Owning a vape shop in California just got more frightening as the state gets ready to vote on Prop 56, proposed legislation that threatens to pass a nearly 70% e-cig tax to go into effect in early 2017. Perhaps even more terrifying, the majority of the proceeds from the proposed legislation are earmarked to benefit Big Pharma, specifically Medi-Cal and the state’s gaggle of medical insurance providers.
The vaping industry has long been aware of the behind-the-scenes role that major pharmaceutical companies are playing in the War on Vaping. Electronic cigarettes are perhaps the most popular stop-smoking aid currently on the market, and Big Pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson are not very happy about it. After all, these are the manufacturers of Nicorette Gum and “The Patch,” the previously reigning champions of smoking cessation products.
The FDA’s Mitch Zeller, Big Pharma, and Prop 56
When the FDA deeming regulations were recently announced in May 2016, the vaping industry was shocked to learn that a man by the name of Mitch Zeller was heading the very agency that would be in charge of the new federal oversight program. Zeller is a former political consultant for vaping’s biggest competitor, Big Pharma’s GlaxoSmithKline Company. So the Obama appointment of Zeller seemed rather shady right from the very start.
Zeller helped to write the FDA deeming regulations that ominously include very specific wording classifying all e-cigs and vaping merchandise as “tobacco products,” even though these products are 100% tobacco-free. He was also successful in marketing the deeming regulations to the American people as legislation designed to reduce teen smoking. Strangely, California Prop 56 is being marketed in exactly the same way, but a hidden vape tax lies buried deep inside the fine print.
According to NoOnProposition56.com, California Prop 56 will produce about $1.4 billion of new taxes annually, but only 13% of that money will be used to fund teen smoking issues that the legislation promises to fight. An alarming 82% will be immediately directed towards Medi-Cal and California insurance companies, the very organizations who promote the use of “The Patch” and Nicorette Gum to millions of patients through its team of doctors and insurance counselors. Meanwhile, another $147 million will be used for “administrative costs.” As if the newly announced FDA deeming regulations were not enough of a concern, California Prop 56 may be the final nail in the coffin of the state’s vaping industry.