Washington State has become a haven for legalized marijuana, but a new ecig tax looks to crush the vaping industry and send ecigarette prices soaring.
That’s the only explanation we could come with for the insane proposal to tax electronic cigarettes at a whopping 95%. Rub your eyes and read that again – 95%! That would essentially double the price of essentials that vapers use as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. They may still be cheaper that cigarettes in a lot of cases, but a good portion of that advantage will be wiped away if some have their way in Washington.
The bill’s sponsor is Gerry Pollet, who also teaches public health at the University of Washington. Pollet is looking to raise ecigarette prices because he sees them as being the same as tobacco cigarettes. Why else would he state “Every time we raised the price of cigarettes we reduced youth smoking,” while speaking in favor of this exorbitant ecig tax? This is from a state where legalized marijuana can be purchased in a growing number of shops, but a vaping products that have helped millions of smokers change their lifestyle has a big target on its back.
By the way, just as a brief aside, check out the most anticipated dry herb vaporizer of the year, the Pax 3.
As the editorial board at the Union Bulletin clearly points out, this proposal would take ecigarettes and “tax them out of existence.” Is that really how we want to see this tool bite the dust in Washington?
We understand the concerns of these politicians, really we do. On the outside it looks like these products are running rampant with nobody to stop them and people are scared of the unknown and many public health officials play on those fears for their own purposes.
“We don’t know what is really in them” (which of course is not true at all) and “we don’t know their effects” (one proven effect is the fact that 3 to 4 million people in this country now vape rather than smoke making it the most successful counter to cigarettes we have seen), at least those are the claims of some public officials in Washington and other states.
Others are concerned with sales to minors and packaging of eliquid. Some of these concerns need to be addressed urgently, such as the ease with which minors can purchase ecigs in some places. Others need to be taken at a pace under the realization that these products are actually helping people. Raising ecigarette prices for people that just found a solution for their problem is wrong and it sends a bad signal to smokers looking for an alternative.
One of those vapers in Washington who will be affected is Emily Murphy. She explains how “For so many adults this has been a life-changing intervention,” and this huge ecig tax will put a damper on that.
It really could do more than that; it could crush the ecigarette market that is helping so many smokers in Washington. That would be absolutely terrible, not to mention wrong and unjust. American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley insists, “It’s irresponsible.” He estimates that with the ecig tax, “You’re literally doubling, tripling the price.” That’s the kind of the Big Tobacco has been hoping for, as it loses more and more consumers to ecigarette market. You have to wonder what is going on behind the scenes there in Washington.
American Ecig Companies And Vapers Under Attack
We’re at the point in this country where the forces trying to push vaping away are getting more aggressive.
The CDC and the California Department of Public Health have even gone so far as to spend your tax dollars to run ecig attack ads on TV. (Click the image above to see the taxpayer funded Still Blowing Smoke TV ads.)
The CDPH even has an anti-vaping website called StillBlowingSmoke.org.
Even in a state with legalized marijuana (shouldn’t these guys be a lot more relaxed?) the up tight reaction to ecigarettes is really frustrating.
There will be solutions to all of the issues brought up by those scared of electronic cigarettes, but it will take moderate voices and modest steps to forge a path that protects young people while enabling smokers to help themselves.
Nobody said any revolution would be easy, and the vaping revolution appears to be no different. What we have to do is stick together and fight truly awful legislation like this one. We always like to preach about picking your battles, because some are more important that others. Issues like prohibiting minors from getting a hold of ecigs is a battle we can actually be on the same side of. But an ecig tax at a whopping 95% is plainly absurd for all to see.
We hope this is the sort of thing that gets shouted down, and thankfully the only two states to enact ecigarette taxes so far, North Carolina and Minnesota, have done so at a rate lower than that of cigarette tax. Lets hope the folks in Washington get the message before it’s too late for vapers and smokers alike in that state.