Pennsylvania House Finance Committee Votes To Repeal Hefty Vape Shop Tax

In a move which could save as many as 1,500 jobs, full-time jobs at that, Pennsylvania’s House Finance Committee voted in favor (19-4) of repealing a hefty retroactively imposed tax that was so high, it was almost sure to cost jobs.

Fox43 reported the vote to have been 19-4 while ABC27 contradicted these figures as they reported that the vote was 18-4.

Squeezing Wallet Picture
Pennsylvania vape shop owners are feeling the vise tighten as the state squeezes them for cash through heavy taxation.

The tax that they repealed, assuming the new legislation gets signed off on by Governor Tom Wolf, was a 40% retroactive tax on the inventory of all vape shops across the state, effectively levying a massive tax on the inventories of Pennsylvania vape stores to be burdened by their owners. However, the House Finance Committee passed legislation HB 2342, effectively replacing the 40% tax with an alternative tax in which the state’s vape shops are taxed just $0.05 per milliliter of e-Liquid.

Senior policy analyst Bob Dick with the Commonwealth Foundation was quoted by Fox43 as having said that the 40% tax that HB 2342 replaced “unfairly targeted one industry (vapor) to the point of near extinction.”

“This tax unfairly targeted one industry to the point of near extinction. We’ve already seen approximately 50 vape shops close their doors because of this tax, and more will follow unless it is repealed.”

He added that he believes it to be “unconscionable” for Harrisburg to jeopardize local businesses and the jobs they provide to their communities for the sake of $13 million in revenue created by the tax when companies worth billions such as Netflix and Amazon (he noted the two specifically) are receiving millions in subsidies from the state.

The new legislation that the House voted in favor of was authored by Republican Representative Jeff C. Wheeland of Lycoming who said in a statement that his legislation “would still generate tax revenue” but not that the expense of jobs and businesses, ABC27 reported.

“My legislation is modeled after laws implemented in Louisiana and North Carolina. It would still generate tax revenue but not cause these small businesses to close, resulting in a loss of jobs.”

What do you think of the 40% vape store tax? A bit hefty? And what of Wheeland’s bill that aims to replace the tax with something a bit more reasonable – good idea or bad idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

New York Bans Vaping In Areas Where Smoking Is Prohibited

The Governor of the state of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, signed a bill (S.2543A / A.516A) on Monday banning the use of vaporizers anywhere that smoking is already prohibited. This includes restaurants, bars, and places of work.

The Statue Of Liberty In New York
New legislation has been passed in the state of New York that effectively bans the use of vaporizers in public indoor spaces – or in other words, in all of the same places that smoking is banned in the state.

In just 30 days, this ban will go into effect. So if you’re vaping in New York, get ready for it because you’re about to be freezing your buns off outside in the cold this winter with the rest of the smokers.

While other states may or may not be soon to follow, it’s worth noting that New York represents one of the first state’s in the nation to ban the smoking of tobacco products in public indoor areas, the New York Times reports. This ban on indoor smoking went into effect in 2003. But now, with the signing of this new piece of legislation, the use of e-cigs in public indoor spaces has succumb to the same legislative fate as the cigarettes that they, in part, aim to replace.

While the debate continues over whether or not e-cigs really are a healthier alternative to smoking, Governor Cuomo has his own thoughts on the matter as he said in a statement:

“These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them. This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

In related news, we recently reported here at Vaporizer Wire that Gov. Cuomo, in yet another bid to further regulate the vapor industry in the state of New York, has proposed a tax on e-liquid inventories across the state.

New E-Liquid Tax Proposed By New York Governor

A tax on all vapor products in New York? If Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way, that’s exactly what New Yorkers will be faced with and according to some accounts, it could have a negative impact on some local businesses.

New York City Lights At Night
The governor of New York has proposed a statewide tax on all vapor products.

Dewey Avenue Smoke Shop owner Leonard Stebbins was quoted by WHEC as having said in regards to Cuomo’s proposed e-liquid tax, “If the tax becomes very excessive we’re going to lose customers to the internet and to other states,” but still others see it as good news for the state’s human inhabitants. Take URMC Associate Professor in Public Health Science Scott McIntosh for example. According to McIntosh, what Cuomo has proposed “is good news for public health” as vaping is not without its health risks.

According to McIntosh, researchers have found vapor to contain “six times as much copper as traditional tobacco smoke,” which is just one of the reasons why Cuomo’s move is viewed by some as a move towards protecting the health of the public at large.

What do you think of the proposed vape tax in New York?

Vape Hackers Demonstrate E-Cig Hacking Potential

If you’re concerned with the security of your electronic devices, don’t charge your friend’s vaporizer, or at least that’s the conclusion reached by security researchers examining the security of electronic cigarettes.

Hacking Image
Vape hacking is real and security researchers are cautioning against plugging other people’s vapes into your devices.

In a presentation at BSides London, researcher Ross Bevington reportedly demonstrated how to use an e-cig to launch attacks against computer systems.

Separately, another researcher who goes by the alias Fouroctets shared a video demonstrating a proof-of-concept attack in which a vaporizer pen is used to launch attacks against a laptop.

