Aerial view of the Clinical Center (Building 10), NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD by National Institutes of Health licensed for the Public Domain

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