There was a time when politicians wanted businesses to flourish but when it comes to the e-cigarette industry, they just seem determined to stick their noses in and make life hell. They listen to the wrong people and ignore positive studies about the product. A key battle is how e-cigarettes are defined, are they tobacco products or not?Friday the 13th may have proved to be an unlucky one for e-cigarettes in North Dakota. Two bills limiting access to the product were passed and one went down a very familiar route. It labelled e-cigarettes as tobacco products without a single sensible reason for doing so.
This isn’t really something based on fact but a lazy way of ensuring that laws relating to tobacco cigarettes and other products, can easily be adopted towards e-cigarettes. Those laws include things like compliance checks from local police and how e-cigarettes are displayed in stores. It’ll also be the first step in a bid to levy unreasonable and unhelpful taxes on e-cigarettes. Some politicians really do come out with statements that make you wonder if they ever bother to do any research. Rep. Kenton Onstad (Democrat) came out with this crazy comment: “"I don't know how we can separate the idea of discussing e-cigarettes and then we're going to talk about the taxing of tobacco when it's clearly a tobacco product." So why exactly is something that does not contain tobacco “clearly a tobacco product”? Perhaps he can explain this statement, though it’s probably not best to hold your breath waiting for him to do so.Perhaps he should listen to Kim Koppelman (Rep) who said that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products. His view confirms what we all think as he states that defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products is simply “a back-door way” to tax the product. Eliot Glassheim (Rep) doesn’t agree with Koppelman who was the lead sponsor of another bill that bans sales to under-18s but doesn’t classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Again the subject of taxation rears its ugly head. He says: “The issue is this bill has a definition which pre-empts these devices as being considered tobacco products. It’s a new definition, and it seems to me it’s a stealth way of not being able to tax them in later bills.”As for Koppelman’s bill, which bans the sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, it’s an unnecessary one. We all know that e-cigarette stores have no intention of selling their products to under-18s. There was bad news for politicians in North Dakota though as a bill that would have seen a substantial increase in taxes on cigarettes failed to win support. The bill would have seen taxes raised by more than 200% on a pack of cigarettes. Now we have to wonder if the defeated politicians will be looking for other areas in which they can raise tax revenue, i.e. e-cigarettes.
Politicians always seem to have some hidden agenda. That’s definitely the case with how e-cigarettes are classified. A growing industry is one that can be taxed in the future and that’s the real reason they want to classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products.