New Bill Would Force Connecticut E-Cig Sellers to Pay Annual Fees
Lawmakers in Connecticut are mulling over a new bill that would force ecig shops to pay new fees in order to sell vaping products. Proposed House Bill 7059 would charge any ecig seller a one-time registration fee of $100 followed by a $500 fee each year to be licensed to sell electronic cigarettes.
Owners of convenience stores and vape shops are frustrated with the proposed changes because they say it will place an extra burden on their businesses. “By any reasonable measure, these proposed fees are extraordinarily high and would be a significant expense for many small businesses,” explained Steve Ryan, the executive director or the New England Convenience Store Association. “We believe that adding another large fee to small businesses is clearly the wrong direction for the state.”
Ryan pointed out that even grocery stores will have to pay extra fees to continue stocking electronic cigarettes, eating into their profits. Connecticut’s retailers already pay regulatory fees for many products including $60 for selling milk, $50 for selling frozen desserts, and $140 to sell over the counter medications.
Matt Durand, a lobbyist for Cumberland Farm convenience stores said the new ecig fees would drive some smaller stores to discontinue their ecig lines. Ultimately, he believes these fees will send more consumers to the Internet to buy vaping supplies, opening the door for more unregulated sales.
Surprisingly, the American Cancer Society even opposes the bill saying the fees are too small to be effective and would be impossible to enforce. Instead, they would like to see ecigs treated as tobacco products. “Where are you going to find money to enforce any of this given that the governor’s budget proposal calls for exactly zero dollars to spend on tobacco control for the next two years?” said spokesman Bryte Johnson.
The finance committee will make a final decision about the new ecig fees on Friday. Do you think ecig sellers should be forced to pay an annual fee? Is this just another money grabbing scheme from the government?