ILLINOIS (IRN) — Many parents and politicians want to keep e-cigarettes and vaping products out of the hands of children, but an economist warned that heavy-handed restrictions could create a thriving black market.
Tax Foundation research analyst Ulrik Boesen said that sin taxes can discourage some behaviors, but the practices have historically pushed people into unregulated black market purchases, too.
“We can see over the last two decades what happens when you just keep on increasing the excise taxes,” he said. “We have a worry that, with the current political climate, a similar situation might happen with electronic cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes and the liquid used in the products can easily be smuggled because they’re small and the liquid can take any shape.
“These things are super easy to transport because it’s liquid, it’s chemical compounds,” Boesen said. “You can move that around easily.”
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said federal health officials suspect the recent string of deaths tied to vaping and e-cigarettes is linked to black market THC vaping products that contained a form of vitamin E.