Harm-Reduction

Les nouvelles règles de l’UE pénaliseront les fumeurs et utilisateurs de cigarettes électroniques

Dans ses conclusions de juin, le Conseil européen a approuvé un nouveau consensus sur les droits d’accises sur le tabac. Les États membres suggèrent des modifications des règles qui augmenteraient le prix du tabac et affecteraient également les produits non liés au tabac tels que les cigarettes électroniques.

Depuis 2011, l’Union européenne dispose d’un droit d’accise minimum commun sur les produits du tabac, ce qui a notamment entraîné une augmentation du prix des cigarettes dans les pays européens où les prix sont comparativement bas (comme la Pologne ou la Hongrie). Les pays voisins où les taxes sont plus élevées affirment que la prévalence des achats transfrontaliers va à l’encontre de leurs propres objectifs de santé publique. Par exemple, les frontaliers français achètent du tabac au Luxembourg.

Les avantages escomptés ne sont pas au rendez-vous

Maintenant que la directive de 2011 n’a pas apporté les avantages escomptés par certains États membres, ou, plus vraisemblablement, n’a pas produit le nombre de recettes fiscales dont les États membres ont besoin dans la situation économique actuelle, ils souhaiteraient une révision. Cette révision, cependant, ne vise pas seulement les produits du tabac conventionnels tels que les cigarettes, le tabac à priser, la shisha, ou les cigares et cigarillos. Pour la première fois, le Conseil européen demande que les produits autres que le tabac soient également inclus dans la directive sur les accises sur le tabac. Il serait ainsi difficile pour les États membres de prétendre que l’objectif est la santé publique et non la réduction des (…) Lire la suite sur La Tribune.fr

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Les nouvelles règles de l’UE pénaliseront les fumeurs et utilisateurs de cigarettes électroniques

Maintenant que la directive de 2011 n'a pas apporté les avantages escomptés par certains États membres, ou, plus vraisemblablement, n'a pas produit le nombre de recettes fiscales dont les États membres ont besoin dans la situation économique actuelle, ils souhaiteraient une révision.

Le Conseil européen a approuvé une modification de la directive de 2011 qui va non seulement augmenter le prix du tabac mais aussi des produits apparentés comme les cigarettes électroniques. Ces nouvelles règles expriment davantage la volonté d’augmenter les recettes fiscales qu’une préoccupation en matière de santé publique. Par Bill Wirtz, analyste de politiques publiques pour l’Agence pour le choix des consommateurs (Consumer Choice Center) (*).

Dans ses conclusions de juin, le Conseil européen a approuvé un nouveau consensus sur les droits d’accises sur le tabac. Les États membres suggèrent des modifications des règles qui augmenteraient le prix du tabac et affecteraient également les produits non liés au tabac tels que les cigarettes électroniques.

Depuis 2011, l’Union européenne dispose d’un droit d’accise minimum commun sur les produits du tabac, ce qui a notamment entraîné une augmentation du prix des cigarettes dans les pays européens où les prix sont comparativement bas (comme la Pologne ou la Hongrie). Les pays voisins où les taxes sont plus élevées affirment que la prévalence des achats transfrontaliers va à l’encontre de leurs propres objectifs de santé publique. Par exemple, les frontaliers français achètent du tabac au Luxembourg.

Les avantages escomptés ne sont pas au rendez-vous

Maintenant que la directive de 2011 n’a pas apporté les avantages escomptés par certains États membres, ou, plus vraisemblablement, n’a pas produit le nombre de recettes fiscales dont les États membres ont besoin dans la situation économique actuelle, ils souhaiteraient une révision. Cette révision, cependant, ne vise pas seulement les produits du tabac conventionnels tels que les cigarettes, le tabac à priser, la shisha, ou les cigares et cigarillos. Pour la première fois, le Conseil européen demande que les produits autres que le tabac soient également inclus dans la directive sur les accises sur le tabac. Il serait ainsi difficile pour les États membres de prétendre que l’objectif est la santé publique et non la réduction des déficits du Trésor, car l’équivalent logique de cette démarche serait de classer les produits non alcoolisés parmi les boissons alcoolisées.

