E-cigarettes could be a critical issue in 2016 elections across the country, Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist told an Irving, Texas, audience Wednesday.
E-cigarettes are gaining ground as an election issue, Norquist said on a pre-Republican primary debate panel, reported The Dallas Morning News. ATR is one of the most effective campaign groups in the country and has managed to get 219 House members and 49 Senators to sign its pledge not to raise taxes.
Norquist believes Democrats are hostile to the vaping revolution and will use taxes and regulation to throttle a growing industry that could potentially save lives. He believes e-cigarette users could become a constituency politically motivated to oppose and vote against candidates who threaten their lifestyle.
About 20 million Americans regularly use e-cigarettes.
Norquist has long been an opponent of public health lobbyists and politicians who want to restrict the growth and availability of e-cigarettes. He says governments have collected more than $500 billion in cigarette taxes since 1998.
Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco in 2009 as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. In April 2014, the FDA published a draft of rules that would bring e-cigarettes and cigars under its supervision, but the rules have not yet been finalized.
Senate Democrats are urging the White House Office of Management and Budget to finalize its review of a rule to regulate e-cigarettes. The senators also made a host of suggestions, including clamping down on advertising, adding compulsory health warnings, banning different flavors and introducing a minimum age standard.
Democrats may be more likely to clamp down on e-cigarettes because they’re an enormous source of tax revenue, reported Tod Robberson of the Dallas Morning News. Robberson shared the panel with Norquist on Wednesday.
Smoking rates among 12-17-year-olds actually rose in states that banned e-cigarette sales to minors, a new study published in the Journal of Health Economics found.
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