Cuomo proposes tax on e-cigarette products

January 19, 2017 05:15 PM

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to tax all vapor products. Cuomo says using products like these has become more popular among high school students, making it a public health concern.

Leonard Stebbins owns Dewey Avenue Smoke Shop. He's concerned about Governor Cuomo's proposal to tax liquids used in e-cigarettes.

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“If the tax becomes very excessive we're going to lose customers to the internet and to other states,” says Stebbins. “Businesses that manufacture these products will probably move out.”

If Cuomo has his way, liquids used for vaping will be taxed 10-cents-per-milliliter. It will apply to all vapor products, whether they have nicotine or not. Right now a 30ml bottle costs about $20. If the governor's proposed tax rate is imposed, a bottle will cost about $3 more.

“That’s where I think that's a big mistake. I don’t think the zero nicotine should be taxed at all,” says Stebbins. “I think it should be taxed at the milligram of nicotine, not the size of the bottle.”

The possible price increase also concerns regular vapers like Alex Burlee. “The nicotine kind of controlled our lives when my friends and I when we were smoking as much as we were,” says Burlee. “When we were able to switch to vaping and quit the cigarettes, we were able to drop down slowly and slowly.”

Governor Cuomo says this move is all about protecting you. Health experts say studies have shown that vaping can damage your tissues and lungs. “We have found that vapor has six times as much copper as traditional tobacco smoke,” says Scott McIntosh, URMC Associate Professor in Public Health Science. 

McIntosh says second hand smoke from vapers also has toxins that can harm others who do not vape. “The governor's new budget proposal being is good news for public health.”

If state lawmakers approve this proposal, it would take effect 180 days after the budget is passed.


Nina Porciuncula

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