Les cigarettes électroniques ou les dispositifs “heat-not-burn” représentent des alternatives viables pour les consommateurs de produits du tabac conventionnels. Nous savons que, bien qu’elles ne soient pas inoffensives, ces vapeurs sont 95 % moins nocives que la cigarette. Selon toutes les logiques disponibles, les États devraient se réjouir de la prévalence de ces alternatives. Toutefois, le Conseil européen conclut qu’“il est donc urgent et nécessaire de moderniser le cadre réglementaire de l’UE, afin de relever les défis actuels et futurs en ce qui concerne le fonctionnement du marché intérieur en harmonisant les définitions et le traitement fiscal des nouveaux produits”.

Mauvais signal

L’ajout de droits d’accises aux produits à risque réduit envoie un mauvais signal aux consommateurs, à savoir que ces produits sont tout aussi risqués que les cigarettes. Des recherches menées aux États-Unis montrent que chaque augmentation de 10% du prix des produits à faible risque entraîne une augmentation de 11% des achats de cigarettes.

Dans quelle mesure les États membres de l’Union européenne sont-ils sérieux lorsqu’il s’agit d’améliorer la santé publique si leur méthode de prévention consiste à augmenter la charge fiscale pesant sur les consommateurs ? Les cigarettes électroniques sont une chose, mais nous ne devons pas nous faire d’illusions sur l’idée que taxer davantage les cigarettes n’est pas sans effet négatif. Les conclusions du Conseil reconnaissent elles-mêmes que l’Europe est confrontée à une vague de commerce illicite du tabac, et demandent davantage de solutions pour le combattre. Le commerce illégal est en corrélation avec l’augmentation des charges fiscales : en taxant les ménages à faibles revenus sur les cigarettes, qui restent néanmoins un produit légal, nous les poussons sur le marché noir, où des éléments criminels profitent d’une mauvaise gestion de la santé publique. Un rapport publié en 2015 a révélé que la France était le plus grand consommateur de fausses cigarettes d’Europe, avec 15 % de part de marché.

Un profit pour le terrorisme international

En l’absence de contrôle de qualité, ces cigarettes illégales représentent une menace beaucoup plus endémique pour la santé des consommateurs. De plus, les revenus de la vente de ces cigarettes profitent au terrorisme international – le Centre d’analyse du terrorisme français a même montré que les ventes illicites de tabac financent 20 % du terrorisme international. Des organisations telles que l’IRA, Al-Qaida et Daesh financent leurs activités de cette manière.

Les modifications proposées par le Conseil européen à la directive sur les accises sur le tabac vont à l’encontre des objectifs de santé publique et visent à réduire le choix et la santé des consommateurs. Nous devons analyser les changements de règles non seulement en fonction de leurs intentions, mais aussi de leurs résultats potentiels.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Vaping to reduce tobacco harm

Bangladesh can reduce tobacco consumption up to 25 percent by switching to cigarettes smoking or vaping as an international study report suggested.

United States-based Consumer Choice Center conducted the survey on electronic cigarettes smoking in terms of health benefits, said a news releaseStudy looked at 61 countries around the world and compared the current rate of daily and occasional vapers. It used the United Kingdom’s progressive tobacco harm reduction policies as a reference point.

UK government has officially endorsed vaping as a harm reduction method, especially owing to Public Health of England’s ‘landmark review’ that found vaping to be 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes.

As a result of this finding UK’s National Health Service recommends vaping to help quit smoking. Vape products are now also sold in shops in British hospitals.

“The liberalization of vaping has enormous potential and could help millions of people switch from traditional tobacco smoking to vaping – a safer and less harmful way of consumption of nicotine,” the Consumer Choice Center survey said.

Its assessment of 61 countries shines a light on how “smart tobacco harm reduction policies could make the switch easier.” Its estimation of potential switch from smoking to vaping found that countries with less than 1% vaping prevalence can reduce smoking by up to 25 percent.

Looking at the UK, the survey’s “reference point,” it notes that vaping, also known as e-cigarettes, are now the most popular stop smoking aid in England, with around 2.8 million vapers across the UK.Around 1 million of the population are smoking tobacco cigarettes and 1.5 million have stopped smoking. In addition, some 1.3 million former smokers use vaping including 440 thousand people who had been regular users of vapes.

This figures to a total of 2.8 million fewer smokers (a gross value excluding new smokers). This adds up to 2 million fewer smokers or a 25 percent reduction.

