Residents of a popular Colorado tourist town voted Tuesday to approve high taxes on tobacco and related products, including electronic cigarettes.
Preliminary unofficial election results on Tuesday show that around 74 percent of residents of Aspen, Colorado, approved the tobacco proposal, which will make the products in the city significantly more expensive. The new taxes, which come into effect on January 1, 2018, will raise the price of a cigarette pack by $ 3, increasing the tax by 10 percent annually until it reaches $ 4, Aspen Daily News Online reports.
A tax of 40 percent is levied on all steam products and smokeless tobacco, despite their very different risk profile compared to cigarettes. Officials say the tax is not about income, but aims to reduce smoking quotas among adolescents and prevent them from ever using tobacco and nicotine products.
Much research shows that e-cigarettes can dramatically reduce the damage caused by flammable tobacco actually helping to reduce smoking in the US at a historic pace. Public health experts focused on harm reduction say that officials who want to reduce the population of smokers should expand, not restrict, access to steam products.
The impending tax of 40 percent is likely to destroy the city's steam industry and make the products much more expensive for the users, many of whom are former smokers who resort to the devices for their daily nicotine fix.
While health experts agree that efforts to reduce tobacco use are admirable, they argue that these efforts, through vaping, will not undermine devices. In Pennsylvania, where a 40 percent tax on steam products entered into force in October 201
Smokers who want to give up in Pennsylvania are finding it increasingly difficult to find easy access to steam products. Instead of making smokers adopt a health-conscious decision, Pennsylvania officials are forcing residents to use traditional tobacco products to quench their addictions.
"One thing I hear is people who say I could not get anything [vape juice] I bought cigarettes out there," said Shane King, manager of Love Vape in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Citizen. "They could not find spools for their devices, that sort of thing, it happens a lot."
Advocates of smoking alternatives say that scare tactics miss the biggest point about e-cigarettes, namely that they are a damage-mitigation tool Millions of American smokers are helping to give up flammable tobacco. About 2.62 million former smokers used a vape in 2016.
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