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Poll: Should New Jersey Tax Electronic Cigarettes Like Regular Smokes?

Would a tax protect kids or deter adults with the nicotine habit from using faux smokes as a step toward quitting?

Let's have a show of hands here.

Should the state start taxing e-cigarettes -- battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid containing nicotine and flavoring?

Gov. Chris Christie's proposed budget has a plan in place to tax e-smokes at the same $2.70 per pack as their conventional counterparts.

Some health advocates -- including Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd -- argue that pushing up the price will keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of middle- and high-school students.

Others -- including the Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Committee -- say higher prices may discourage smokers from using e-cigarettes rather than regular ones. (O'Dowd said the state plans to exempt residents who are prescribed e-cigarettes as part of an effort to quit smoking from paying the tax.)

What do you think . . .

Is applying the cigarette tax to e-cigarettes the right idea?

  • Yes. We’ve seen this story before – cigarette companies once claimed that their products were relatively safe, while covertly marketing them to kids. Let’s head this off before history repeats itself.

  • Yes. Regardless of whether this helps kids, it’s a good way to raise some revenue without hitting nonsmokers with another tax. If there are public-health benefits, all the better.

  • If e-cigarettes are so dangerous, why doesn’t the state ban them? Taxing harmful products means the government profits from unhealthy behavior.

  • No. Let’s be cautious here. The FDA has a plan to regulate e-cigarettes. The state should wait for more research to be done before it decides whether a tax is appropriate.

  • Absolutely not. When will the government stop coming up with new taxes? Where is the hard evidence that kids are using these things? Shouldn’t adults have the chance to decide for themselves whether e-cigarettes can help them quit smoking, without having the nanny state make them weigh the tax consequences?

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