A recent editorial piece in the New Jersey Star-Ledger by guest columnist Gregory Conley, a research fellow with libertarian think tank Heartland Institute, questions the reasoning behind a tax which would potentially impose a financial penalty on those using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, asking: Why is Gov. Chris Christie trying to punish people who have quit smoking?
Deep inside the Governor's budget plan for fiscal year 2015 is a brand new tax on the sale of e-cigarettes. Christie is using the "sin tax" label that is applied to regular analog cigarettes. The article goes on to point out:
"In reality, with each month that passes, more public health and tobacco-control professionals are realizing the great harm-reduction potential of smoke-free products, such as e-cigarettes."
Some of the justification behind this type of proposed tax on e-cigs appears to be based on the misconception that e-cigarettes are somehow just as harmful as regular cigarettes. The state of Minnesota is currently the ony state that applies an excise tax to electronic cigarettes. Legislators in other states such as Delaware, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah, perhaps because they have recognized the potential health benefits of switching to ecigarettes, have rejected attempts to apply excise taxes to vapor cigarettes. We hope legislators in New Jersey and other states will also reject these penalties.