Scientists say raising taxes on vaping devices by just $1 will push more people to smoking
Don’t just tax e-cigarettes! Scientists say raising taxes on vaping devices by just $1 will lead to an increase in people using potentially more harmful cigarettes
- Georgia State University researchers tracked 38,000 ages 18 to 25
- Results showed that if the price of e-cigarettes increased by $1, the proportion who smoked would increase by 3.7 percent
- A similar effect was observed when the price of cigarettes rose in certain states
- Researchers warned it suggested taxes couldn’t rise on one and not the other
- There was a risk that not following this would lead more young people to switch to ‘more deadly’ cigarettes
Raising the tax on e-cigarettes by just $1 could lead to more young people in their early 20s taking up smoking, a new study finds.
Researchers from Georgia State University, in Atlanta, tracked 38,000 young people and found that increasing the price of e-cigarettes led to a 3.7 percent increase in the number of smokers once the increase was implemented.
They said the results showed that taxes on both cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be increased at the same time to prevent young people from switching to “more deadly” cigarettes. They also pointed out that the early 1920s is a period when many are switching from “experimental” to “daily” nicotine use.
A total of 30 US states and Washington DC are already taxing e-cigarettes in hopes of deterring more young people. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also cracking down on certain brands accused of causing a spike in nicotine use among young adults.
Georgia State University researchers warned that raising the price of e-cigarettes by $1 would cause 3.7 percent of young people to switch to more deadly cigarettes
Pictured above are the states that have rules for taxing e-cigarettes. There is no federal tax on vaping unlike cigarettes
In the study, published in the journal Addictionscientists analyzed data from the Current Population Survey – a monthly survey of US households conducted by census officials.
They looked at the number of young people aged 18 to 25 who said they smoked or vaped in each state between 2010 and 2019.
The results showed that raising taxes on vaping by $1 per milliliter caused use in the age group to drop by 2.5 percent. But it also caused a 3.7 percent increase in the number who started smoking.
E-cigarette use among 20-year-olds fell by 17% in 2020, study shows
E-cigarette use declined during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study found last week.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that it fell by seven percent across the board in 2020 compared to two years earlier.
But splitting the numbers into age groups showed the fastest decline in those under 20, where it fell by 17 percent.
It is one of the first signs of a reversal in an alarming trend.
It has been illegal to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in the US under the age of 20 since December 2019.
Similarly, a $1 increase in the tax on cigarettes led to a 2.5 percent decrease in smoking, but an increase in e-cigarette use by the same amount.
dr. Abigail Friedman, an associate professor of public health at the Yale School of Public Health who led the study, warned that some young people were changing the way they consumed nicotine because of the prices.
She said, “Anyone who is going to tax one tobacco or nicotine product should think about the tax rates for all the others.”
“People switch between products, and if you increase the price of a product, a subgroup will switch to a cheaper option, even if they don’t like that product that much.
‘From a public health perspective, it is important that this cheaper option is also less harmful.’
In the paper, the researchers warned that cigarettes were more deadly than vaping products — suggesting it would be worse for national health if vapes were more expensive.
Cigarette smoke contains more harmful substances, such as tar, which studies suggest increases the risk of health problems later in life, such as cancer.
In the study, they also found that people aged 18 to 25 were three times more likely to respond to price changes than older adults, making them more likely to switch between them.
About 8.1 million American adults — or six percent — use e-cigarettes annually, estimates suggest, but the rates are three times the average among 25-year-olds.
By comparison, 30 million adults use cigarettes nationwide — or 12 percent of the population — every year.
Taxes tend to be higher on cigarettes than e-cigarettes, although this varies by state.
Cigarettes are currently subject to a federal tax of $1 per pack, with all states imposing their own additional charges. Chicago, Illinois, has the highest price at $6 per package.
But for now, there is no national tax on e-cigarettes. Currently, a total of 30 states apply their own tax rates, but they are either at the wholesale price or at the container price. Minnesota has the highest wholesale tax rate at 95 percent, while the highest per container is in Kentucky at $1.50 each.
A study from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland last week found that e-cigarette use across the board fell by seven percent in 2020 compared to two years earlier.
Breaking down the numbers into age groups showed the strongest decline in the under-20s, a 17 percent drop over the period.
Since December 2019, it has been illegal for this age group to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Previously, the minimum age was 18 years.