Kentucky considering introducing a tax on e-cigarettes

There is a lot of conjecture surrounding the health side-effects of vaping compared to conventional smoking. While some health scientists believe that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, others believe that the behaviour is just as bad and damaging as cigarettes. At the end of the day, there is no right answer. Naturally, this has complicated how relevant governments and institutions should react to or legislate the process.

What’s happening in Kentucky?

There is a push in the US state of Kentucky to introduce a tax on the sale and consumption of e-cigarettes. One of the big reasons for this legislative push is the popular trend of vaping occurring in young Americans, especially teenagers and young, pregnant women. Lawmakers are hoping that the tax will deter youths from purchasing the cigarettes, and in effect, price them out of the market.

According to a recent health report, vaping numbers have almost doubled among middle schools and high schools in Kentucky. Kentucky’s public health commissioner, Dr. Jeff Howard, who spoke publicly in support of the bill, suggested that the vaping trend is ‘an epidemic here at home, here in Kentucky and we have to do something about it.’

When would the bill come into effect?

If the bill is successfully passed, it would come into effect July 31, 2020. Moreover, it is forecasted that the bill could raise in excess of $35 million US per year in new tax revenue. All e-cigarettes sold in Kentucky would include an excise tax of approximately 27.5% of the wholesale price, which equates to around $1.10 per packet purchased.

Surprisingly, e-cigarettes are one of the only tobacco products available in Kentucky that are not included in the state’s excise tax laws. The projected amendments will also include other tobacco products, like chewing tobacco, which also aren’t included in the current framework.

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