WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, reacted to a budget proposal by Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) to impose a brand new tax on nicotine and nicotine-free vapor products at the exorbitant rate of 95% of sales price.
Gov. Inslee also proposes increasing Washington’s excise tax on traditional cigarettes by 50 cents a pack to $3.52, which would make Washington’s cigarette tax the highest in the nation (behind New York’s $4.35 a pack).
The Governor’s office projects $18 million in revenue from the vapor product tax and $38 million from the cigarette tax increase.
In the two states that do currently tax vapor products — North Carolina and Minnesota — only nicotine-containing products are taxed. In addition to taxing products containing nicotine, Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal would also nearly double the price of nicotine-free liquids and devices (which can be priced at well over $200).
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement:
“Gov. Inslee’s message to smokers is clear: please, don’t quit. The government needs your money.
“Gov. Inslee appears to be proposing this excessive tax to prevent even more Washington smokers from switching to vaping. His budget plan would tax most vapor stores out of business, while seizing half of the revenue from the few businesses that remain. Meanwhile, consumers will flock to the Internet to purchase tax-free vapor products from companies located in other states. The net effect could actually be a decline in tax revenue due to the devastating loss of Washington-based small businesses and jobs.
“Washington has made laudable achievements in reducing its smoking rate, but there are still over 850,000 Washington adults smoking. By doubling the price of innovative technology products like e-cigarettes, Gov. Inslee will be doing great harm to smokers looking to quit. Several recent studies have demonstrated that vapor products are twice or more effective at helping smokers quit than pharmaceutical nicotine products.
“If long-term fiscal solvency is a goal of the Inslee administration, reducing the $651 million in costs Washington taxpayers incur due to smoking-related illnesses should be a top priority. Taxing products that help smokers quit is the wrong route to take.”
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.