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No new taxes for e-cigarettes

As smokers feel the burn of new taxes on packs of cigarettes, those who stick to electronic vapourizers won’t be paying any more, according to the B.C. government.

That’s in part because of the belief that non-nicotine containing e-cigarettes sold in Canada don’t cause the same impact on our health care system as regular cigarettes.

“The costs smoking visits upon individuals and families and the cost that visit upon the health care system associated with smoking are incredible,” said Finance Minister Mike de Jong last week.

The provincial government will charge another 32 cents per pack in taxes this April. That’s after the federal government announced it would charge another 40 cent per pack as well.

Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are banned in Canada – making the ones smoked impossible to tax, according to government spokespeople.

But non-nicotine containing cigarettes are available and sales are booming, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall, who says their impact encouraging people to smoke shouldn’t be discounted.

“They act as a gateway to normalizing smoking,” Kendall told CTV News.

In late December, an 11 year old boy bought a non-nicotine e-cigarette from a Tsawwassen store. The vendor apologized, saying that he thought it was similar to a candy cigarette or licorice pipe.

Kendall said higher taxes would also discourage children from purchasing the cigarettes, because they have less disposable income, but wouldn’t hurt them because their families are paying essentials such as rent.

However Kevin Murray of City Cigar said it’s possible a non-nicotine e-cigarette could help someone quit, because they could take away part of the cravings.

“For myself, I’ve got to say a good portion of my habit is the physical thing, lifting something to my mouth,” he said.

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