Assuming this can be replicated, the analysis estimates that countries with 1-2.99 percent vaping prevalence can reduce smoking by up to 12.5-25 percent and countries with 3-4.99 percent vaping prevalence can reduce smoking by up to 5-12.5 percent.

By this count, there could be an astounding number of smokers who can potentially switch to vaping and quit smoking. By the Consumer Choice Center’s calculations, China can potentially have over 76.5 million smokers switching to vaping.

According to the survey, the top 10 countries include Bangladesh where most switches can potentially take place with an estimated 6.23 million Bangladeshi smokers can quit smoking by switching to vaping!

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

So you think you know about black market trade? Here are some myths, debunked

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — The global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a thriving one, rising from US$461 billion (RM1.9 trillion) in 2013 to US$509 billion in 2016 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and European Union Intellectual Property Office.

A study commissioned by the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM) member companies showed that in  Malaysia alone, the tobacco black market has grown over the last few years from 36.9 per cent in 2015 to 62.3 per cent in 2019.

At the same time, there is also a rise in counterfeit alcohol, medicine, luxury goods, consumer electronics and even face masks.

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a global consumer advocacy group, today urged Malaysian consumers to reject all black market goods.

“The black market is not just about tax losses to the government or infringement of intellectual property rights. It literally puts consumer health and safety in jeopardy,” said Fred Roeder, managing director of CCC.

“In order to stop the black market, consumers, policymakers and legitimate businesses must first understand what the black market is and is not about,” he added.

Myth No.1 – Consumers know that they are buying black market products. 

Roeder said it is not easy to confirm if purchases are genuine, even when bought through trusted sources.

“The majority of online shoppers do not understand the levels of fraud on the internet, nor do they have the software to detect or avoid it. Most think they are just getting a good deal,” he said.

“In the case of illegal cigarettes, it is sometimes hard to tell as the packaging may look the same as the original, inclusive of fake tax stamps.”

Myth No.2 – Black market goods are mainly bought through ‘underground’ channels 

“More and more consumers today are turning to online shopping. A ‘black market’ website looks the same as any other e-commerce platform. In fact, some popular e-commerce brands are also selling counterfeit or black market products,” Roeder said.

“Social distancing and the growth of digital currency are expected to drive the growth of counterfeit and illegal products as we move forward in the new normal.”

Myth No.3 – Only those in the low-income brackets buy black market products

“Black market trade happens at all levels of society. As the black market expands to cover more products, while becoming increasingly available ‘online’, a wider population regardless of age, income and location will be exposed to these products,” he said.

Myth No.4 – Consumers buy black market goods because they are cheaper.

“Price is a key factor, but not the only factor.

“Let’s take illegal cigarette trade as an example. The trade has mushroomed in Malaysia after a significant increase in excise duty in 2015.

“Back then, the market share of illegal cigarettes was around 30 per cent, but now it is 62 per cent. 

“Clearly, consumers are gravitating towards illegal cigarettes that cost only RM4.50 as compared to RM10 of legitimate products.”

He added that convenience and easy access are also contributing factors. Malaysian law prohibits legitimate cigarettes from being sold online which helps to encourage consumers to turn to illegal cigarettes.

“As it can be easily purchased and paid for online… special couriers can deliver these products to their doorsteps,” he said.

To slow down or stop the spread of the black market in Malaysia, CCC advocates a multi-pronged approach involving all relevant stakeholders, from consumers to policymakers, government agencies to corporations.

“What is required immediately is enhanced policies and regulations that take into account current consumer purchasing behaviour and contemporary methods of distribution for perpetrators of black market products,” Roeder said.

CCC will be opening an office in Malaysia soon as part of its efforts to help the Malaysian government counter this growing problem.

“We hope to engage Malaysian consumers and policymakers through education, knowledge and intelligence sharing and positive advocacy to facilitate economic prosperity,” Roeder added. 

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

[EU] eureporter – Rat beschliesst Überarbeitung der Tabaksteuerrichtlinie 2011/64/EU

Auf eureporter ist heute ein Beitrag mit dem Titel “New EU rule changes would mean bad news for #Smokers and #Vapers alike” 1 von Bill Wirtz zu lesen, welcher über die Beschlüsse des EU-Rates zur Verbrauchersteuerrichtlinie 2011/64/EU 2 berichtet.

