Tobacco Harm Reduction 101: A Guidebook for Policymakers

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Millions of Americans have used e-cigarettes and vaping devices to help them quit smoking combustible cigarettes, which are far more harmful. E-cigarettes provide economic and public health benefits that are too important to be unnecessarily subjected to numerous burdensome regulations and draconian taxes.

If lawmakers take advantage of the vital opportunity presented by e-cigarettes and vaping products, millions of additional American lives and billions of tax dollars could be saved over the next few decades.

E-cigarettes have been examined extensively over the past several years, and numerous public health organizations have found these products to be significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, with some urging their use as a replacement for combustible tobacco.

E-cigarettes offer a much more effective way to reduce tobacco use than relying on government mandates and “quit or die” appeals. They have helped nearly three million U.S. adults quit smoking from 2007 to 2015 -- especially among military members, who tend to smoke at higher rates.

Research overwhelmingly shows the smoke created by the burning of tobacco, rather than the nicotine, produces the harmful chemicals found in combustible cigarettes. There are an estimated 600 ingredients in each tobacco cigarette, and “when burned, [they] create more than 7,000 chemicals. There is no significant scientific evidence connecting major health problems with the use of nicotine alone.

Taxes imposed on e-cigarettes and vaping devices have been extremely detrimental for states and local economies. In 2016, Pennsylvania imposed a 40 percent wholesale floor tax on vaping products. By 2017, an estimated 120 vape shops, nearly one-third of all vape shops in Pennsylvania, had shut down, eliminating tax revenue for the state and reducing opportunities for smokers in Pennsylvania to access proven smoking cessation tools.

The data supporting allegations of a youth vaping epidemic are questionable, and the use of taxes to deal with the alleged problem appears to be counterproductive.

A careful examination of the research conducted on e-cigarettes and vaping show FDA bureaucratic inertia, political grandstanding, and ignorance about the health consequences of using e-cigarettes have led to the creation of unnecessary, unjustifiable, and harmful limitations on their use.

Read the full guide here.

Feature Charticle

E-Cigarettes Taxes by State

Heartland

Findings:

  • Taxes imposed on e-cigarettes and vaping devices have been extremely detrimental for states and local economies. 
  • In 2016, Pennsylvania imposed a 40 percent wholesale floor tax on vaping products. By 2017, an estimated 120 vape shops, nearly one-third of all vape shops in Pennsylvania, had shut down. 
  • E-cigarettes provide economic and public health benefits that are too important for them to be unnecessarily subjected to numerous burdensome regulations and draconian taxes.