Ohio’s 69% Vaping Tax Fails as the Fight for Fairness Grows
Today, bullies hide behind government offices and use exorbitant taxes or regulations to unfairly treat those who vape in the US. These bullies are government elected officials from local and state levels who take advantage that currently, no federal excise tax exists on vaping products. Whether for money or morality, there is no excuse for the sin tax nor the unjust stigma towards those who vape instead of smoking cigarettes.
Why are we at the juncture? One cause is the lack of federal excise tax. This creates a situation where taxation methods vary greatly across states and localities. Some cities choose to regulate access to products such as flavors, while others choose to regulate concentrations. States like Ohio tried to implement excessive and outrageous taxes on vaping products to discourage its use while making profits at the same time.
Another reason is that science and research are being ignored for others to push personal agendas. Misinformation is being treated as fact. Even agencies that are under oath to be fair and balanced choose to put self-interest or beliefs ahead of truths. The FDA is struggling to have a consistent stance on Vaping products, while in Europe there seems to be a more coherent approach.
What quickly becomes apparent in the US is the lack of rhyme or reason of regulation and taxes charged to the vaping consumers. Many lawmakers see vaping as another source of tax income, similar to cigarettes and alcohol. Others choose to ignore scientific studies that show vaping helps people stop smoking cigarettes. The situation is reaching absurdity. Until now there have been few victories for the vaping community.
Voters are getting fed up and are starting to see how irrational and ill-informed some policymakers are, not to mention the horrible outcomes they have caused. The regulations on vaping will impact lives and freedoms of others. Careless policies have caused shops to close and people to lose jobs. Those who have medical needs to quit smoking may struggle to get vaping supplies and often go back to smoking.
Yet, there is hope that common sense will prevail. After nearly 6 months of bullying, the vaping community has been given an important victory to celebrate in Ohio. More importantly, it starts the return swing of the pendulum back to fair and balanced treatment for vapors. So what has happened in Ohio this last week and what does it mean?
On July 3 the 69% vaping tax as part Gov. Kasich’s budget was defeated and he is left looking foolish for not listening to his constituents. First, he tried to sneak it in the state’s operating budget under the public radar. Second, it was so badly written that the enforcement would have been an administrative nightmare, if not impossible. He is a Republican Governor and is facing criticism from his own party over this exuberant sneaky tax hikes when he promised fewer taxes.
What is encouraging is that citizens spoke out with a firm rejection of meddling into personal choices with sin taxes. This was due to the efforts of the Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA). The group awoke the Ohio vaping community and focused them on relentless email, phone, and letter-writing campaigns. This played a significant role in the proposed legislation’s downfall. It should serve as a model for other states facing similar struggles. The importance of having an organized local opposition group can be seen in how OHVTA was successful in defeating this tax.
This victory comes at a critical time. The Recent banning of flavored vaping products being sold within the city of San Francisco City has many speaking out in opposition to this new law across that nation. It wasn’t made to help its citizens but to actually cause more strife. First it will drive businesses out of the city and second, it goes against science and sound logic.
One can simply drive to a neighboring community for the banned product which moves business and money outside the city. Stores that currently sell these products now will be prohibited from doing so while a store 10 miles away can. This seems unfair and discriminatory against small businesses who can’t absorb losses as easily as bigger chains can.
It also creates a black market and does the exact opposite of what the city intended; provides easier access for underage smokers. With retailers checking ID’s, those underage couldn’t buy vaping products. The underground markets will make underage access easier as they spring up in response to the restrictions. If teenagers want access to forbidden products they usually obtain it from family or friends. At least with local retailers, the need for a black market was almost eliminated, now they will have plenty of customers waiting to buy.
The science community spoke out too in criticism of this unfair regulation that would encourage those who vape to return to cigarette smoking. Multiple studies have shown those who vape have a higher success rate than those who do not at quitting smoking. Public health experts have been pointing that scientific evidence that shows that banning flavors will have a detrimental effect on adult smokers who are using flavored vaping products to quit.
Those board who voted in San Francisco went against what the public wanted and against sound science. Just like the Ohio Governor who wanted to add a 69% tax. He ignored the benefits of vaping for those trying to quit smoking. He also ignored the complexity of enforcement and the will of his voters.
Moral absurdity on the local level will be subject to backlash once more vapors and supporters are fed up to the point of taking action. With officials using restrictive measures and unfair taxes, we the general public should be very concerned. Pay close attention to what might these groups go after next that is self-serving or based on misinformation.
Enough is enough, morality bullies need to stay out of regulation power and sound science needs to prevail. The tide is starting to change and those who are being bullied are pushing back. There has been enough regulatory and taxes pushed on vaping. It is time to not be treated as cigarettes but as a healthier alternative.
It is time for people in each state to help organize effective pro-vaping campaigns and push for fair treatment. Excessive taxation and regulation based out of fear and lies must end. Find a way to get involved locally and make sure your rights don’t get taken away.