WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, is calling out Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) for prioritizing tax dollars ahead of public health. This response follows a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Fran Spielman that Mayor Emanuel plans to propose a tax on vapor products that would be “roughly equivalent” to the $7.17 tax Chicago smokers pay when purchasing tobacco cigarettes.
“Mayor Emanuel’s message to smokers is clear — please don’t quit. The government desperately needs your money,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association. “This is a shameless tax grab that will not only cost lives, but also put most or all of Chicago’s twenty-plus vapor retail stores out of business. Instead of shopping at Chicago businesses, residents will simply purchase outside the city limits or online.”
Last month, the U.K. government watchdog organization Public Health England released a 111-page report on e-cigarettes. Among other points, the report notes that e-cigarettes are likely to be around 95% less hazardous than smoking, are helpful to smokers looking to quit, and that there is no evidence that vaping is acting as a gateway to smoking for youth.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported earlier this week that adult smoking has reached an all-time low. From 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, adult smoking dropped from 16.8% to 15.2%. This report led Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor of Public Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, to mock those who claim that vaping is somehow ‘renormalizing’ smoking.
“Vapor products are helping adult smokers quit. Taxing these smoke-free and tobacco-free products like cigarettes will prove to be a fatal mistake,” said Conley.
“We encourage the Chicago City Council to prioritize the health of its citizens over tax revenue by rejecting Mayor Emanuel’s plan.”
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.