E-cigs have recently got a lot of bad press and are currently being hampered by a lot of incoming regulations. A recent 58% e-cigarette tax was introduced in Italy, which has since crippled the growth of the Italian e-cig market.
As the popularity of vaping continues to increase across the world, more and more people are quitting standard tobacco cigarettes. This means governments across the world are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue. This is causing a big problem for governments, most of whom already find themselves in deep amounts of debt. They had previously counted on the income generated from cigarettes and still rely on this income. Now they are receiving less and less money from cigarette sales and therefore need to somehow get the money from somewhere else.
The government in Italy decided the best course of action was to start taxing the increasingly popular e-cigarettes. Around 15% of the Italian smoking community had been reported to have switched to e-cigarettes. The government, seeking to replace lost tobacco tax, have put a massive 58% tax on e-cigarettes. One of the great appeals of e-cigarettes is that they are in general a lot cheaper than smoking normal cigarettes. Obviously it depends on your vaping set-up and what e-liquid you vape, but overall it tends to work out considerably cheaper than normal cigarettes. Now taxing them and making them 58% more expensive will most likely mean that e-cigarettes will become just as expensive if not more expensive than normal cigarettes. This has already had a massive impact on the vaping community and shops in Italy. Many vape shops have gone out of business and the number of new vapers has stalled considerably. This ultimately means that more people will be go back to smoking normal cigarettes. This could potentially lead to many people shortening their lives considerably by switching back to a much more deadly alternative. E-cigarettes are by no means healthy, but they are considerably less dangerous than normal cigarettes. By taxing e-cigarettes governments could quite literally be condemning millions of their citizens to early tobacco related deaths. To me this seems absolutely ridiculous and I can't believe any government would want this for their people.
It seems that big tobacco is putting a lot of pressure on Governments to force these type of regulations and taxes upon electronic cigarettes. This combined with the pressure of falling tobacco tax income means that Governments will falter and resort to taxing or over regulating e-cigs. I really hope it will not come to this and that Governments can see the benefits of supporting vaping. One massive benefit is the health care costs the government will save from less people being diagnosed with and treated for tobacco related illnesses. I think governments could potentially save billions from this and should see this as a big potential cost reduction for their budgets. This would mean they would not have to tax e-cigarettes and should therefore help promote them to current smokers.