Electronic Cigarette users in Oregon are facing a potential tax hike of 50 percent if the state legislature passes Bill 4062, sponsored by Rep. Phil Barnhart. The bill, which would raise retail tax on both electronic cigarettes and e-liquids by a remarkable 50 percent, is still under debate in the legislature, and already raising opposition throughout the state. Although well received among Democrats and health care providers, the bill faces opposition by many Republicans, businessmen, and vapor groups concerned about the potential increase.
Local organizations such as the Northwest Vaping Association, as well as companies in the e-cigarette industry, note that a 50 percent increase would put vapor taxes on par with those incurred by the tobacco industry, even though vapor products are marketed as a healthy alternative to smoking, often used by individuals looking to kick their cigarette addiction. Health advocates and those hoping to reduce teen vapor use support the measure, arguing that “the goal would be to pass the cost increase onto the consumer – especially teens who are price sensitive” (Jenn Baker, Oregon Nurses Association).
Oregon isn’t the only state looking to tax electronic cigarettes and vapor devices, with states across the country considering similar taxes. Electronic cigarette taxes have already been passed in Minnesota, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas, and the District of Columbia. Earlier in 2016, Chicago joined the movement, charging consumers an extra 80 cents per liquid nicotine product unit, and 55 cents per milliliter of e-cigarette juice, amounting to an additional $8 to $15 a bottle.
Oregon may not be alone in wanting to tax electronic cigarettes and vapor devices, but is this the right move? So many users turn to vapor to kick their cigarette habit, saving hundreds of dollars in the process. If we tax vapor products at the same rate as cigarettes, are we removing a main incentive of the switch? Or are we protecting our population from products known to be equally, if not more dangerous than cigarettes? Let us know your thoughts below.
[Source: The Daily Caller News Foundation, Guy Bentley, 02/06/2016]