During his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg was consistently ridiculed for his intrusive policies aimed at modifying the behavior of citizens through bans and taxes. He has since been replaced by Bill de Blasio, a man many consider far more dangerous, though Bloomberg’s “nanny” moniker remains up for grabs.
It seems that a Republican heavyweight in a neighboring state might have his eye on the disreputable title. Recent reports indicate his latest target is the increasingly popular e-cigarette industry.
While these devices offer a far safer alternative for smokers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a tax that would raise the price of e-cigarettes to the same level as traditional cigarettes.
His state has already approved legislation banning the use of the smoking substitute in public, despite the fact that the devices release only vapor and no toxin-filled smoke. Some feel Christie’s latest attack on the e-cigarette market will further solidify the perception that he favors undue government intrusion into the free market.
Despite the fact that experts (including at least one former surgeon general) tout the potential benefits of the nicotine-delivery instruments, Christie seems firmly entrenched in a leftist mindset that would relegate these products to the unfavorable level of traditional cigarettes. Medical professionals across the nation contend that e-cigarettes are not only safer for smokers and the general public; they also indicate that use of such products can be a catalyst in an individual’s decision to give up nicotine completely.
Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue any report detailing adverse health effects found in the use of these devices.
Nevertheless, lobbyists working on behalf of other smoking cessation products are reportedly working with elected officials to curtail the sale of a product they consider a threat.
Whether Christie has been influenced by these forces or simply believes in imposing prohibitive taxes on products he doesn’t like, his advocacy of this policy could clearly hurt his already tenuous relationship with conservatives.
–B. Christopher Agee
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom