The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules on Thursday (April 24) that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavoured products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children.
Italy’s booming e-cigarette industry claims it will be hit hard when the government introduces an eighty per cent tax on the sale of its products on January 1 (2014).
Electronic cigarette companies argue the financial penalty is being imposed on them unfairly, simply because they’ve contributed to a fall in taxes from tobacco smoking.
The liquid in these little bottles is now finding its way into the electronic cigarettes of one million smokers in Italy.
The liquid nicotine comes in a multitude of flavours like Tuscan tobacco, mint or vanilla.
Their aroma has contributed to the immense popularity of these electronic cigarettes.
This factory belongs to Turin based Smooke.
Here workers manufacture and sell thousands of refills for e-cigarette devices in Italy and abroad.
Last year Smooke earned 11 million Euros ( million) selling both the liquid nicotine vials and their own designed electronic cigarettes devices.
In Italy, the entire sector is worth 350 million Euros (1 million) according to the National Association of Electronic Smoke (ANAFE)
But manufacturers like this one argue their booming vapour industry may soon dissolve.
In January, e-cigarette makers in Italy will have to pay 80.5 percent of their revenue in taxes.
The law will treat companies like Smooke to state-licensed tobacco shops.
Smooke CEO, Filippo Riccio, has become a vocal opponent of the tax and he is the vice president of ANAFE.
He says: “The law inconclusive and hard to apply. And if they ever found a way to apply it would just be a polite way to mutilate an entire sector, so cutting thousands of jobs, and sending people home.”
Much is at stake for this young entrepreneur.
Smooke was the first electronic cigarette company to start up in Italy three years ago.
Now it employs 400 people and has its name on 250 franchised shops.
According to Riccio big profits or the new sector meant huge losses for the traditional cigarette industry and for the government.
The Italian Institute of Superior Health claims tobacco cigarette sales are at its lowest in 15 years.
It says tobacco sales have dropped by 8 percent in 2012.
That’s meant a loss of one billion Euros (.6 billion US) in tax revenue for the government.
Riccio argues the new tax is simply a way to replenish the government’s depleted coffers.
According to Riccio: “Behind this business there are huge interests. Pharmaceutical lobbies, tobacco lobbies, the state’s monopoly that cashes in 14 billion Euros (.7 billion US) in taxes just from cigarette sales.”
E-cigarettes don’t have tobacco and doesn’t create the carcinogens released through combustion as with traditional cigarettes.
It’s meant producers have marketed vaporisers as a less-damaging alternative for concerned smokers.
Francesco Adamo is among them.
He says: “I have a condition, I can’t breathe well, but with these (e-cigarettes) , I have no problems. Maybe I smoke four or five cigarettes a day and they are enough for me because I smoke this one (the e-cigarette) for the rest of the day.”
For other smokers here today, it’s matter of making their habit more socially acceptable.
Angela Piglia says: “I want to try the electronic cigarette because I can’t stand the smell of smoke at home, especially during winter. I understand that this (e-cigarette) is also bothersome for others.”
At the Anti Smoking Centre in Modena, toxicologist Dr. Luigi Alberto Pini argues e-cigarettes shouldn’t be regarded as a therapy.
He says: “The way the latest electronic cigarettes distribute nicotine in the oral cavity and in one’s breath is very similar to that of traditional cigarettes.”
Little is know about what effects electronic cigarettes will have on our health.
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/7b4a7bebd4976445f44bcbd42c36e12d
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
Video Rating: / 5