As many of you know, the FDA’s deeming regulations go into effect August 8th. As a result, innovation will come to a halt, the long and costly approval process will begin for every manufacturer, and the industry as a whole will be fighting for their survival. As grim as these regulations may seem, there is an even bigger threat happening to vaping across the country at the state level.
This past week, a tax law was passed in Pennsylvania that requires everyone pay a 40% wholesale tax to the state. So say a brick a mortar shop’s current inventory is valued at $100,000; they would have to send a $40,000 check to the state in order to continue doing business. This law not only effects shop owners, but every single vaper. One provision of the law states that any individual making an e-cigarette purchase (juice, coils, and devices) on-line must also comply with the 40% wholesale tax. Punishment for not paying this tax is up to 5 years in jail or a fine to not exceed $5,000.
Pennsylvania is not alone. Taxing electronic cigarettes seems to be on the rise across the country. Louisiana and North Carolina are looking at $0.05 per milliliter, Kansas sits at $0.20/ml, Minnesota’s lawmakers are voting on a $0.30/ml, and Chicago has already added a $0.55/ml plus $0.80 per unit tax. In Chicago, that adds up to an additional $17 per 30ml bottle! These cases seem to be isolated, but there are several states still on the fence: Rhode Island, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, and Washington who is proposing a 75% tax on vape products- which is higher than their marijuana tax.
Taxes are not the only barriers states are putting between vapers and their products. In Utah, they are no longer able to sell e-juice with a nicotine level higher than 6mg. For vapers who have achieved their goal to quit smoking, this may not have too much of an impact, but it will make a difference to those interested in starting to vape. I was a pack-a-day smoker and used 24mg juice to make the transition. I don’t think I would have been successful if my only option was a 6mg nicotine level. The motivation to pass such a law is beyond me, but let’s hope they were not acting in the hopes that it would deter smokers from starting to vape.
So far, Texas has not joined the taxing spree but who is to say it won’t in the future? How do we protect ourselves from the same fate? There are two ways we can get ahead of this potential problem: 1. Register to vote (and actually go vote) and 2. Contact your state congressmen and senators. It takes a phone call, e-mail, or, if you can, set up a meeting and ask them if they support vaping. Your vote is your voice. Tell them how important vaping is to you and how important it is to keep it accessible and affordable.
This fight is not over by a long shot, but it is up to you, the consumer, to keep it going. We can’t stop informing, educating, and advocating to protect our vaping rights. I encourage all of you to take action now -don’t take it for granted that the shops and manufacturers are fighting for you. You should get involved and help the cause. We all need to work together to save this industry. Let’s not find ourselves wondering what happened if this war on vaping continues.