Welcome to the end of the week and another outstanding e-cigarette news roundup! Our stories include mention in a medical reference site that's not all bad. An anti-ban (you'll have to read it to believe it), Hawaii's e-cigarette tax move and what an activist has to say about sin taxes. So hold on and dive into another round of e-cigarette news!
e-Cigarette Article on Medical Site
When the alert for this e-cigarette article (free login required) came in, I cringed a little. Generally, whenever a medical journal type site talks about e-cigarettes, it's usually not a good thing. Most of the time it's the same nonsense from the FDA parroted again. This article included that, but also included information from research that demonstrated the benefits of e-cigarettes.
Little clinical trial data exist regarding the safety and efficacy of electronic cigarettes. Polosa and colleagues found a potential link between use of electronic cigarettes and reduction in number of cigarettes used per day.This 6-month pilot study evaluated 40 regular smokers not intending to quit who were given the opportunity to use e-cigarettes. A sustained 50% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked was noted in about one third of patients at week 24. Over 22% of patients discontinued using cigarettes at week 24; however, most of them were still using e-cigarettes. Although this proof-of-concept study is intriguing, larger studies must be conducted to further delineate the role, if any, of e-cigarettes in long-term smoking cessation.
The above was from the Italian study I mentioned a while back. Don't get too excited. While this article fairly well balances the fear mongering with science that shows the potential of e-cigarettes, the article ends by pointing out there's plenty of FDA approved drugs to use instead.
Hawaii to Classify e-Cigarettes
I ran into this link from Bill Godshall's weekly e-mail newsletter. There's a bill making the rounds in Hawaii's House that will lump e-cigarettes in with the rest of the tobacco products. This means two things. First, minors will be prohibited from buying e-cigarettes (we like that). Second, e-cigarettes will be taxed at 70% of wholesale (we don't like that at all). The bill itself doesn't mention the tax rate, 70% is the going rate for other tobacco products.
If I read that right, this is saying that cigarettes are really bad, and this other thing might not be so bad, but we should really tax it and discourage its use. I love you Hawaii, but damn that is stupid! I wonder if this may impact products like the Lavatube since Volcano is an Hawaiian vendor.
Other End of the Spectrum
This is probably one of the oddest things I've reported on. KSN out of Wichita Kansas ran a story about an e-cigarette controversy. It all started with a person being asked to stop using her e-cigarette at a concert. The TV station verified that there is no public e-cigarette ban and then asked a county commissioner about the use of electronic cigarettes at the venue. His response was unexpected.
So, is Intrust or other any other business in the clear to ban E-Cigarettes?
“My first reaction is no,” says Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Skelton. “Make no mistake, I understand the smoking ban and I think it's the right thing to do. But E-Cigarettes? This is not a harmful product. The way I understand is it's just water vapor.”
“I plan on bringing up this issue with the county commission to better define the use of E-Cigarettes. Because right now I'm not happy to hear that S-M-G is not letting people use the e-cigarette device during events.”
Score one for a local politician that gets e-cigarettes aren't going to kill bystandards. But, I have to take a position I've rarely taken before. Just because something is legal shouldn't prevent a company from prohibiting it. Even if the decision is wrong in my opinion, a company should be free to ban the use of e-cigarettes. I'm not even a libertarian, but if the government should stay out of our vaping, they should also stay out of business decisions about vaping.
Letter in the Sun
Like many states, Maryland is eyeing ways to fatten badly depleted coffers. One of the most popular ways to do that from a political standpoint is through the increase of so-called sin taxes. The state wants to increase the tax on non-cigarette tobacco products like smokeless tobacco and cigars. The Baltimore Sun published a letter from tobacco harm advocate Jeff Stier.
Sin taxes are a bad idea. But if the underlying purpose of a sin tax is to discourage risky behavior, the tax rate on each product ought to be in line with the risk of that behavior.
But Gov.Martin O'Malley's plan to increase sin taxes on smokeless tobacco and cigars, in order to level the playing field with cigarettes, ignores the established science that cigarettes are by far the most dangerous way to use tobacco.
The thing with sin taxes, especially on tobacco is that they sort of lost their way. Originally the idea was to tax harmful products to recoup medical expenses brought on by the health issues or discourage a product's use. However, as states sought to meet budget shortfalls, sin taxes became a way to grab some quick cash rather than any effort to improve the public well-being.
Deal of the Moment
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Be a news spotter! Run across an article you think I should be mentioning here? Let me know! Just Tweet @SteveVape with the hashtag #ecignews or post it up on my Facebook page. I’ll be sure to give you a shout out in the news update if you’re the first one to spot it.