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Utah to start taxing electronic cigarettes-Same as regular cigarettes

  1. MoreGutzThanGlory
    "Basically the state of Utah is tired of waiting for the FDA to do something about this, so they figured, "Hey, let's just start taxing shit that people use everyday". How do you put a tobacco tax on a product that doesn't contain any tobacco? Read the story below."
    SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal in the Utah Legislature that would tax electronic cigarettes at the same rate as regular cigarettes has put the state at the forefront of a national movement to regulate the increasingly popular devices.
    More than 35 proposals calling for some type of regulation of electronic cigarettes have been introduced this year in legislatures across the country, but Utah seems to be the only state currently proposing that they be taxed like regular tobacco, said Karmen Hanson, a tobacco policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hanson is unaware of any state with a law like this on the books.

    Often called "e-cigarettes," the battery-powered devices heat a liquid nicotine solution and create vapor that users inhale. Their popularity has spiked in recent years.

    First marketed overseas in 2002, e-cigarettes first became widely available in U.S. in 2006. There are several million users worldwide today, up from a few thousand in 2006. Analysts estimate sales could double to $1 billion in 2013.

    Some companies have even started running TV commercials, including an ad during this year's Super Bowl that showed a man using an electronic cigarette made by an Arizona-based company. Many states have been waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to come out with regulation before passing their own laws, but states seem to be growing impatient, Hanson said. "The more popular they become, a more prominent public policy issue they become," Hanson said. "Without federal regulation, it's left up to the states." The Food and Drug Administration's current stance is that health impact of electronic cigarettes is unknown because it has not been properly studied. There is speculation that the agency will take over regulatory authority of the devices this year, dealing with them in a similar way as they do with regular cigarettes and other tobacco products. The Utah measure's sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Ray, says e-cigarettes should not be considered healthy. "They're trying to sell them as nicotine replacement therapy. It is not," Ray said this week. "It is not an FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy. There's medications, there's patches, there's things for that. This is not one of them." Ray considers electronic cigarettes similar to other tobacco products and says they should be taxed as such. His measure extends to dissolvable tobacco, which is pressed into shapes like tablets that slowly melt in a user's mouth. "This is terrible stuff. They're peddling stuff that they know absolutely will kill people," Ray said. "This is an industry who kills their clientele." Utah law already prohibits anyone younger than 19 from possessing the products or anyone from selling the products to someone younger than 19, but because of a loophole, county and city agencies are not able to impose fines or penalties on those selling e-cigarettes or dissolvable tobacco products to anyone underage. The electronic cigarettes would be taxed at 86 percent, Ray said. That's the same as Utah's rate on cigars, roll-your-own tobacco or pipe tobacco. On cigarettes, the state tax is generally a flat $1.70 for a pack of 20 smokes. It usually costs about $50 to buy the equipment to get started using electronic cigarettes, said Brandon Stauffer, who has used the devices to quit smoking. After that, the main cost is buying the "e-juice," which is a nicotine-laced liquid that becomes the vapor when heated. A 30-milliliter dose usually costs $15-$20 and lasts about two weeks, Stauffer said. So, under Ray's proposal, a $20 batch of liquid nicotine would cost about $37.20. Currently, people only pay regular sales tax on electronic cigarette items. A legislative analysis shows the state could see an additional $1.6 million a year if the e-cigarette tax becomes law.

    It's unclear how far the measure will get in this year's legislative session, which comes to a close Thursday. An amended version of the bill passed through a House committee Wednesday afternoon. It is now awaiting debate by the full House. If approved, it moves to the Senate for consideration.

    Electronic cigarettes are touted as a way to break an addiction to traditional cigarettes. Stauffer, 38, of West Point, Utah, is among the believers. He credits the devices with helping him quit smoking after 20 years. He had tried quitting a dozen different times using nicotine patches, gum and lozenges.

    "Quitting smoking has never been easier. I quit almost overnight," said Stauffer. "Cigarettes taste horrible to me now. And, I'm doing much less harm to my body by doing this."

    Since he started using electronic cigarettes in late 2011, Stauffer has gradually been cutting back on the amount of liquid nicotine in the devices. He's hoping to be able to stop using them all together within a year.

    "Vilifying these products is the wrong approach," Stauffer said. "If the state and this country is serious about helping us make healthy choices then this is something that should be encouraged."



  1. CannabisBenzoBuddie
    All i can say is this is becoming a disturbing trend in the news hearing about proposals to tax e-cigs like tobacco, is anything shy of RIDICULOUS imho..

