entered the e-cigarette market. One such company is Reynolds America–the #2 cigarette producer in the United States–who is lobbying hard in North Carolina to have e-cigarettes taxed at a higher rate than general products but at a lower rate than tobacco products. Why, you might ask, would they want to do this? Why would they want any additional taxes at all? It’s a simple matter of economics–they can afford to absorb a higher tax rate as can other ‘Big Tobacco’ firms who have entered the e-cigarette market. The bad news for consumers is that many smaller companies couldn’t as easily afford this hit. This is good news for the tobacco companies, however, as it will help eliminate competition and reinforce the ‘Big Tobacco’ cabal.

Of course this isn’t good enough for the nanny state regulation happy politicians and the anti smoking kooks who sense that they can profit and enhance their power by treating e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Never mind that doing so is a repudiation of their vitriol against the health risk of cigarettes and ‘second hand smoke’. They’ve never had any problem with abandoning principles for money and power so don’t expect that to change now. Unfortunately, they can do this without any real danger since the general public is clueless about their motives and the mainstream media gives them a pass.