Wie Ende Mai 2020 berichtet 3 fordern viele EU-Mitgliedsstaaten eine Überarbeitung der EU-Tabaksteuerrichtlinie 2011/64/EU. Das Thema war laut Protokoll am 02. Juni 2020 auf dem Tisch. Das Protokoll 4 trägt den hübschen Namen “Council conclusions concerning the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco – Schlussfolgerungen des Rates betreffend die Struktur und die Sätze der Verbrauchsteuern auf Tabakwaren“. Die wichtigsten Aussagen:

RECOGNISES that the current provisions of Directive 2011/64/EU have become less effective, as they are either no longer sufficient or too narrow to address current and future challenges, concerning some products, such as liquids for e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and other types of next-generation products, which are entering the market;

ERKENNT AN, dass die derzeitigen Bestimmungen der Richtlinie 2011/64/EU weniger wirksam geworden sind, da sie entweder nicht mehr ausreichen oder zu eng gefasst sind, um den derzeitigen und künftigen Herausforderungen in Bezug auf einige Produkte, wie Flüssigkeiten für E-Zigaretten, Tabakerhitzer und andere Arten von Produkten der nächsten Generation, die auf den Markt kommen, zu begegnen;

REITERATES that it is therefore urgent and necessary to upgrade the EU regulatory framework, in order to tackle current and future challenges in respect of the functioning of the internal market by harmonising definitions and tax treatment of novel products (such as liquids for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products), including products, whether or not containing nicotine, that substitute tobacco, in order to avoid legal uncertainty and regulatory disparities in the EU, taking into account the relevant good practices and experience gained by Member States in this area, and, where appropriate, the objectives of Directive 2011/64/EU, which also includes the objective that the various types of tobacco products, distinguished by their characteristics and by the way in which they are used, should be defined

BEKRÄFTIGT, dass es daher dringend und notwendig ist, den Regelungsrahmen der EU zu verbessern, um die derzeitigen und künftigen Herausforderungen in Bezug auf das Funktionieren des Binnenmarktes zu bewältigen, indem die Definitionen und die steuerliche Behandlung neuartiger Produkte (wie Flüssigkeiten für E-Zigaretten und Tabakerhitzer), einschließlich nikotinhaltiger und nikotinfreier Ersatzprodukte, harmonisiert werden, zur Vermeidung von Rechtsunsicherheit und regulatorischen Unterschieden in der EU, unter Berücksichtigung der einschlägigen bewährten Verfahren und der von den Mitgliedstaaten in diesem Bereich gesammelten Erfahrungen sowie gegebenenfalls der Ziele der Richtlinie 2011/64/EU, die auch das Ziel umfasst, dass die verschiedenen Arten von Tabakerzeugnissen, die sich durch ihre Merkmale und die Art und Weise ihrer Verwendung unterscheiden, definiert werden sollten

Im Klartext: den EU-Mitgliedsstaaten ist die Tabaksteuer nicht genug, nein der EU-Rat fordert eine “Tabaksteuer” auf Nicht-Tabakprodukte wie die E-Zigarette, egal ob mit oder ohne Nikotin!

Bill Wirtz dazu in dem Artikel:

This would make it hard for member states to pretend that the objective is public health and not reducing treasury deficits, as the logical equivalent of this move would be to classify non-alcoholic as an alcoholic beverage.

Dies würde es den Mitgliedsstaaten schwer machen, so zu tun, als sei das Ziel die öffentliche Gesundheit und nicht die Verringerung der Haushaltsdefizite, da das logische Äquivalent dieses Schrittes darin bestünde, Nichtalkoholisches als alkoholisches Getränk einzustufen.

Wie absurd ist das denn? Produkte die Rauchern erwiesenermaßen dabei helfen das Rauchen aufzugeben 5 mit einer “Sündensteuer” zu belegen, nur um die Finanzen aufzupolieren?
Dabei zeigt ein Negativ-Beispiel 6 aus den USA, dass eine Verbrauchersteuer auf E-Dampfprodukte dazu führt, dass zum einen die Menschen glauben, E-Dampfprodukte seien genauso schädlich wie Tabakzigaretten und zum anderen erhöht sich im gleichen Zuge der Absatz von Tabakwaren.

