Dear Speaker Chopp,­­­

In the next few days, you and your colleagues will again consider measures that impose significant new taxes on e-cigarette products and will serve to make their use nearly as costly as those of cigarettes. I urge you to approach these proposals with extreme skepticism.

E-cigarettes are addictive and their use is certainly not good for one’s health. Measures to restrict their availability to children and place other limits on their sale are certainly justified.  But a huge increase in their taxes may well do more harm than good for public health.

As the attached paper by Dr. Joel Nitzkin demonstrates, they hold significant potential to improve public health if current smokers switch from tobacco cigarettes. As he writes in the included paper:

“A flood of new scientific papers relating to these products suggest the possibility that e-cigarettes may be the greatest advance in reducing tobacco-attributable illness and death in decades. Hugely higher taxes on e-cigarettes could, for all intents and purposes, urge people to continue using vastly more harmful tobacco cigarettes. “

Dr. Nitzkin, a long-time anti-tobacco crusader, is a senior fellow of the R Street Institute and a former public health commissioner of the State of Louisiana.  His opinions, and the findings in the scientific literature that he reviews, are certainly worth your attention.

The regulation and control of e-cigarettes is an important issue. I urge you to read the attached paper and reach your conclusion about e-cigarettes based on the best available evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Eli Lehrer


R Street Institute

Featured Publications