Lawmakers in the city of Anchorage, Alaska, in the United States, have reportedly moved toward including vapor products and electronic cigarettes into the city’s tobacco tax.
The Anchorage Assembly, the legislature for the city, approved a municipal ordinance to include vapes and e-cigarettes in the tobacco tax that’s currently on the books.
These products will then be taxed at a rate of 55 percent of the wholesale price. Liquids and cartridges are also covered in the tax, per this new law.
The ordinance passed unanimously, 10 votes to zero.
An amendment to the ordinance was passed by the assembly, too. This measure excludes vaping devices that are sold by marijuana dispensaries and marijuana liquids and oils from the tobacco tax.
This is an obvious move given the chemical and biological complexities between nicotine and marijuana containing vaping products.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize that e-cigarettes are considerably less harmful to cigarettes, the federal agency still considers them not safe.
Tobacco control groups in the state believe that the assembly’s move is a positive move on the front line of public health policy at the local level.
“Now e-cigarettes are addicting a new generation of youth, threatening all of that progress,” said Marge Stoneking, the executive director of the Alaska chapter of the American Lung Association, in a statement to local media.
“Significantly increasing taxes on tobacco products results in fewer kids starting to smoke and more adults quitting while at the same time providing revenue to the municipality,” Stoneking adds.
Vaping firms that operate in Anchorage are fed up with the implementation of the tax changes. For instance, Fatboy Vapors is one firm to raise concerns on the tax policy.
Fatboy is a chain of vape shops in Alaska, Washington state, and Oregon that sells private label e-liquid lines like River Reserve and Suicide Bunny.
“Imposing this tax on something that is actually helping people get away from combustible cigarettes and actually costing the state and local resources less money seems a little problematic,” said Shaun D’Sylva, a co-owner of the Fatboy Vapors location in Midtown Anchorage, via reporting by Alaska Public Media.