Vermont has imposed a 92% tax increase on e-cigarettes with effect from July 1, 2019. The tax has been introduced to discourage vaping among teenagers specifically, who are most affected by the price hike.
George Till, State Rep., presented the bill and was of the view that this tax would help curb the increasing number of kids and teenagers falling for this addiction.
He stated, “We know the group that is most sensitive to price, are teenagers and we know that these companies are going out of their way to get kids addicted.”
Till further said that 92% is the same rate at which snuff, a form of smokeless tobacco, is already being taxed. This would make the e-cigarettes cost roughly as much as combustible cigarettes do, which were previously more expensive.
Apart from this tax bill, two other bills also came into effect. The first bill raises the legal age from 18 to 21 to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products. The second bill puts a filter on the unlicensed retailers and online sale of tobacco, nicotine and substitute products.
Till is of the opinion that these steps would put a 3-pronged check on vaping nicotine and tobacco, as well as other similar products. He declares it necessary, at least until the health effects of nicotine are better researched and understood.
He further emphasized that “’ e-cigarettes are safer’ is pretty nonsensical. There are many types of these devices and it will be a long time before we ever know if they are safer. My bet is that we will find some devices are safer, and some are more dangerous. But we don’t know that yet.”
Till also diverted the attention towards the financial aspect of the bill. It will raise less revenue than before but the concentration will lie in the health of the population.
JUUL’s fate was left hanging when San Francisco became the first state to ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of vape products in the last week of June this year.