On Wednesday evening, a grand jury announced that it would not indict a New York City police officer who, in July, killed Eric Garner, a 43 year old Staten Island resident with a history of serious health problems and father of six children. Gut wrenching video of the incident found its way online, sparking outrage due to the tactics used by police.
The tactics used during this incident, however, aren’t the only aspect causing controversy. Police suspected Garner, who had broken up a fight before being approached by officers, of selling loose cigarettes, a crime for which he’d previously been arrested. New York City’s excessively high excise tax on cigarettes has had the unintended consequence of creating a black market, a point Sen. Rand Paul (R KY) alluded to on Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC.
“I think it is hard not to watch that video of him saying ‘I can t breathe, I can t breathe’ and not be horrified by it,” Paul told Chris Matthews. “I think it is important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. But then some politician also had to direct the police say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.'”
“For someone to die over breaking that law, there is really no excuse for it. But I do blame the politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws,” he added.
As Paul pointed out, New York City’s total cigarette tax is $5.85 per pack (the $4.35 state excise tax plus the $1.50 local tax). State and local officials enacted the tax to discourage smoking, but the hardest hit by high cigarette taxes are the poor, who are more likely to smoke and, unlike middle and upper class tobacco users, can’t afford healthier alternatives. A 2012 study conducted on behalf of the New York State Department of Public Health discovered that, though smoking had decreased by 20 percent between 2003 and 2010, “those with household incomes less than $25,000 had no statistically significant decline.”
“This implies that low income smokers have not been more price responsive than smokers with higher incomes. In fact, from 2003 2004 to 2010 2011, we find that the percentage of income spent on cigarettes for smokers with annual incomes less than $30,000 more than doubled (11.6% to 23.6%),” the authors explained. “This suggests that lower income smokers in New York State have not had a greater response to higher taxes than smokers with higher incomes.”
Though cigarette taxes in the Northeast are high compared to other regions in the country, New York is surrounded by states that have a much lower tax, making it relatively easy for smugglers to bring in cigarettes to sell at a cheaper price. There are also organized smugglers, including those with connections to terrorists groups, who import cheap cigarettes from other parts of the world for sale in the United States and the production of counterfeit smokes, which have been found to contain insects and human feces.
The effect of smuggling was also noticed in the New York study. “After adjusting for underreporting of self reported cigarette consumption, we find that tax paid cigarette sales capture only 55% of all cigarettes smoked in New York State,” the authors noted. “This implies that New York State loses approximately $1.4 billion in revenue as a consequence of tax evasion.” A separate analysis released earlier this year by the Tax Foundation showed that smuggled smokes accounted for nearly 57 percent of all cigarettes consumed.
Excessively high cigarette taxes may reduce smoking, but the policy creates a black market that increases enforcement burdens on police and puts them in dangerous situations. It also pulls resources away from investigating more serious crimes. None of this is to say that cigarette smuggling wouldn’t exist if taxes were lowered, but the extent to which it does exist is a result of high taxes. And, in the case of Eric Garner, enforcement turned into a deadly situation.
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A standard electronic cigarette starter kit is likely to contain a certain amount of cartridges, USB charger, a wall charger, atomisers, batteries, a bottle of e liquid, and in car charger and a carry case. Of course, depending on the kind of starter kit that you choose, there will be a variation on these items.
Popular electronic cigarette kits
Popular electronic cigarette starter kits include the 510 TANK e sig kit, which operates like the larger TANK kits but works on an automatic system and is ideal for heavy smokers, the eGO electronic cigarette kit, ideal for the smoker who is used to smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day. Other popular e cigarette kits include the ELIPS tank kit, the F1 e cigarette starter kit, the FOG Electronics starter kit and the lava tube e cigarette kit. This kit is particularly popular because it allows you to alter the voltage from 3.0 to 6.0v in increments of 0.1. For people who would like to have the same amount of voltage in each puff, even when the battery is very low, this is the ideal kit for them.
Popular because of it’s price, the cheap electronic cigarette starter kit Micro 93 mm electronic cigarette is an affordable as well as stylish starter kit that offers great value for money. It even includes two complete electronic cigarettes.
How to choose an e cig kit for you
Choosing an electronic cigarette kit might be difficult because of the amount of choice which you have. However, you should look closely at your actual smoking habit and see how many cigarettes a day you currently smoke. You can then find an electronic cigarette starter kit which matches your requirements. For example, the 510 tank kit is designed for the heavy smoker, somebody who might light up around 30 cigarettes a day. Choosing a kit which matches your current nicotine intake is important, otherwise you could suffer withdrawal symptoms due to lack of nicotine or you could overdose or nicotine and feel unwell.
The reason why somebody might opt to buy a starter kit instead of the separate items is down to value for money. Buying an e cigarette starter kit allows you to invest in all of the items that you need for vaping but without a hefty price tag. Starter kits like the Micro 93 mm electronic cigarette are great examples of value for money, containing all of the chargers you need including an in car charger, two complete electronic cigarettes and 10 cartridges. For the first time electronic cigarette user, this can be particularly beneficial.