Editor’s Note: Raising taxes on cigarettes fuels the contraband tobacco market, undermining tobacco control.
Given the widespread but often unsuccessful efforts to quit smoking, one might think that U.S. health officials would welcome a new and far less dangerous substitute behavior: vaping. Unfortunately, regulators so far mistakenly have treated vaping akin to smoking, rather than embracing vaping’s smoking-cessation potential.
Vaping is a relatively new behavior. One can vape nicotine with products commonly referred to as e-cigarettes (shorthand for “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” or ENDS). Vaping delivers a vaporized liquid into the user’s mouth and then lungs without any substances being burned in the process. Most people vape to obtain nicotine vapor from a heated liquid that is extracted from tobacco. It is on this basis that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Surgeon General have termed vaping tools tobacco products—even though they do not actually contain any tobacco.