It is not unusual for lawmakers to keep an eye on tobacco and vaping products, and find all the loopholes to strictly regulate or ban them. While tobacco products must be banned, vaping products as an alternative to the former should not be banned without a critical reason. However, this may happen soon in California.
California, The United States of America, May 15, 2020:
California: Recently, the California Senate Health Committee passed a bill that will impose a ban on selling not only tobacco but also vaping products having flavors except for tobacco. It will also prohibit the retailing of flavor enhancers that may refer to any flavoring agent traded with the purpose of altering unflavored nicotine. This is the SB 793 bill that will forbid Do It Yourself (DIY) mixes.
With eight members in favor and only one member being against it, the bill got a green signal by the committee. It will now go for further approval to the Appropriations Committee. From here, it will go to one more committee hearing after appropriations but prior to full-senate voting.
It is foreseen that a companion bill in the state assembly shall soon start moving for approval. If these two bills pass, the conclusive version shall be given for signature to the governor. For vaping fans, the good news is that Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has intruded on time.
It has released a digital campaign page for the people of California to exhibit written opposition to the SB 793 bill by sending one pre-written message to the Committee’s Secretary and another to the State Senator. It aims to inform the elected officials that citizens are in the favor of flavor ban.
Most vaping supporters thought that California was the first state to pass a bill prohibiting flavored vaping products. Well, this is not true, as many Eastern states have already imposed such bans bypassing the necessary bills on the grounds of fear for lung injury called EVALI that vaping may cause. EVALI stands for E-cigarette or Vaping product use-Associated Lung Injury.
Although there are no statewide bans, nations and towns around the state have already put their flavor ban bills in action. A few cities such as San Francisco have prohibited unflavored as well as flavored vaping products. Even in Oakland, the majority of the council officials voted in favor of removing the exemption of allowing vendors to sell flavored products.
Okay, this is not all for the vapers of California to know. Well, even vape tax is in the queue to hit the market as well as their wallets. Apart from the suggested flavor ban, vapers would be facing the burden of paying more vape tax, as discussed in the recent legislative session.
As per the proposed budget by Gavin Newson who is the Governor of California Governor, the suggested tax surge is by $2 per 40 mg of nicotine. If this is approved by the administration, vapers have to start paying that additional tax amount from the first day of 2021.
So, vapers will pay $9 more for buying a 60 mL bottle having 6mg/mL of e-liquid, $18.75 more for a 30 mL bottle having 25 mg/mL of vape juice, and a whopping $2,500 to the price of a liter bottle having 100 mg/mL of DIY nicotine.
The state already has a wholesale vape tax of 59.27%, which adds substantial pay amount to the selling price of all e-liquids. Now, considering the proposed nicotine tax, smokers who want to try vaping will have a hard time thinking of whether saving money will be possible or not.
Although designed to keep children and teens away from purchasing vaping products, the governor’s tax is likely to force many adults to go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes. As the new tax increases the price of vaping products having high amounts of nicotine, vapers will be motivated to buy larger quantities of e-liquids having low amounts of nicotine.
According to vaping experts:
“Vaping harms are not attributed to consuming more nicotine but to vaping more e-juice flavors and carrier liquids. Thus, the new tax system will increase the health risk for vapers instead of diminishing the potential dangers of vaping.”
Now, this is surprising, as Newsom is admired for his efforts to stop the ill-effects of cannabis prohibition. He was the one who supported sectioning the use of recreational cannabis in 2016 in the state to show that a regulated, legal market shall keep youth away from the cannabis.
However, to the new tax proposal, Newson believes
“Setting $7 million aside through this proposal for the California Highway Patrol will form a task force for fighting the underground market for vaping products.”