Earlier this year, the State of Pennsylvania was proposing a 40 percent cigarette tax and vaping tax and the ecig community did not take it lying down. Back in May, CASAA put out a call to action. The vaping community rallied en masse with a demonstration in Harrisburg at the Capitol that worked.
At the end of July, the 40% tax on cigarettes wen into effect. The 40% tax on vaping was slated to begin October 1.
There were about 400 vape shops in Pennsylvania at the time the state passed the 40% tax increase proposal as part of the state budget. That was easier this summer. Since that time 50 vape shops have closed their doors. As of September this year, the full force of the tax increase was about to go into effect.
There was a chance to salvage the situation. Rep. Jeff Wheeland sponsored House Bill 2342 which called for a change to the proposed 40% vaping product tax. Rep. Wheeland designed a compromise of a 5 cent tax for every ml of e-liquid sold. Thanks to the advocacy of the vaping community expressing their views to their representatives, House Bill gained serious momentum and picked up 60 co-sponsors!
On the evening before the committee was to vote on HB 2342, a massive demonstration took place in the Harrisburg Rotunda where vapers gathered and made sure that their voices were heard. The3y came with signs, with chants and with numbers. The next day, HB 2342 passed the committee vote 18 – 4!
Congrats to everyone involved for showing up and making a difference.
A Win For vaping
On September 27 it was announced that the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed a compromise bill that reduced the proposed tax to a compromise of a 5 cents per millimeter tax on e-liquid. That translates to a buck fifty of a 30 ml bottle of e-juice. Still steep but certainly not as bad as a 40% tax on all vapor products. If your average 30 ml bottle sells for $20, then this represents about a 7.5% tax on vape juice. I think we can live with that. It is not that the vaping community is anti-tax, it is just that we demand fairness. Don’t treat us like tobacco out of ignorance. On top of that, the business of vapor is creating jobs, creating new entrepreneurs.
The fight for your right to vape is far from over. Nationwide the industry faces a very uncertain future. Much worse, the fates of smokers face an uncertain future. The bottom line is that for those of us who believe in the right to be smoke free, this is going to require involvement. It can be done. The vaping community in Pennsylvania has proven that.
Federally, HR 2058 is a bill that deserves a vote and deserves support. Call your member of Congress and ask them to support HR 2058. This will be a step toward protecting the rights of smokers to have access to options that just may change their lives.
By the way, Halo Cigs and parent Nicopure were the first to jump in the ring and take on the FDA overreach into your right of choice to access smoking alternatives. Check them out and you you buy anything, know that you are supporting a company that not only makes amazing vape juice, but you will be supporting a company heavily involved in the fight.