Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Bill Would Extend Tobacco Tax Beyond E-Cigarettes to Cigars, Other Products

Legislators are interested in expanding Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to tax electronic cigarettes at the same level as conventional cigarettes to other tobacco products, like cigars and smokeless tobacco.

Bill Would Extend Tobacco Tax Beyond E-Cigarettes to Cigars, Other Products

Legislators are interested in expanding Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to tax electronic cigarettes at the same level as conventional cigarettes to other tobacco products, like cigars and smokeless tobacco.

The bill (S-1867), is drawing strong opposition from e-cigarette and tobacco producers, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as consumers who say they use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

But public health advocates say boosting the tax would both discourage use of harmful products and raise revenue for smoking cessation programs.

Both sides of the debate are trying to use uncertainty about e-cigarettes to their advantage. Supporters of the bill say that some harmful effects are already known and others could be found. Bill opponents say they’re clearly less harmful than regular cigarettes.

State officials say that Christie's proposed tax increase just on e-cigarettes would yield $35 million in the budget year starting on July 1, a number that’s disputed by tax opponents.

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