Washington Governor Pushes For 95% Sin Tax on E-Cigarettes
Washington might have legalized marijuana, but the state lawmakers aren’t in any hurry to accept electronic cigarettes. As strange as it might seem, Governor Jay Inslee is apparently less concerned about legal weed than e-cigarettes. Now he is pushing hard for a new sin tax of 95 percent on all vaping products. Washington has some of the highest sin taxes on tobacco products in the nation, but that still doesn’t justify such a massive tax on ecigs. After all, ecigs are completely tobacco-free.
Kim Thompson owns the Vaporium in Pierce County, Washington and she was frustrated to hear that Inslee is targeting vapers. “There’s no tobacco in our product. There’s no combustion created in our product,” she explained. “A 95 percent tax would do a few different things. One, it would demonize a product, make it look as though it was as bad as smoking. The other thing is that it would make vaping and traditional cigarettes more similar in pricing. It would give us less incentive to the smoker to say, hey, give this a try.”
It seems that Inslee is mostly interested in making some money for his state. If his plan is successful, he could raise an additional $18 million in new tax revenue. However, the sudden increase in ecig prices could drastically shrink profits for a lot of small businesses forcing them to shut the doors. This would be disastrous as it could potentially lead a lot of former smokers right back to tobacco. “Taxing small businesses out of business is bad business,” Thompson said. “I would be no longer able to afford to pay my employees to continue to help people to quit smoking.”
Despite a lot of frustration from Washington vape shops and ecig users, Inslee isn’t slowing down. He already has the full support of Democrat Representative Reuven Carlyle, who tried to pass a similar proposal last year that got voted down. Carlyle said that it’s not a matter of punishing ecigs, but to level the playing the field. “It is just a fairness issue. It’s a parity issue. No one is looking to single out vaping, we are just looking to bring it to the same level of taxation of other similar products,” he explained.
You can let Governor Inslee know how you feel about his new sin tax on ecigs by contacting his office at 360-902-4111. Make your voice heard today and let’s stop this ridiculous attack on electronic cigarettes.