Health considerations in regulation and taxation of electronic cigarettes

Arch G. Mainous, Rebecca J. Tanner, Ryan W. Mainous, Jeffery Talbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is experiencing unprecedented growth. This can be contrasted to the use of conventional cigarettes which showed a decrease among adults with the current smoker prevalence dropping from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013. There is some data that e-cigarettes are attracting both former smokers and never smokers, and in particular, young people as users. Currently most states do not tax e-cigarettes. Taxation and regulation may have a similar overall goal of decreasing smoking but regulation tends to focus reduced availability of products. In terms of tobacco control, taxation focuses on the demand side of the equation. Taxation is a distinct strategy from regulation and has been shown to decrease new adopters of conventional cigarettes. A variety of potential taxation strategies can be considered by policymakers based on different assumptions about e-cigarettes and their utility, ranging from untaxed to taxation at moderate levels compared to conventional cigarettes to taxation equal to conventional cigarettes. Until more evidence for the benefits of e-cigarettes is presented, it seems prudent to view them as a potentially harmful and addictive product that ought to be regulated and taxed in an equivalent manner to conventional cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-806
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, American Board of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.


  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Health policy
  • Smoking
  • Taxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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