Bill Wirtz fragt zu recht in dem Artikel, wie ernst es den EU-Mitgliedsstaaten eigentlich mit der Verbesserung der öffentlichen Gesundheit sei, wenn sie auf einer der Präventionsmethoden (E-Zigarette) die Steuerlast für Verbraucher erhöhe? Dabei sollten die Konsequenzen klar sein: eine Erhöhung der Steuerlast korreliere automatisch damit, dass sich gefährliche Schwarzmärkte bilden und damit die Verbraucher kriminalisiert, sowie gesundheitlichen Gefahren ausgesetzt werden.

Laut dem Autor sind die vom EU-Rat vorgeschlagenen Änderungen an der Tabakrichtlinie kontraproduktiv für die öffentliche Gesundheit und schränken die Wahlmöglichkeiten der Verbraucher massiv ein. Solche Regeländerungen sollten immer auch auf voraussichtliche Ergebnisse hin analysiert werden und nicht nur auf ihre zugrundeliegenden Absichten.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

New EU rule changes would mean bad news for #Smokers and #Vapers alike

In its conclusions in June, the European Council approved a new consensus on excise duties on tobacco. The member states suggest rule changes that would increase the price of tobacco, and equally affect non-tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, writes Bill Wirtz. 

Since 2011, the European Union has had a common minimum excise duty on tobacco products, which notably increased the price of cigarettes in those European countries where the prices are comparatively low. Neighbouring countries with higher taxes were claiming that the prevalence of cross-border purchases was subverting their own public health goals. For instance, German commuters buy tobacco in Luxembourg, as the price is lower than in their local shops.

Now that the 2011 directive has not yielded the benefits that some member states expected, or more plausibly, hasn’t produced the number of tax revenues that member states need in the current economic situation, they would like a revision. This revision, however, is not only targeting conventional tobacco products such as cigarettes, snuff, shisha, or cigars and cigarillos. For the first time, the European Council is asking for non-tobacco products also to be included in the… tobacco excise directive. This would make it hard for member states to pretend that the objective is public health and not reducing treasury deficits, as the logical equivalent of this move would be to classify non-alcoholic as an alcoholic beverage.

E-cigarettes or heat-not-burn devices represent viable alternatives for consumers of conventional tobacco products. We know that while not harmless, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes. By every available logic, governments should rejoice in the prevalence of these alternatives. However, the European Council concludes that “it is therefore urgent and necessary to upgrade the EU regulatory framework, to tackle current and future challenges in respect of the functioning of the internal market by harmonising definitions and tax treatment of novel products (such as liquids for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products), including products, whether or not containing nicotine, that substitute tobacco, to avoid legal uncertainty and regulatory disparities in the EU”.

Adding excise taxes to reduced risk products sends the wrong signal to consumers that these products are just as risky as cigarettes. Research from the United States shows that every 10% increase in the price of vaping products results in an 11% increase in cigarettes purchases.

How serious are EU member states about increasing public health if their go-to method of prevention is raising the tax burden on consumers? E-cigarettes are one thing, but we should not disillusion ourselves with the idea that taxing cigarettes more does anyone any good either. The Council conclusions themselves recognize that Europe is facing a wave of the illicit tobacco trade, and asks for more solutions to fight it. Illegal trade correlates with increased tax burdens: by taxing low-income households out of cigarettes, which remain a legal product nonetheless, we are pushing them on the black market, where criminal elements profit off of bad public health management. In France for instance, a 2015 report found the country to be Europe’s largest consumer of fake cigarettes, with 15 per cent of the market share.

With a lack of quality control, these illegal smokes represent are much more endemic threat to consumer health. Adding to that, the revenues from the sale of these cigarettes benefits international terrorism — the French Centre d’analyse du terrorisme (Centre for Terrorism Analysis) even showed that illicit tobacco sales finance 20 per cent of international terrorism. Organizations such as the IRA, Al-Qaida and ISIS fund their activities that way.

The European Council’s suggested changes to the Tobacco Excise Directive is counterproductive to the goals of public health, and are set to reduce consumer choice and health. We need to analyse rule-changes for more than just their intentions, but look at their prospective results.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Our Laws Save Lives

UK-style laws could convert more than 200 million smokers to vaping worldwide, according to research by the Consumer Choice Center. It says its findings reveal the potential for 76 million people to switch away from tobacco products in China alone.

The Consumer Choice Center looked at 61 countries and highlighted that the United Kingdom’s approach to vape advertising, displays, and tax rate is an example the rest of the world should be following.

