Politicians rush to tax e-cigarettes. Is taxing nicotine patches next? Are they doing this to make it more difficult to quit smoking or out of ignorance?

Is it just me or are others wondering why it is primarily Democrats who want to regulate what we put in our bodies so much?  E-cigarettes deliver nicotine just like the nicotine patches do, but they may be a more attractive substitute to those who want to quite smoking because they involve other actions that remind smokers of the sensations that they have when they smoke.  Presumably no one would want to put a tax on nicotine patches, but why do they then want to put a tax on e-cigs?  From Fox News:
. . . But lawmakers in more than two dozen cash-strapped states are racing to regulate them as a new source of revenue. For some, this means tacking on an excise tax -- which is a fee on a specific product, and often dubbed a "sin tax" when applied to socially shunned products like cigarettes.  Minnesota has led the charge and is currently the only state that’s got a specific tax policy for e-cigarettes on the books. The 2012 decision subjects vapor inhalers to a 95 percent tax that is stapled to the wholesale cost of the product. . . .
In his 2015 budget proposal last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pitched a plan to hike taxes on electronic cigarettes to match the rate of regular cigarettes -- about $2.70 per pack.
Supporters say increasing taxes will keep them out of the hands of children and teens.
But critics argue treating traditional cigarettes the same as e-cigs will hurt small businesses and strip smokers of the incentive to quit. . . .
But to some, like New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman Dan Benson, taxing e-cigarettes is not only a fiscal responsibility but also sends an important message to would-be smokers.
“If e-cigarettes are taxed less than regular cigarettes, we’re sending a message out there that they’re somehow safer, and I think the jury is out on that,” he recently told a New Jersey radio station. . . .
Nicotine is a very well studied chemical and it is no more dangerous than caffeine.  Here is a useful comparison of the two products.  Nicotine isn't the same as tobacco in terms of its ability to cause cancer.
Nicotine occurs naturally in all tobacco products, including snuff, cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco. It is the psychoactive substance responsible for tobacco's mood-altering effects, as well as its addictive properties. 
Caffeine is present naturally in tea, coffee, cocoa beans and herbs like guarana and yerba mate. It is often added to soda, energy supplements and weight loss products for its stimulating effects and can be found in a number of over-the-counter allergy medicines and pain relievers. 
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. They speed bodily functions and bring about temporary feelings of enhanced energy and vitality in most users. 
Caffeine is consumed mainly for its energizing effects. It temporarily fights fatigue and improves mental focus, resulting in improved mood and concentration. It constricts blood vessels to help relieve allergy symptoms and headache, hence its inclusion in many over-the-counter medications. Other effects may include insomnia, jitteriness, nausea and rapid heart rate.  
Like caffeine, nicotine constricts blood vessels and speeds heart rate and cognitive functioning. It attaches to acetylcholine receptors in the brain, often leading to additional effects like appetite suppression, nausea and dry mouth. Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that make it extremely difficult to quit. . . .
As far as addiction goes, nicotine might be similar to alcohol.  Why is it that Democrats are the ones that one to regulate what we put in our bodies? 



Blogger Confusingly Clear said...

"Why is it that Democrats are the ones that one to regulate what we put in our bodies?"

Of course they want to make it difficult for people to quit smoking. Tobacco taxes are a big source of revenue for federal, state and some city governments. If too many people quit, they'll be forced to find some other source of revenue. Nanny-state regulations always take a back seat to government spending. Recall that, though there was strong support for prohibition well before the 18th Amendment was ratified, they couldn't move on that front until they got the 16th Amendment in place to replace the revenue from excise taxes and import tariffs on alcohol with the income tax.

3/19/2014 5:07 PM  

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