House Bill 372 categorizes E-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco for the purpose of taxation. While I applaud efforts to control the distribution of addictive substances, like nicotine, through age and vendor restrictions, taxing E-cigarettes proportionally to conventional cigarettes for the sake of limiting distribution to children is, in itself, flawed logic; and there are numerous other flaws with this proposal.
HB 372 defines the target products as those that contain nicotine but “are not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as an aid in quitting the use of tobacco or nicotine.” This definition certainly takes the guesswork out of legislation proposed by people who don’t understand such products but assesses a tax on items that are not in the same class of cancer producers as tobacco products.
HB 372’s flawed logic is evident with nicotine gum, which would be exempt from taxation because it has been recognized by the FDA even though it can be used in the same manner as nicotine vapor and candy. The bill’s research and credibility are in question by citing the FDA as categorizing E-cigarettes when they haven’t been fully studied by the administration. One can’t say they aren’t an aid in quitting tobacco any more than one can say they are.
For the sake of political sanity, please write your state elected official and ask him or her to vote down HB 372. E-cigarettes are not a tobacco product like conventional tobacco products, and they shouldn’t be categorized as such for the sake of imposing a punishing tax against those that are seeking a healthier alternative. I thought the original intent of a tobacco sin tax was to recoup the medical costs of treating cancer.