LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call vaping an epidemic among teens. The Surgeon General is warning parents not to allow kids to use e-cigarettes, and now Kentucky health groups want to put a special tax on them, to try to prevent a greater widespread use. However, those in the E-cigarette industry say an added tax will really hurt people who turn to vaping to transition from smoking actual cigarettes.
- Health groups in Kentucky want an excise tax of 15% added to E-cigarettes, in attempt to curb teen vaping.
- The CDC calls teen vaping an epidemic, and urges parents not to allow kids to vape. They say more scientific research is needed on the health effects, but enough is known to conclude it's harmful to youth.
- Those in the vaping industry fear a new tax on vaping would really be hurtful to the people who use it to stop smoking.
Derb E-Cigs owner Troy LeBlanc says vaping is really a transitional tool to get people off tobacco and nicotine, completely. That's his argument against any new added 15-percent excise tax on the "tools," like the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is pushing.
"To take something that has helped so many people and continues to help people not only quit but quit nicotine completely, and then put so many limitations on it is difficult," LeBlanc says.
According to the C-D-C, scientists are still learning more on the health effects of vaping. But they claim there's enough known to urge parents to stop teens from using them.
"With E cigarettes, what we had is a promise of something that could reduce harm and maybe even help adult smokers quit. We have a reality of an epidemic level of youth use of a product that is chock-full of nicotine and very dangerous for their developing brains," the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's Bonnie Hackbarth says. "Making the price of tobacco products higher, is proven over and over again to reduce consumption."
Hackbarth is one who lobbied lawmakers successfully to increase the excise tax on cigarettes, last year, to $1.10 per 20-pack. While some states have implemented a similar tax on E-cigarettes, LeBlanc says recovering addicts will be the ones to pay the real price. He is adamant, his stores do not sell to anyone under 18.
"Putting a tax on these is the same as putting a tax on the nicotine gum and the lozenges and the patches, you know. You're basically making it more difficult for people to quit smoking," he says.