Efforts to Raise Taxes on Electronic Cigarettes Persist in 2016

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, January 25th, 2016, 12:40 PM PERMALINK

One year ago this week, ATR’s Patrick Gleason and I outlined the threat electronic cigarettes and vapor products faced during the 2015 state legislative sessions over new and higher taxes. At the conclusion of last year, state governments considered legislation to subject these new technology and tobacco-free products to excise or “sin” taxes in half the country and the District of Columbia. This was up from 15 the year prior, in 2014.

As we explained, “Where some see a new technology that is helping people quit smoking, cash-hungry politicians see a new target to tax.”

Contrary to claims by some, the fight to tax, and in many cases, regulate this new product category has never been about public health. In a piece for National Review, ATR president Grover Norquist and I outlined the fraud of such justifications for the prohibitionist movement against vapor products.

“The same people who spent years demonizing smokers and cigarettes turned around and gleefully pushed for new programs and spending projects with the revenue they were able to extract from consumers… Budgets, though, rely on this significant revenue stream. Here the fraud that has always been the public-health push for cigarette taxes is exposed, in their quest to tax e-cigarettes out of existence.”

Related: Grover Norquist Speech in New Orleans: The Vaping Movement Will Win! 

These legislative threats have always been about protecting the government’s stream of sin tax revenue extracted from smokers. Every price increase on vapor products provides a reason for a smoker to not make the switch to healthier alternatives. This is exactly what some money-hungry legislators want.

So what about 2016? As state legislative sessions heat up, so too have efforts to raise taxes on electronic cigarettes. Below is a map showing which states currently subject the products to excise, or sin, taxes and states where legislation has been filed or defeated as well. Click here for a larger version of the map.  (Or, click the image. -ed.)

 

vape-taxes

Legislation to raise taxes on electronic cigarettes has already been filed in Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. A ballot initiative is pending in California. More legislation is likely to be filed in the coming days and weeks.

Four states and the District of Columbia currently impose an excise tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products. They include Minnesota (95% wholesale), North Carolina (5 cents per mL), Louisiana (5 cents per mL), and Kansas (20 cents per mL).

CDC Data: More than 9 Million Adult Consumers Regularly Use Vapor Products

Four localities also impose an excise tax on the products. They include Cook County, Illinois (20 cents per mL) Montgomery County, Maryland (30% wholesale), Juneau, Alaska (45% wholesale), ad Matanuska-Susitna, Alaska (55% wholesale). The mayor of Mat-Su actually vetoed the City Council’s tax increase, only to have it overridden on a 5-2 vote soon after.  

E-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than traditional combustible cigarettes. Efforts to raise taxes on these smoking cessation devices work at cross purposes with efforts to cut down on the harm associated with smoking. This is one of the reasons we at Americans for Tax Reform oppose efforts to raise taxes on the products.

Click here for a PDF version of the state tax map. 

 

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Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 3:36am
My own mother just told me that she believes the #ejuice makers literally rubbed their hands and thought "I know how to addict the children ! #FLAVORS ! .. Well Mom, #flavorssavelives. Is her candy flavorless ? Her ice cream ? Her cereal ? #Tobacco flavor is 'adult' ? Gross...! https://t.co/gswwLBdv8F TheVaporNinja photo
Thursday, September 12th, 2019 at 6:08am
Confusing #THC delivery systems with #vaping #ecigs is rampant, and getting worse. Headlines like "Vaping causes hospitalization/death' are spreading WORLDWIDE.
Do what you can to educate your friends, family, neighbors, about this issue when they see you vaping your #ecig. https://t.co/jqZMkpvp6R
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Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 9:23pm
These same "officials" who have desperately tried to ban vaping have CANDY DISHES with many FLAVORS in their OFFICE !!
Flavors are for children ?? Well, let's ban everything flavored that's remotely bad for you ! To "Save The Children" (tm) !!
Pushing vapers to the black market. https://t.co/UFYAPBk5GZ
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Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 8:55pm
"SAVE THE CHILDREN"... more like "SAVE OUR TAX REVENUE".....
The orange man just pissed off 13 million voters (vapers). Will THIS make you go to the voting booth, vapers ?
Did you think the orange man was about de-regulation ? Free market economy ? Small business incentives ? HA https://t.co/WGqbAR1y2r
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Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 1:34pm
I AGREE. https://t.co/N8REbgaO86
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VapingIT, SPE, EEI @Vapingit
I predict within 5 years of a flavor ban, cigarette smoking -18 will be back where it was before vaping products were available. https://t.co/qlZreH2c98 https://t.co/45nz0tXjuv
Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 1:24pm
YES, THE ORANGE MAN DID IT.
He is going to ban all vape flavors, citing concerns about 'many deaths'... well how about the 33K deaths this month from TOBACCO, @POTUS ?? What about the 88K deaths a year from booze ? Are you sure you're banning the right thing?
Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 1:20pm
@KnowNicotine Well I hope you're happy, Aaron, Trump is now going to BAN all flavored vape liquids nationwide to "protect the children"...
Congratulations. You win this round.
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 3:01pm
Do NOT go back to smoking !! IF you are afraid of the latest outbreak of vaping related illnesses, or know someone who is, share this post with them. There's every reason to NOT return to smoking !! https://t.co/PiwAckGtA5
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 at 9:52am
@LizaSoho Yes, ANY smoke is harmful to the lungs.
So this is a safe thing to say, sure.
I recommend people VAPE their cannabis and nicotine.
VAPING cannabis goes beyond using illicit cartridges with unknown pollutants.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 at 9:48am
@LizaSoho OK look.
ANY smoke from ANY substance is BAD for your lungs and body.
This is why I advocate for VAPING over combustion.
I'm not sure why you are targeting @TheVaporNinja with stories of SMOKE.
As the nickname indicates, I recommend to folks to VAPE their cannabis, nicotine, etc.

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