In an explosive letter circulated on Monday to members of Congress, Associate Professor Michael Pesko, considered the US’s leading authority on e-cigarette policy evaluation research, Prof Pesko detailed what extensive research shows would be the effects of the Democrats plan to tax e-cigarettes – and the results are truly scarey.
Professor Pesko’s work, which is funded by a $1.4 million grant by the National Institutes of Health, includes ten peer-reviewed published papers on e-cigarette policies, and he writes to “share what I have learned about e-cigarette taxes from my NIH-funded research. These scientific opinions are co-signed by other highly-regarded health economists that I have co-authored this research with.”
From an analysis of all available literature and research, Professor Pesko and his co-authors concluded the following (emphasis ours):
- Simulating the current bill’s e-cigarette tax on teen tobacco use indicates that this policy would reduce teen e-cigarette use by 2.7 percentage points, but that 2 in 3 teens who do not use e-cigarettes due to the tax would smoke cigarettes instead. This would result in approximately a half million extra teenage smokers overall.
- The tax would raise the number of daily adult cigarette smokers by 2.5 million nationally and reduce adult e-cigarette users by a similar number
- For every e-cigarette pod eliminated by an e-cigarette tax, more than 5.5 extra packs of cigarettes are sold instead
- For every three pregnant women that do not use e-cigarettes due to an e-cigarette tax, one smokes cigarettes instead
The researchers concluded: “Scientific evidence supports e-cigarettes providing immediate benefits as a harm reduction product. Overall, my scientific opinion is that raising taxes on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to levels equivalent to cigarettes will increase cigarette use across all populations and cause significant public health harm.”
There you have it. The evidence – from research commissioned and funded by the US’s official medical research agency – is clear. If enacted, this tax would have a devastating effect on public health, and cause significant harm.
It is therefore vital that Democrats reject this attempt to impose a new tax that would raise little revenue, but could cost millions of lives.
The full letter can be downloaded here.