A bill passed by Vermont's two legislative chambers to impose a 92 percent wholesale tax on vaping products, including liquid-filled cartridges and electronic devices is likely to be signed by the governor.
Governor Phil Scott has already signaled his support for the bill, H. 47, which is the latest salvo by legislators against what is claimed to be a sharp increase in teenagers using vaping products. As of March 15, nine states and the District of Columbia had taxes on vaping products.
On Wednesday, Scott signed a bill raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21. That bill also imposed a ban on the sale over the internet of e-cigarettes and liquids.
H. 47, which has passed both the House and the Senate, imposes the tax on "all products sold as a tobacco substitute … including any liquids, whether nicotine-based or not, or delivery devices sold separately for use with a tobacco substitute.”
The moves by the state are similar to ones passed or proposed in various states, though the size of the tax far exceeds those in most other states. Pennsylvania did introduce a 40 percent wholesale tax and a 40 percent floor tax on inventory.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has filed a bill to raise the federal minimum age to 21.
Advocates arguing against this drive against vaping products argue that legislators are wrong to treat vaping products and traditional tobacco in the same way.
George Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, which advocates for what he describes as the sensible regulation of vaping products, said it is known that vaping is "far less hazardous" than traditional smoking and helps people stop using tobacco.
“It does not make sense,” Conley said. “It could deter adult smokers.”
He, and others, do not believe introducing measures against vaping will deter youths, but could lead to some continuing to use tobacco products.
Conley told Tobacco News Wire: “Legislators have not much regard for adult smokers … when [they] latch on to an issue, [they] do not operate in grey areas.”
Supporters of taxes and an increased minimum age to buy vaping products characterize it as a way of curbing smoking among teenagers.
“What we know is that these e-cigarettes are incredibly addictive,” said Rep. George Till (D-Jericho), who introduced the tax bill.
“Nicotine is very addictive. These deliver more nicotine than regular tobacco products do and we know that kids who start with these are four times more likely to become regular smokers,” he said following its passage in the House earlier this year.