Brooklyn, NY — The New York State Conservative Party issued the following legislative memo in opposition to Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal to tax electronic cigarettes.
S.2009 Budget A.3009-Budget
Purpose: Enacts into law major components of legislation necessary to implement the state fiscal plan for the 2017-2018 state fiscal year.
Party Position: Electronic cigarettes may well prove to be a significant tool as a harm reduction alternative for individuals who are currently using tobacco products. Unlike traditional tobacco products, these devices do not contain tobacco or emit smoke, rather they heat up liquid nicotine and flavorings while emitting water vapor. There are none of the second hand smoke concerns that are associated with combustible tobacco products.
Many individuals who are attempting to stop smoking use e-cigarettes.
The most extensive study of e-cigarettes to date, Public Health England in 2015 found that these products are 95% less harmful than smoking and they can help smokers quit. In fact, Public Health England encourages smokers to immediately switch to e-cigarettes to reduce the health consequences of smoking.
If electronic cigarettes have the potential to reduce the addiction to combustible tobacco products then it would be contrary to sound public policy to tax these products. A tax on these products – regardless of the rate – will only serve to discourage the use of a potentially promising product for public health.
Electronic cigarettes offer all New Yorkers a cost effective way to potentially quit smoking. A regressive tax on these products will most adversely impact those lower income New Yorkers who might see these products as their best opportunity to quit.
The NYS Conservative Party does not condone or condemn the vaping of electronic cigarettes, and we believe that more information is becoming available daily for adults to make their own informed decisions.
E-cigarettes are not tobacco products. They are, quite the opposite. With a potential for a public health benefit, e-cigarettes need to be treated differently than combustible tobacco products and not subject to sin taxes.