Managing Director Fred Roeder said: “We used the UK’s progressive tobacco harm reduction policies as a reference point and estimated how many current smokers could be helped to switch by having a more permissive vaping framework. In China, 76 million people could switch. The US (6 million) and Germany (4 million) would also see huge public health benefits by emulating the UK’s approach.”

The Consumer Choice Center has drawn criticism from Bloomberg-funded organisations due to its links to American libertarian organisations and individuals. Typically, Bath University’s Tobacco Tactics focusses on the messenger and not the message.

Laughably, it accuses the centre of hosting “three strongly biased roundtables” in 2018, to discuss the World Health Organisation’s shortcomings “and how the WHO actively blocks healthier technologies in the area of harm reduction”. This from a group of people tied to a disgraceful campaign of misinformation and lies, smears, and half truths about vaping and tobacco harm reduction.

Deeply upsetting to those pocketing Michael Bloomberg’s millions, “none of the invited speakers had public health qualifications.”

And what did they object to? Was it Christopher Snowdon speaking about the “Public Funding of Public Health Activists”, Daniel Pryor talking about “How the UK can become a leader in tobacco harm reduction”, or Professor David Zaruk highlighting, “How evidence based policies are sabotaged by those who ought enforce them”?

Sharing of political ideals isn’t required in order to examine the evidence surrounding vaping or discussing the actions of public health bodies. Is it a prerequisite when applying for funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies?

The Consumer Choice Center’s affiliations are irrelevant in this context. Maybe Bath should address the findings instead of dismissing them because of the author?

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Ga. legislature approves imposing 7% tax on vaping products

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A bill that would impose a 7% excise tax on vaping products sold in Georgia now sits on the governor’s desk.

On June 26, the state Senate gave its final approval in a 45-8 vote of Senate Bill 375, following the House’s vote of 123-33 on June 25.

The bill would also allow only adults aged 21 and older to purchase vaping products in Georgia. 

“Convenience stores and gas stations are routinely selling these items to children, they had no reason to enforce the law because they didn’t have anything to lose except the sale itself,” said State Rep. Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee, whose portion of the bill required any seller of vape products in Georgia to have a license from the Department of Revenue.

“Now, in order to have the right to sell, they’re going to have to follow the law and they’re going to have the Department of Revenue investigators kind of looking over their shoulders,” Rich told WSAV.com NOW.

In another effort to further protect youth from accessing vaping products, Senate Bill 375 also notes that no one, including adults or teachers, is allowed to have vape or tobacco products in school safety zones.

The bill’s 7% excise tax would be the first tax on vaping products in Georgia.

“The goal here was to put these vape products on par with the tobacco products, as the tobacco industry has, for a very long time, been paying excise taxes,” Rich said.

“It’s an issue of fairness to require these other nicotine delivery systems to pay an excise tax, as well, similar to what we did with respect to Airbnb and hotels, and Uber and taxis,” she said.

Nelson Hill, general sales manager of the Savannah-based Vape Loft, tells WSAV.com NOW that he believes the tax is fair. 

“We’re pretty happy with that,” Hill said. “We’re lucky to live in a state like Georgia where they don’t hate vaping; I think that there’s a lot of miseducation and misunderstanding about it.”

He says he doesn’t feel the tax would prevent his customers from enjoying vaping products.

“There’s money off some of these taxations that pay for and produce a lot of things that we need, like schoolbooks, and that’s where a lot of this tax money from Big Tobacco comes from,” Hill said, adding, “So with vaping, I think they’re just trying to figure out a place where they can use some of our tax money to help produce good, as well.”

The excise tax on vaping products could potentially raise between $9.6 million and $14.5 million in revenue.

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, says that the vaping tax would come at the expense of poor consumers and could push many Georgians back to traditional cigarette use, which would have a detrimental impact on public health.

“Vaping products don’t exist just for fun, these exist because they give an alternative to former smokers who want to quit, so because people have this option, they’re actually able to improve their life, they’re actually able to live longer,” Ossowski told WSAV.com NOW.

He says such a tax is almost like penalizing people for making a “more responsible decision.”

“People who have transitioned away from traditional tobacco products are now going to have to pay more for exactly what they bought yesterday, and the entire idea of this is that we need to raise money, but it’s really a drop in the bucket,” Ossowski said.

“If we look at what’s happening at the state level, there’s a lot of money in the rainy day fund, and we really think that trying to increase costs for consumers — specifically poor consumers — who are trying to make a better option for their lives is really unfair,” he said.

