Tobacco Dollars and The Political Elite December 23 2014

Mark Benson, OK Premium Electronic Cigarettes, December 23, 2014

Tobacco dollars and the political elite 

There are few industries in history that have shown the growth seen in the vaping sector over the last decade. It is easy to forget that the vaping industry was seen as something of a niche market at the turn-of-the-century yet 2015 is expected to see the turnover of $2 billion in the US electronic cigarette market alone. However, this impressive growth looks even better set against a political backdrop that has been negative, counter-productive and constantly downbeat about the sector. 

So, why do tobacco dollars seem to be worth more in the eyes of the political elite? 

Taxes, taxes, taxes 

If we take a step back from the tobacco cigarette/electronic cigarette argument and look at the tax income which governments around the world receive, a large part of this comes from the tobacco sector. However, there has been a significant drop in tobacco tax income of late, due to the smoking ban and growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, and this is beginning to hit not only the federal government but also state authority budgets. 

This is perhaps the main reason why politicians have been very negative towards electronic cigarettes although many of their arguments against electronic cigarettes have recently been shown to have serious flaws. One such argument revolves around the suggestion that electronic cigarettes are a gateway back to tobacco cigarettes. Well, a recent report in the UK proved that fewer than one in 300 electronic cigarette users have never tried tobacco cigarettes. So, what next?

Regulatory issues 

It will come as no surprise to those who follow the political elite that after ignoring the vaping industry, then ridiculing the sector many are now looking at strict regulations. Indeed, it is also worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently in year three of a two-year review of the sector and seemingly no nearer putting new regulations on the statute books. This "unbiased" authority has already shown its true colours over the last few years after initially trying to ban electronic cigarettes outright only to be forced into an embarrassing U-turn by the US courts.

 There is growing concern that the political elite is determined to class electronic cigarettes and vaping devices in the same manner as tobacco cigarettes. These concerns are worrying because electronic cigarettes do not contain the 4000+ toxins seen in tobacco cigarettes and all of the ingredients are already present in the food chain. Some skeptics believe that by classifying electronic cigarettes/vaping devices in a similar manner to tobacco products there may even be scope to bring sales income under the tobacco tax banner.

 Are politicians ignoring the long-term benefits? 

While trials and research into the health implications of long-term electronic cigarette use have to date been very positive, especially compared to tobacco cigarettes, all responsible parties in the industry are calling for more trials. This ongoing process will eventually clarify any possible issues although the data so far has cast serious doubt on many of the arguments put forward by those critical of the industry. It is also worth noting that even the most ardent critics of electronic cigarettes concede they are at worst less harmful than their tobacco counterparts with some experts suggesting they could be up to 90% less harmful. So, is there potential for long-term savings in healthcare costs? 

When you bear in mind the healthcare costs, often supported by taxpayers, directly and indirectly associated with alleged tobacco healthcare issues, there must be potentially billions of dollars in long-term savings. Whether or not governments and state authorities around the world are unable to look beyond the short-term and potential budget deficits is a bone of contention. However, maybe a little short-term pain on the financial front could lead to significant long-term savings and improved health for many tobacco smokers today?

This article was written by Mark Benson, our colleague across the pond and executive at OK Electronic Cigarettes. For further information about electronic cigarettes please visit ""