The state of Vermont recently implemented a 92% vaping tax, while their tobacco tax remained the same.
It seems like the most popular way for legislators to try and reign in vaping is by jacking up the taxes every chance they get. In most places, lawmakers have simply applied their existent tobacco taxes onto the entirely different process of vaping. While this is bad enough, several legislators have instead decided to go further than this and passed vaping taxes which are much higher than their tobacco ones.
Vermont became the latest example of this troubling trend, as they recently passed a 92% vaping tax, which took effect last week. It meant that vapers in the state now must pay nearly twice as many taxes for their products than smokers pay for deadly cigarettes.
The majority of the vaping community has spoken out against this move, as it could easily push former smokers back into the dangerous habit since it’s ultimately cheaper than vaping now. The main issue being that these legislators don’t see vaping as anything but an alternative form of tobacco, despite the growing pile of evidence against supporting their distinct value.
Critics of vaping are still counting this as a massive victory for their fight, as it dramatically increases the barrier of entry for vaping. Experts are split on the impact outside of the state, but one thing that seems inevitable is that this new tax will lead to the closure of quite a few independent vape shops across the area.
Twice As Much
It was earlier this year that Vermont legislators voted for a 92% tax on vaping products. This new robust tax did nothing to increase the tobacco tax rate of packs of cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco. That said, it did place the 92% tax on other tobacco-based products such as chewing tobacco.
Other than the obviously high tax, the real issue presents itself once you realize what a pack of cigarettes costs in the Green Mountain State. According to their official tax website, a standard pack of 20 cigarettes is taxed $3.08. Meanwhile, reports show that the average retail cost of a pack of cigarettes in Vermont is $9.62, making the pre-taxed packs cost around $6.54 each.
It’s then easy to show that cigarettes in Vermont are only taxed by a rate of around 47%, compared with the new 92% tax on all vaping products sold. As misguided as it is for legislators to simply apply tobacco taxes to vaping, what Vermont is up too is even more destructive.
Their new legislation also made Vermont the latest state to raise their minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21, as well as placed further restrictions on online retailers shipping there. While there hasn’t been a lot of reporting on this insane new tax, vaping advocates are out in force spreading news of this misguided logic.
Research On Vaping
You don’t have to look very far to find arguments against vaping which center on their impact on teens. While protecting the youth is an incredibly important thing, it seems most legislators haven’t even looked at the peer-reviewed evidence.
Reports of over 60,000 teens by Action on Smoking and Health have concluded that less 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vape more than once or twice. This means that it couldn’t be any more than a small percentage of that 0.5% who are becoming smokers because of vaping.
We also have a ton of evidence proving the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping. For instance, a report out of the University of Louisville concluded vaping is not only a useful smoking cessation tool, but actually more likely to succeed than anything else, including prescription drugs.
As for harm reduction value, there’s probably more evidence supporting this value than anything else. Going back to 2015, we have reports from Public Health England, which conclude vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. These results have been backed up by more recent reports, including a study out of Roswell Park Institute which found the toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than in cigarette smoke.
This sort of misguided regulation is the kind of thing that should have all vapers angry. The more that legislators can equate vaping and smoking, the easier it will be for more to follow suit.
If we aren’t careful, we could soon wake up in a world in which the vaping industry is merely a shell of its former self. That’s why it’s vitally important that we spread positive information about vaping to those around us.
The best thing we can do is work to educate those around us to the biggest problems facing the vaping industry. The more people who understand why we must protect vaping, the more successful we will be at protecting our rights.
Should Vermont be able to tax vaping so heavily? What do you think is the most essential thing for vapers to do to protect their rights? How should we work to teach more people about the differences between vaping and smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.