The American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, is calling on ex-smokers, business owners, and public health advocates in Chicago to oppose Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed tax on vapor products.
Set to be released today, the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Emanuel’s budget includes new taxes on vapor products of $1.25 per bottle of e-cigarette liquid (‘e-liquid’), plus 25 cents per milliliter of e-liquid.
Today, Chicago smokers and vapers can shop at over 20 exclusive vapor product retailers within the city. These stores generally sell 30-milliliter bottles of nicotine-containing fluid (‘e-liquid’) for between $12-$22, plus local and state sales taxes. Under Mayor Emanuel’s plan, these bottles would be taxed at an additional $8.75.
“Mayor Emanuel’s new vapor product tax is designed to protect the tens of millions of dollars Chicago collects every year from its cigarette tax. This tax is not about protecting health or youth; it’s about discouraging adult smokers from using these products to quit,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association.
Those pushing the tax, which is estimated to raise $1 million, swear that that the revenue implications are not their primary concern. Last week, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st), who first floated the tax, told the Chicago Tribune that the tax was about protecting youth.
“If a politician tells you a new tax isn’t about revenue, you can be sure that it is about revenue,” responded Conley.
“Real public health advocates should see through these desperate claims and oppose this tax,” added Conley. “Every year, only around 3% of smokers who try to quit will succeed. We need new and innovative options for the other 97%, not prohibitive taxes that encourage smokers to keep smoking.”