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State Lawmakers Consider Raising E-Cigarette Taxes

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While nine states currently have taxes on vaping products, ranging from $0.05 per milliliter of e-liquid to taxing 95 percent of the wholesale price, Connecticut, Kentucky and Utah are have lawmakers hoping to make that push for a dozen.

While a public meeting has taken place regarding taxing and banning vape products in the state of Connecticut, lawmakers are going back to the state Capitol to mull it over, reports News 12 Connecticut. Hector Gonzalez, manager of U Vape LLC in Milford, told News 12 that “a tax will end up driving e-cigarette users back to old habits. They're going to go back to cigarettes. They're going to find a cheaper alternative.” Lawmakers who have proposed the tax would like to levy one on the state similar to that already posed on cigarettes.

In Kentucky, a public poll finds that the “majority” of voters have “overwhelmingly” supported a potential new e-cigarette excise tax, according to WDRB.com. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc., was conducted via phone from Dec. 12 through 15, 2018. The interviewees were randomly selected from phone-matched Kentucky voter registration of landline and cell phones, and 625 registered voters were polled. Kentucky’s current cigarette tax is $1.10 per pack, with no excise tax on e-cigarettes. The poll’s results of the 625 interviewed found 77 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Independents were in favor of an excise tax. Western, Northern and Lexington areas ranked highest in support of the tax. Keith Hadley, co-founder of the Kentucky Smoke Free Association, told WDRB: “taxing something doesn’t eliminate bad business from selling to underage people.” He said that a better solution would be “licensing vape shops and maybe not allowing e-cigs to be sold at gas stations and convenience stores.”

Finally we move to Utah, where Gov. Gary Herbert wants to tax vaping under the same rate as “traditional tobacco products,” under Utah’s tax code according to The Salt Lake Tribune. There is currently an 86 percent tax on chewing and pipe tobacco, but not e-cigarettes. Rep. Paul Ray reintroduced the previously unsuccessful legislation during January’s session. Co-owner of Peak Vapor and Utah Smoke Free Association Board Member Austin Healy told the Tribune that there are “plenty of adults with a sweet tooth,” and his shop “takes pains to make sure it doesn’t sell to anyone underage.” While it’s a concern that youth are gaining access to vaping, he said “we’re not trying to fling this stuff to children or kids or teenagers. We truly just want to help people looking for another alternative [to smoking].” Healy’s argument was that e-cigarettes are already taxed under Utah’s state sales tax and are similar to other cigarette alternative products. A tax of this size would be a “huge loss of jobs” in the state, which houses 263 vape shops alone.