“We’ve beat up on these people enough.”

| March 7, 2013

A law has been introduced into the Utah legislature that would tax electronic cigarette refills, according to a story by Rachel Lowry for the Deseret News.

Originally, the bill called for ‘e-cigarettes, candy-like dissolvable tobacco and other nicotine products to be defined and taxed as tobacco’.

Under the proposed law, such products would be required to be sold in locked cabinets and behind the counter. And people under the age of 19 years would be prohibited from entering tobacco shops.

The story did not rule out the inclusion of pharmaceutical products in the ‘other nicotine products’ category.

The House Health and Human Services Committee, to which the bill was presented, ultimately supported a watered-down version of the bill that would make only e-cigarette refills liable to tax.

“This tax rate is quite high,” said Aaron Frasier, the founder of Utah Vapors, a group selling e-cigarettes to help people gradually decrease their nicotine use. “This would tax all of our 15 retail shops out entirely, leading to a loss of revenue for the state, unemployment … and send people back to smoking [traditional] cigarettes.”

“Vaping has helped me quit smoking when nothing else would,” said Suzanne Anderson, an employee of one of the vendors. “Why put an 85 per cent tax increase on this?”

Republican Brian Greene, while agreeing with the underlying intent of the bill, called the proposed tax increase too harsh.

“I don’t think we need to pull this into the tax realm in order to enforce the prohibition against selling to minors,” he said. “We’ve beat up on these people enough.”

Greene proposed a substitute to the bill that took out all of the language that called for a tax on e-cigarettes and other products. The substitute did not pass.

Greene was one of two members of the committee to vote against the revised bill, which was forwarded to the full House with a favorable recommendation, 7-2.

However, there were only six days left in the legislative session in which to get the bill through the House and Senate.

Category: Breaking News

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