Now that the House has passed Senate Bill 375 and the Senate has made its final approval, Gov. Brian Kemp has until early August to decide whether to veto it or sign it into law.

“After those 40 days, if he does nothing, then the bill will go into effect; however, he also has the option of signing the bill within that 40-day period, which is kind of signaling that he really supports it,” Rich said.

The cigarette tax in Georgia remains the same at 37 cents per pack — one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the country.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Yaël Ossowski Interview on Savannah TV: Vaping Tax Hurts Poor Consumers

Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is interviewed on WSAV TV in Savannah, Georgia on the proposed 7% tax on vaping products.

Broadcast: July 6, 2020

For each day of cigarette ban, South Africa loses 1.5 community clinics

It is unfortunate that President Cyril Ramaphosa did not use his 17 June announcement of modifications to South Africa’s level 3 lockdown as an opportunity to end the ill-considered ban on tobacco and related products.

Appropriately, on the same day, Africa Check confirmed that the government is losing around R35 million per day in excise taxes for tobacco products. South Africa is now one of the 20 most-affected countries by COVID-19 and case numbers keep rising. The tobacco sales ban will burden the health system with even more problems. Hence it’s time to stop this well-intended but harmful policy.

Ramaphosa claimed his silence on tobacco trading was because the matter is before court. But this was disingenuous. Over the last months, the government at multiple junctures changed lockdown regulations that were in the process of being challenged in court, likely in an attempt to save face. With the Gauteng High Court having dismissed the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s application to have the ban set aside, little stands in the way of government taking the initiative and doing away with this detrimental regulation that neither serves government’s nor consumers’ interests.

If it does not do so, it would defy belief that finance minister Tito Mboweni warned of the dangers of a cash-strapped government during the COVID-19 emergency budget while government persists with this fiscally irresponsible policy.

The amount of money lost in tobacco excise taxes government collects daily due to the ban is at least R35 million. This is not a mere number. Quantifying the opportunity costs to the South African economy that will occur once government grants South African Airways a contemplated R10.3 billion bailout, economist Jacques Jonker made some interesting calculations. A RDP house in South Africa is valued at around R158,000. An environmentally-friendly community clinic costs about R24.5 million. On those numbers alone, it seems that the state is losing what amounts to 30 RDP houses or 1.5 green clinics every day the cigarette ban continues.

Smoking legal tobacco products is not good for people’s health, but the sales ban did not stop people from smoking. Consumption has instead shifted to cigarettes purchased on the black market.

In the best case, this means just lost excise tax revenues for the government. Unfortunately, many cigarettes sold illegally do not come from legal manufacturers but from bad actors selling counterfeit sticks. Indeed, the counterfeit trade in South Africa has grown considerably since the lockdown began, according to Yusuf Abramjee. These products did not undergo any safety or quality tests and are much more harmful than legal products, potentially containing pesticides, arsenic, and rat poison.

On top of that, illegal street vendors do not comply with any health and safety or social distancing requirements. By banning the legal sales of cigarettes the government does, therefore, cause more harm than doing good.

But health is not and cannot be the only measure of an individual’s interests.

It is true that South Africa’s healthcare system is not up to standard, but that is no reason to keep cigarette sales banned. It is opportunistic and heavy-handed to use the government’s own historical shortcomings in building an efficient healthcare sector to justify curbing South Africans’ constitutional freedoms. It is also offensive to the Rule of Law, which requires reasonableness and impartiality in governance, not self-serving politicking.

It is also worth noting particularly with reference to COVID-19, however, that the danger to people with nicotine in their bodies – smokers – is less than the danger to others. The research in this regard ought not be ignored, as doing so has already caused government to enact policy that might see more people hospitalised for smoking counterfeit cigarettes. Keeping up the ban will cause an additional burden to South Africa’s hospitals, which is especially concerning given the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The continued ban on tobacco and related products is evidently irrational and counterproductive. It does not serve government, which as Mboweni’s emergency budget confirmed, is losing billions in revenue. It does not serve ordinary South Africans, who have certainly not stopped smoking but have turned to potentially dangerous, but available, cigarettes. And it does not serve the fight against COVID-19, as persons with nicotine in their bodies are at least at no greater risk for exposure, and at best have a smaller risk to contract the virus.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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