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Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaskan Senate, has suggested a new tax on vaping supplies and e-cigarettes in the state. The levy would apply to both liquid nicotine and non-nicotine vaping products and would be comparable to the tax on conventional cigarettes.
The suggestion was made by Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, on Monday at a news conference. Concerns about the rising use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products among young people, as well as the health dangers connected to vaping, were mentioned by the speaker.
“The use of e-cigarettes and vaping products has exploded in recent years, particularly among young people,” Stevens said. “We need to take action to address this issue and protect the health of our citizens.”
According to Stevens’ plan, there would be a minimum tax of $15 per container and a tax of $1.50 per fluid millilitre of e-cigarette liquid. No matter whether a vaping product contains nicotine or not, it would be subject to the levy. The tax’s proceeds would be used to pay for health-related initiatives and to handle the financial burdens of tobacco use.
Stevens’ suggestion comes at a time when numerous other states and municipalities across the nation are also debating or passing fees on e-cigarettes and vaping supplies. As of January 2023, 30 states and the District of Columbia will have passed taxes on e-cigarettes and vaping products, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
But Alaska hasn’t yet implemented such a levy. Some people disagree with Stevens’ plan, claiming it could hurt small businesses and deter smokers from switching to less harmful habits.
A statement criticising Stevens’ plan was released by the Alaska chapter of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, a group that promotes vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking.
“This tax would disproportionately impact small businesses that sell vaping products, many of which are already struggling due to the pandemic,” the statement read. “It would also discourage smokers from switching to vaping, which is a less harmful alternative.”
Stevens recognised the worries of small companies, but he contended that the health risks of vaping outweighed them.
“I understand that there are concerns about the impact of this tax on small businesses,” he said. “But we need to balance those concerns with the health risks associated with vaping. The evidence is clear that vaping is harmful to health, particularly for young people.”
Some Alaska State Legislature members are also against the plan. Sen. Mia Costello, a Republican from Anchorage, voiced concern over the possible effects on small businesses and recommended that the state prioritise teaching children about the dangers of vaping rather than enacting a new tax.
“I think education is the key here,” Costello said. “We need to educate young people about the risks of vaping and help them make healthy choices. I’m not convinced that a new tax is the best way to address this issue.”
Stevens countered that education alone was not enough to address the problem.
“While education is important, we also need to take action to discourage young people from using these products,” he said. “A tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products is one way to do that.”
The Alaska Legislature will now examine the suggestion. Alaska will become one of the increasing number of states and municipalities that have passed taxes on e-cigarettes and vaping products if it is approved.
Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaskan Senate, has suggested a tax on e-cigarette liquid in the state of Alaska of $1.50 per fluid millilitre in order to address the rising use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices among young people as well as the health risks related to vaping. The tax’s proceeds would be used to pay for health-related initiatives and to handle the financial burdens of tobacco use.