Electronic Cigarettes and their Future
Cigarettes are proven to be carcinogenic and smokers know the health risks they are facing. Smokers have a much higher chance of dying from cancer than non-smokers. Many governments around the world are influenced by the tobacco industry.
Smoking and the Law
It would cost the UK government over £12 billion in lost tobacco duty annually if they succeed in getting all the smokers to quit. Alcohol is another harmful substance that the government doesn’t mind too much who it kills because of the money it brings into the treasury.
In recent months, there have been several negative stories in the press regarding e-cigarettes and their safety. In the UK, less than 200 people die each year in work related accidents, and yet we have extensive health and safety legislation to protect them, yet 100,000 people die annually from smoking related diseases but they are still legal.
The country can’ afford for its smokers to all give up smoking. If the government earns enough money from harmful substances then it permits them.
Electronic Cigarette Regulation
The lost tax revenue from smokers switching to electronic cigarettes will force the exchequer to look at the regulation and taxation of e-liquid.
Regulation will lead to price rises as the large conglomerates dominate the industry. Will any regulation of e-cigarettes be in the public interest or the interests of the exchequer? Regulation will have more to do with taxation than any perceived health concerns.
Competitors of E-Cigarettes
There are two industries that will potentially be affected if electronic cigarette use continues to grow, the tobacco industry and the smoking cessation industry. Nicotine patches and gum can’t provide the same satisfying hit of nicotine that an e-cigarette or vaporizer can.
While the tobacco industry want to prevent e-cigarettes from taking their customers, it is difficult for them to argue against them on health grounds. It is believed in some quarters that the tobacco companies are quietly supporting the smoking cessation industries campaign against e-cigarettes.
Likely Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes
When the government is in such desperate need of the duty raised by cigarettes, the health of the public may well remain a secondary consideration. One problem for the government is that it is quite easy to make your own e-liquid, so if people want to they can avoid having to pay any duty imposed on e-juice.
Once regulated, the official manufacturers will in all likelihood do everything they can to prevent people from making their own e-liquid.
Many smokers are happy to try smoking a cheaper cigarette regardless of where it comes from. In the next few months we will discover what legislation will be past to regulate e-cigarettes. For e-cigarettes to be viable for the government the e-liquid needs to be taxed, otherwise the exchequer will lose too much money.
If e-cigarettes can’t be effectively taxed and regulated then it is more likely that they will be banned regardless of them being a safer alternative to tobacco. The government need to be able to tax e-liquid and electronic smoking devices otherwise they will end up losing too much revenue as smokers switch from tobacco to using the cheaper and more convenient devices.
The gradual erosion of tobacco duty caused by smokers switching to electronic devices will eventually force the government to implement regulation on the devices as well as then being able to tax e-liquid.
The inevitable conclusion is that electronic cigarettes will be regulated at some point in the near future so that they can be taxed to offset lost tobacco duty receipts.