High Taxes Demand Healthy Smoking Alternatives | Commentary
In light of research by RTI International that smokers in NY often spend 25 percent of their household income on cigarettes, and NY has received failing grades for its amount of investment in its Tobacco Control Program, alternatives must be considered.
NY has the country's highest cigarette tax at $4.35 per pack but smoking hasn't declined. Study author Matthew Farrelly, chief scientist and senior director of RTI's public health policy research program, says that states generate significant revenue from cigarette taxes, but only a small percentage of that money is used for tobacco control programs. It goes beyond that, however. Many smokers are seeking a safer alternative to protect their health and that of others.
Common alternatives such as electronic cigarettes don't always provide the best experience. Handheld vaporizers, which use plant material (some use loose-leaf tobacco) heated and converted into a vapor free of the harmful ingredients in smoke, may be a better way to encourage safer smoking while reducing harmful secondhand smoke. Such vaporizers deliver nicotine, and loose-leaf tobacco isn't subject to the high cigarette tax. The Pax by Ploom (offered by Vape World) is one example. Information on vaporizers is available at the linked site. Other offerings such as Liquid Smoking, a canned drink that simulates the effects of nicotine (currently only available in Europe), could also become viable alternatives.
Rather than adding to the bureaucracy with more regulation, removing the harmful effects seems a better way to go. Cigarette taxes are unlikely to be reduced, and laws regarding secondhand smoke are expanding. Other options and innovations are becoming available and could become viable alternatives if people realize the benefits.