    These things have saved countless lifes, and as much as i think smokings stupid i do it my self, Id rather see a kid pick up an e-cig then a real ciggie ..

    With that said perhaps a sin tax would help discourage some youths but its just going to punish end users.. small business owners who sell online will be forced into tax collecting or shut down...

    If they collect the taxes then end user suffers. And whats next the attack on the flavor industry for targeting kids with there tasty treat flavors ?

    Im 33 and i vape Redbull, Sweet Tart, Cheese cake, Ect ect ect....
  2. Jessa1155
    When I found out about this I went ahead and stocked up. I have gallons of nicotine mixed with PG in my deep freezer...the extracts added for flavorings cannot be banned or excessively regulated because it's not a product made exclusively for Ecig use. I'm not sure about the devices themselves... I hope they don't shoot up in price or become harder to buy. But it sounds likely that cold be the case.

    E-cigarettes saved or at least prolonged my mother's life.. she had been a hardcore 2 pack a day smoker for 45 years. I've seen her go nuts trying to quit dozens of times. About a year and a half ago I bought her a simple Ego Twist kit with a small variety of flavors and she was so satisfied she never smoked again. My sister was 2 weeks pregnant when I gifted her with her first kit... she vapid at between 0-6mg nicotine the entire pregnancy (a level the doc said was low enough not to effect the baby). She's never smoked tobacco again. I've probably given kits to friends at Christmas and birthdays and just random "I love you" gifts dozens of times now. I've only had one person fail at converting and she was just hell-bent on remaining a smoker I guess.. she barely even tried it.

    I've been vaping for over 3 years now and I can't say enough good things about these devices. Sure, there are some cheap gas station quality ecigs and some juices out there less safe than others (artificial flavors and a couple of food grade additives that are *slightly* unhealthy)...but as time has passed the devices have become quite dependable and safe. I make all my own juice, so I'm using natural flavor extracts and ingredients.

    A read a recent article about banning ecigs in LA and the misinformation within that article was embarrassing. They took evidence done from rigged studies, paid for by the tobacco lobby, and presented them as facts. They used old Chinese devices still in the development phase and found these devices leaked small amounts of heavy metals into the vapor. You won't find devices like that around for sale anymore, but it was provocative enough that the facts got over-shadowed by that propaganda bombshell. This was the sort of "fact-finding" that leads to these bans. And you KNOW the tobacco industry wants to protect thier investment by keeping as many people hooked to their deadly poisons as possible. Out of the 50+ known and unknown chemicals in cigarettes, nicotine is one of the most benign.
    My mother's health improvements are all the proof I need. She no longer suffers from constant sinus infections, ear infections or the constant chest congestion she had became used to enduring. She can climb many flights of stairs without getting winded. I believe if it were not for the electronic cigarette, she and I both would have been smokers for the rest our lives. Very possibly dying a painful, perhaps horrific death. But more important than that, I am not killing the people around me anymore. I have seen 100’s of people in my own community switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes with the same results.

    As to the idea that they are marketed to kids because of the colors and flavors and only kids would want that, I would direct you to the alcohol isle at most super markets where you can purchase birthday cake vodka. Then there are the flavored coffee creamers like White Chocolate Raspberry, and even Girl Scout Cookie. Adults like flavors and colors. Are Coffee Mate and International Delight marketing to kids? I doubt it. My 5 year old has NEVER tried to pick up one of my devices. She's been educated about it.. but she never showed much interest.

    The effects of nicotine itself are similar to that other popular drug, caffeine. There is no evidence that nicotine causes any substantial risk for cancer, and the research shows that the risk for cardiovascular disease is minimal. The confusion about nicotine arises from anti-ecig activists talking about nicotine and smoking as if they were the same. Smoke and vapor are not the same thing.. you would think that would be obvious. While it is true that people smoke mostly because of nicotine; nicotine users die mostly because of the smoke. While I started at 24mgs, I now either vape at 0 nicotine or 6 mgs... for me it has mostly become a habit of compulsion and a hobby. I collect devices and and consider myself an amateur e-juice mixologist:) I'm not hurting anyone.. if anything I'm prolonging my life and trying to help other people I care about do the same. If you are an ecig user, mixing your own juice is fairly simple and you can save a lot of money mixing your own. You also have total control regarding what goes into your body:) Stock up! If a ban or heavy tax ever comes along on nicotine you'll at least be prepared. RTS Vapes sells a high quality nicotine mixed in VG in a wide variety of sizes.
    This has nothing to do with government agencies wanting to protect citizens and has everything to do with keeping the money rolling towards the real death-dealers~ tobacco companies.
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