Leadership in the state of Washington are pushing for a bill that would make it among the most uninviting states in the US for vapers. Along with rules to ban vaping in all places where smoking too is prohibited, the bill would tax all electronic cigarettes and vaping products at a rate of 95%. Unfortunately, this kind of plan is more difficult to fight than bills that simply qualify e-cigs as tobacco products for the purposes of bans and taxes.
State leadership are arguing primarily that a bill such as this is necessary because people, particularly teenagers, are being misled into believing these items are safe. I, for one, don’t see many legitimate companies arguing that their products are safe. Though I do agree that some members of the public are ill-informed on vaping.
Presumably, simply having a bill that bans use and taxes them conveys knowledge about the products to citizens. This still raises the question as to whether an ignorant public justifies legislation against a product. Q-tips, for instance, advise that an individual not put them in their ear. But most people used them for exactly that. Should we have a law that bans their use in certain settings and taxes them at an outrageous amount because of this?
The bill has yet to pass Washington’s House, though it seems to have the momentum necessary to do so. If that happens, it might have more difficulty getting passed in the Republican-led state Senate. That’s because, in general, Democrats are pushing for legislation like this while Republicans are pushing against it.
You can read more about the bill right here.
Like many other bills pushed to tax e-cigs and vapor products, this seems likely designed to make money first and protect the public second. Based on studies and evidence thus far, it actually seems likely that a tax like this will cause more harm rather than less — as vapers return to smoking or smokers that might of switch still with the far more deadly tobacco cigarettes.