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Indiana – Stop a Vapor Tax (HB 1434)
02/04/21 – House Public Health Hearing (08:30 2/4/2021 Room 19)
– Cmte report: Amend, Do Pass – Referred to Ways and Means Cmte.
02/01/21 – (Rescheduled)Public Hearing, H. Cmte on Public Health, 8:30 AM (see “Hearing Details” for more info).
01/14/21 – Introduced and referred to H. Cmte on Public Health.
HB 1434 would impose an 8c/mL tax on e-liquid. This bill is referred to the Committee on Ways and means. No hearing is scheduled at this time
8c/mL might not sound like much, but when you add up the tax on a 30mL bottle of e-liquid, it adds an extra $2.40 per bottle. By comparison, even after this bill raises the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.00, the tax on a 30mL bottle of e-liquid will be higher.
While there is no “cigarette-to-vapor” equivalency between a 30mL bottle and a pack of smokes, 30mL is one of the most common sizes of product that people buy. Making the sticker shock worse is the fact that before taxes, 30mL of e-liquid typically costs $20.00. For someone just beginning their switch to a smoke-free product, the high initial cost of vaping is enough to keep cigarettes attractive on price.
A study on the vapor tax in Minnesota (enacted in 2010) found that it discouraged many people from switching. “Specifically, the 95 percent e-cig tax in Minnesota, the first such tax increase in the nation, led to a decrease in cigarette smoking cessation by about 1.14 percentage points — approximately a 5 percent increase in relative smoking participation. In fact, virtually all of the increase in current smoking prevalence in Minnesota is associated with the e-cig tax and the associated decrease in successful quits.“ (RealClearPolitics)
Indeed, anti-tobacco activists promote extra taxes on all nicotine and tobacco products as a way to discourage use. But while this may be appropriate for the most harmful products, there is no public health benefit from discouraging people from switching to safer alternatives.