Washington State May Soon See A 95% Tax On Their Vaping Products In the Near Future, If Governor Inslee Gets His Way
It looks like the State of Washington is looking to place vape shops and ecigs between a rock and a hard place. Governor Jay Inslee has proposed placing a 95% tax on any and all vapor products within their state. The tax hike was outlined in the governor’s state budget plan announced this past Thursday.
Check out the details on the proposal here >
This proposal was immediately met with criticism from the American Vaping Association, along with equal dissent from Washington based brick & mortar shops.
The Vaporium vape shop owner Kim Thompson had this to say about the possible tax hike, “A 95% tax would do a few different things. One, it would demonize a product, make it look as though it was as bad as smoking.” Thompson also feels that such an increase in the tax would make the price of vaping the same as smoking tobacco cigarettes which would in turn give current smokers less of an incentive to switch over to vaping. As a shop owner, she feels too that the proposal would make all of her products more expensive effectively shrinking her profit margin, which could in turn drive potential customers back to their tobacco smoking habits.
Representative Reuven Carlyle, had proposed a similar vapor tax last year that was not approved, he supports Inslee’s tax hike proposal.
“Last year, we introduced legislation to bring vaping up to the regular level of other similar products such as snuff and other things,” he quoted. “This is just a fairness issue. It’s a parity issue. No one is looking to single out vaping, we are just looking to bring it to the same level of taxation of other similar products.”
Those products Carlyle mentions include snuff and cigars, which are both taxed at 95% as inacted under the state’s tobacco products tax.
But clearly the difference is obvious; there is no tobacco in ecigarettes.
“There’s zero tobacco in my product,” Thompson said. “Zero tobacco. We do not promote tobacco, we do not promote smoking…”
But Carlyle disagrees saying that people need to keep in mind of the fact that ecigarettes have nicotine in them, which is addictive and is the same as tobacco cigarettes.
The American Vaping Association was quick to point out that there are only two other states who are currently taxing vapor products like cigarettes, Minnesota and North Carolina. But these two states only tax vapor products that contain nicotine. The AVA also noted that Inslee’s proposal would do the same and will double the price of nicotine-free vapor products.
Last year this was a battle that the vaping community in Washington State won as Carlyle’s proposal did not even make it out of the committee. Thompson says that their lawmakers should be prepared for another hard battle on this proposal in January.
“We will be encouraging all of our customers to call Jay Inslee and let him know how they feel. They are ready to rally and to converge in Olympia.”