CHICAGO, IL – The American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, is calling on ex-smokers, business owners, and public health advocates in Chicago to oppose Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed tax on vapor products. Set to be released today, the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Emanuel’s budget includes new taxes on vapor products of $1.25 per bottle of e-cigarette liquid (‘e-liquid’), plus 25 cents per milliliter of e-liquid.
Today, Chicago smokers and vapers can shop at over twenty exclusive vapor product retailers within the city. These stores generally sell 30 milliliter bottles of nicotine-containing fluid (‘e-liquid’) for between $12 and $22, plus local and state sales taxes. Under Mayor Emanuel’s plan, these bottles would be taxed at an additional $8.75.
“Mayor Emanuel’s new vapor product tax is designed to protect the tens of millions of dollars Chicago collects every year from its cigarette tax. this tax is not about protecting health or youth; it’s about discouraging adult smokers from using these products to quit,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association.
Those pushing the tax, which is estimated to raise $1 million, swear that that the revenue implications are not their primary concern. Last week, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st), who first floated the tax, told the Tribune that the tax was about protecting youth.
“If a politician tells you a new tax isn’t about revenue, you can be sure that it is about revenue,” responded Conley.
“Real public health advocates should see through these desperate claims and oppose this tax,” added Conley. “Every year, only around 3% of smokers who try to quit will succeed. We need new and innovative options for the other 97%, not prohibitive taxes that encourage smokers to keep smoking.”
Small businesses are sure to suffer under Mayor Emanuel’s new tax. Yesterday, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported that at least two D.C. vape shops are preparing to close their doors in response to a new e-cigarette tax that takes effect October 1st.
“In addition to threatening the lives of adults smokers, this tax also puts twenty-plus vapor product retailers Chicago at risk of shutting down,” says Conley. “This new tax will chase consumers out of the city, including to online retailers. Chicago will left with lost jobs, empty storefronts, and more deadly tobacco smoking than there would have been in the absence of the tax.”
In August, Dr. Kenneth Warner and Dr. Frank Chaloupka — two of the most respected and prominent economists in tobacco control for over 20 years — advocated in the New England Journal of Medicine for cigarettes to be taxed at a far higher rate than low-risk, smoke-free products like e-cigarettes. “Failure to seriously entertain a differential taxation approach may contribute to the prolongation of the epidemic of disease and death caused by smoking,” wrote the authors.
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.