Perhaps when e cigs first hit the market the government did not realize just how many people would make the switch to vapor. Now that smokers are realizing that vapor is better, the number of vapers is growing, while the number of smokers is shrinking. Surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control suggest that by the end of 2011 at least one in five smokers had given vapor a try, imagine where that number is now. Big tobacco lost a good amount of money last quarter, as a report from Wells Fargo estimated that cigarette sales dropped 4.5% from the same period in 2012. 4.5% may seem small, but if you add it up the sales it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. What do all of these points have in common? They lay the groundwork for impending electronic smoking laws which are sure to be on their way.
As we mentioned in a recent post the European Union is looking to change the laws around vapor. Here in the U.S. individual states are looking to do the same. Oklahoma recently went through an ordeal where some of their state officials, along with lobbyists from RJ Reynolds (Big Tobacco), introduced a bill to change the licensing and tax laws around e cigs. They included a clause to make it illegal to sell vapor to those under 18 in order to help the bill pass; something that most vapors and e cig manufacturers already adhere to. In addition to an age limit the bill would have: upped prices for vapors in Oklahoma who prefer to buy liquid refills, added a ton of paperwork for those who wish to sell ecigs, made vapor subject to the same laws as tobacco, made online vapor sales illegal in Oklahoma, and created a tax situation where disposable ecigs (which is what most tobacco manufacturers will soon be selling) would be taxed at a lower rate.
Tobacco manufacturers and their legal teams clearly helped with the wording of the bill. They did this for two reasons; first they plan to get into the vapor market as it is slowly taking over tobacco sales, and second they know that eventually laws will be in place so they might as well help write them. While anyone who has discovered vapor would be at a loss to think that laws around e cigs will not change, we can all help guide the process as it is happening. It will be important in coming months and years to keep an eye and an ear out for news about electronic cigarette laws.
Be vocal with your elected officials by making phone calls to their offices, writing letters and signing well organized petitions when you hear of possible laws being written to regulate vapor. Make sure that you are informed, and that you understand laws as they come up. As we mentioned, when Big Tobacco is officially in the game, they will likely be looking to mostly sell disposable e cigs. While disposables are great for those new to vaping, or seasoned vapors who want to try a new brand or flavor, not everyone wants to stick to them. Those who prefer mods or 2 piece units that run off of replaceable cartomizers know that they are cheaper than disposables. Legislation like the bill in Oklahoma will raise the price of these types of vapor, as it looked to increase taxes as the total amount of nicotine sold went up. When this happens it makes a disposable seem like a better deal at the store, and takes away a good amount of the savings that come with liquid refills and replaceable cartomizers. Price and quality are the two things that will likely experience the worst changes as laws around e cigs are drafted. This is why all lovers of vapor must stay in the know and be vocal with our elected officials. While it is understandable that vapor may soon be more regulated in an effort to cut down on children’s’ access and to make vapor safer, it will be easy for politicians to go overboard. Always remember that vaping is not smoking, and should not be regulated exactly the same as smoking. Be prepared for changing e cigarette laws, and to be a voice of reason on the side of vapor.