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Alcohol & Tobacco

Alcohol & Tobacco
Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Public Policy Toward Alternatives to Smoking
Policymakers should be mindful of the extensive research that supports tobacco harm reduction and understand that bans, excessive regulations, or high taxes on e-cigarettes could encourage smokers to stay with more-harmful traditional cigarettes.
Alcohol & Tobacco
March 7, 2017
E-Cigarette Companies Ask Judge to Void Indiana E-Cigarette Restrictions
In February, lawyers representing the plaintiffs—Legato Vapors, Jet Setter Juice, Rocky Mountain Ecigs, and Derb E Cigs Indiana—filed paperwork asking Barker to “enter the tendered proposed judgment order and permanent injunction.
Taxes
March 5, 2017
Raise Cigarette Tax to Fix Budget, Connecticut Governor Says
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) wants to raise the state’s excise taxes on cigarettes to help cover a projected state budget gap of $1.7 billion, or about $472 in debt per Connecticut resident.
More News
Alcohol & Tobacco
March 1, 2017
PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Publishes New Booklet on Vaping as Alternative to Smoking
Dr. Brad Rodu, lead author of Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Public Policy Toward Alternatives to Smoking, has been at the forefront of tobacco harm reduction research and policy development for more than 20 years.
Alcohol & Tobacco
February 11, 2017
Congressman Proposes Rolling Back Cigar Power Grab
A Florida congressman is proposing a bill to roll back a 2016 power grab by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, revoking the agency’s authority to restrict cigar sales.
Alcohol & Tobacco
January 23, 2017
Lawsuit Challenging Federal Cigar Regulations Moves Forward
Trade organizations representing cigar manufacturers and vendors are suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a regulatory expansion the agency enacted in 2016.
 

The Issue

State governments are attracted to sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol to remedy budget shortfalls. The National Association of State Budget Officers reported that between 2000 and 2015, states adopted 111 tax increases on tobacco products and an additional 23 tax increases on alcohol.

Sin taxes are essentially excise taxes. They are regressive, unreliable, and often used to fund unsustainable spending increases. Although sin taxes can result in a revenue bump over the short term, over the long term sin tax revenues tend to fall, making it difficult to fund programs dependent on those taxes. Sin taxes also have a negative effect on local small businesses as consumers find ways to avoid the taxes, such as purchasing products outside the jurisdiction enforcing the tax. Tax increases on alcohol and tobacco products disproportionately burden low-income taxpayers.

An emerging tobacco tax issue is the overzealous regulation and taxation of electronic cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs). These products offer many advantages to current tobacco smokers: They eliminate the dangerous chemicals and toxins found in tobacco smoke, and thus are great products to reduce the harm current tobacco smokers face. E-cigarettes mimic the sensations of traditional tobacco cigarettes while lessening the negative impacts.

Our Stance

Electronic cigarettes and VNPs are not tobacco products and should not be taxed or regulated in the same way tobacco products are taxed and regulated. It is important that more research be done on these new tobacco replacement products. They have been proven successful in their ability to help people quit smoking, but they are a relatively new product, and they need further study. This research should be done before governments regulate or tax out of existence these new products – which could save lives and save the country billions of dollars in health care costs – out of existence.

Featured Subtopics

Woman smoking an e-cigarette
Treating e-cigarettes and VNPs as tobacco products will have a negative impact on public health. They are an increasingly popular alternative to tobacco use and should not be discouraged by over-regulation or taxation.
Coins and cigarettes
The excise taxes placed on tobacco are unfair, unreliable, and regressive. They lead to underground markets and disproportionately hurt lower-income people.
Man weighing cigarettes or e-cigarettes
Public policy should not discourage the use of e-cigarettes with over-regulation or taxation. Rather, public policy should recognize the health benefits these products offer to individual smokers and public health generally.

Additional Subtopics

  • Age Limits
  • Blue Laws
  • Cost to Society
  • Defending Smokers
  • Privatization
  • Regulation
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Smokeless Tobacco
  • Smoking Bans
  • Smuggling/Black Market
  • Tobacco Litigation

Videos

Title: The Vaping Wars: Brian Fojtik and Victoria Vasconcellos
Description: E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular. What impact do the new “vaping wars” have on science, public policy, business, and jobs? Join Brian Fotjik for a discussion on vaping and how the government is playing a huge role in it. Shouldn’t it be your choice? If e-cigarettes are not harmful, why can’t they be used in public? Fojtik has served in both policy and political positions in various states including working for a U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state senator, and state representative. He worked as director of government relations with a major consumer products company from 1996 to 2009 and currently serves as president of Brownstone Communications in greater Chicago. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago.

Alcohol & Tobacco Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on alcohol and tobacco issues are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Staff & Fellows Policy Experts

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