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Vapor Taxes Threaten Utah, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, More

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Several state lawmakers around the country are wanting to hit vapers where it hurts — in their wallets. Taxes are threatening more than ever before, so here’s the rundown of where you can make a difference. Call your local decision makers; vote for proponents of vaping; make your voices heard.

Utah’s lawmakers and vape shop owners are battling a 86.5 cent per dosage tax on e-cigarettes, which is the second time this issue has come to the table. HB252 has been introduced by Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield) to the House, passed by a 54-20 vote, and now heads to the Senate. Lewie Lambros, owner of Vapor Dreams, told UtahPolicy.com that the bill is “bad public policy, unneeded and could bankrupt the legal business of vaping. [The bill is] just a ‘sin tax’ aimed at harming the industry.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is wanting to tax everything but the kitchen sink in the state — from plastic bags to bottles to sugary drinks to vaping products. He’s asked lawmakers to take vaping products at 75% and to adopt Tobacco 21 for purchase.

Sen. Ana Quezada (D-Providence) is asking Rhode Island lawmakers for a 1% tax on hookah and vaping products and “related equipment.” The measure is with the Senate Finance Committee.

Rep. Liz Thomson (D-Santa Fe) wants HB261 passed in New Mexico, which would add a whopping 76% taxation to vaping products. KOB.com reports that the bill has somewhat stalled in committee, but the governor is still working on pressing it through. Track House Bill 261 during the legislative session. Additionally, Las Cruces Sun News reports that starting in July, a 12.5% tax on e-liquid will go into effect.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) would like to take taxes on cigarettes to a higher amount, and he propose a new 36% tax on the e-cigarette wholesale prices. Victoria Vasconcellos, president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, told WQAD 8: “Studies have shown that vaping products are among the most useful tools to help adult smokers quit traditional cigarettes. It seems unethical to tax a person for making better, healthier choices.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wants to tax vaping products at the same rate as tobacco products — at 71%. Knucklehead's Tobacco & Vape Club in Madison General Manager Landon Meske told Channel3000.com “if a tax like this goes into effect, you're hurting a lot of small businesses. We have ID scanners at both registers. Every single ID gets scanned whether it be for e-cigs or not. [It’s a] ‘grave mistake’ to put a hefty tax on all e-cigarettes, vapes and products. Vapor is not smoke.”

South Dakota legislators have introduced HB1209 that would tax “any noncombustible product containing nicotine that employs a heating source … that can be used to produce vapor from nicotine in a solution” at 35% wholesale. Heartland.org published a great opinion piece on why taxation in the state (and others) is a mistake and a detriment to harm reduction efforts.

2020 is a big year for this bill in Idaho, which would levy a 15% tax on vaping products, under House committee legislation introduced this spring. While the bill will be assigned a number, the hearing won’t take place until next year — so make your voice heard on this issue now!

Washington State lawmakers are asking for an astounding 60% tax on vapor products, which many business owners say would put them out of business. HB1873 was introduced by Rep. Gerry Pollet.

The debate is on in Indiana once again, as the Senate Appropriations Committee heard testimony regarding HB1444, which will tax vaping products. So far the proposed tax would be 4 cents per mL on e-liquids that contain nicotine. The Committee is considering amendments.

Michigan lawmakers would like to tax at 81% on products including e-cigarettes and vape pens. Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) introduced the bill and it is co-sponsored by Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit). Shop owners are fighting back, and Bill Kosinski, CEO of Tattoo Vape, told grbj.com that he thinks the bill is a terrible idea. “The state was on the right path to be smoke-free, but the tax increase will have 18 and over e-cigarette and vape users going back to regular cigarettes because they’re (vapes) so expensive.” The bill is pending before the House Committee for Regulatory Reform.