Live in the Green Mountain State? Hitting the Juul is going to cost you.
A hefty 92% tax on e-cigarettes will go into effect in Vermont on Monday, as Vermont joins a handful of other states and cities cracking down on e-cigarette usage, especially among teens.
In fall 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration deemed youth e-cigarette usage an epidemic.
“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous ‒ and dangerous ‒ trend among teens,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in September 2018. ” The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.”
State Rep. George Till said smoking is huge problem in Vermont. He is the primary sponsor of the tax increase bill and a licensed physician who said he’s been “fighting the tobacco war for years.”
According to Till, teen tobacco usage in Vermont is higher than the national average. He hopes the tax increase will work to lower that rate.
“Youth are particularly sensitive to price and the goal here is to keep the kids from getting addicted,” Till told CNN on Friday. “The younger you start, the more likely you are to get addicted.”
The Vermont state legislature passed the bill back in February, expanding the tax on “all other tobacco products.” The tax will now effect any devices used for smoking or chewing tobacco, primarily e-cigarettes, and any products sold as tobacco substitutes.
This new tax will not effect cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco.
Prior to the passage of this tax bill, e-cigarettes were only subject to the state’s standard sales tax of 6%. This made e-cigarettes a cheaper option than traditional cigarettes, Till said.
Vermont passed two additional bills in February also aiming to curb e-cigarette usage. One restricts the retail and internet sales of e-cigarettes and the other increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. Both these acts go into effect on Monday as well.
On the other side of the country, San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted to effectively ban all e-cigarette sales in the city earlier this week.
The ordinance says “no person shall sell or distribute an electronic cigarette to a person in San Francisco” unless that product has undergone premarket review by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Till is also greatly concerned by the lack of research that exists on the health impacts of e-cigarettes, adding that people do not know the long term effects of these products.