What are the similarities between these attacks? A vaporizer plugged into the device. Once the vape is plugged in to charge, the USB connection used to charge it provides a conduit to the computer. It is this conduit, the USB connection, that serves as the attack vector. By leveraging it, the aforementioned security researchers have managed to demonstrate how it can be used to turn a vaporizer into a cyber security threat.

In the case of Fouroctets, he told Sky News that he had essentially hacked the vape pen by integrating a hardware chip that allowed to communicate with his computer as if it were a peripheral device such as a mouse or keyboard and then loaded it with a script that he had written in advance. The script, which he claims could have been malicious in nature, prompted his computer to open up the Notepad application, a text editing application available on the Windows operating system. Once open, it typed out the message: “Do you even vape bro!!!!”

With potential for nefarious hackers to do something more sinister than open up a text editor and display a message, security researchers are cautioning those who would otherwise recklessly plug another’s USB enabled device, be it a vape, into their machine, as doing so could result in their machine being hacked.

“In all cases, be wary if someone wants to plug something into your machine.”

Mr. Bevington was quoted by Sky News as having said to “be wary if someone wants to plug something into your machine.”

Pax 2 & 3 Prices Slashed, New Colors And Finishes Released

Pax Labs has gone out of their way to make the newest Pax vaporizers that much more affordable, reducing their prices dramatically. The Pax 3 can now be picked up for just $199.99, or $249.99 for the complete kit. The Pax 2 on the other hand is now just $149.99, which is substantially less expensive than when it first came out.

The newest version, version three, is backed by a 10-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, whereas version two is backed only by a 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Prior to this recent announcement from Pax Labs, the Pax 3 vaporizer was available in black, gold, silver, and rose gold — all of which are anodized aluminum with a mirror-polished finish. While these variants will still continue to be sold for a limited time, the new colors and finishes that are replacing them are already available. The new versions, which include some new colors as well as a recycling of some of the old ones, now have a matte finish, which those of us at think looks that much better than the old finish. The new colors include:

  • Gold
  • Black
  • Teal
  • Rose
  • Silver
New Pax 3 Colors And Finishes
This is the Pax 3 vaporizer seen in the new colors and finishes it’s now available in. From left to right, we have black, silver, gold, and teal.

Commenting on the price reduction, the company’s general manager, JJ O’Brien, said in a statement that the company has been “able to achieve additional efficiencies in” their “manufacturing process through technical innovation and investment,” which they are now “pleased to be able to pass these savings on” to their “loyal” customer base.

“As we are able to achieve additional efficiencies in our manufacturing process through technical innovation and investment, we are pleased to be able to pass these savings on to our loyal customers.”

What’s The Difference Between The Cheap Pax 3 And Its More Expensive Counterpart?

As you may have noted, there is a less expensive version of the Pax 3 sold by Pax Labs and its authorized retailers. So why is it that much cheaper than the “complete” kit? The less expensive kit comes with the vape itself, its 3500 mAh battery, battery charger, a couple of mouthpieces, a maintenance kit and a 10-year warranty. The other version, the complete kit, comes with all that plus a multi-tool, a couple of oven lids, three screens for the oven, a protective carrying pouch, and one accessory that really makes all the difference: the concentrate insert. With the concentrate insert, which can be purchased separately as a standalone accessory to be used with either kit, the vape transforms from a loose-leaf only portable vaporizer to one that can handle concentrated blend types just as well as it can dried blends. For those who want to make the most of the Pax 3, the concentrate insert is obviously the way to go. For those who don’t care and intend on only vaping dried blend, the cheaper kit that excludes the insert may very well be the more logical decision.

Why Buy Pax 2?

Given that the Pax 3 is now available for purchase, why might some users opt to purchase the older Pax 2? One reason is the fairly dramatic price difference. With the cheaper Pax 3 kit now selling for roughly $200, the Pax 2 is still that much cheaper with a price tag of approximately $150. That’s a saving of $50. So while the Pax 3 is clearly the superior vaporizer, for some, that $50 savings is reason enough to pickup the old one instead.

What’s your favorite Pax 3 color/finish? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Meet Portavape, The Portable Vaporizer Accessory Designed By An InventHelp Inventor

InventHelp is a company that some of you may have seen advertisements for, we know we have. Have an invention? This company will help you turn it into reality. So it should come as little to no surprise to find that one vaporizer inventor submit his design for a portable vaporizer accessory to the InventHelp office in Los Angeles and with their help, there’s now a product called the PortaVape that’s available for licensing or sale to both marketers as well as manufacturers.

The product, originally designed by an inventor in Sherman Oaks, California, is designed to integrate with ordinary glassware used for smoking – transforming it into a vaporizer. Its inventor indicated in a statement that he didn’t want to smoke “because of the detrimental health effects” so he “came up with this idea” and the rest is history.

You can share your thoughts on the InventHelp Portavape portable vaporizer accessory in the comments section below. If you’ve tried it, feel free to leave a review because we’d love to hear more about it and we’re sure our readers would too!

Got Vape Stresses Quality When It Comes To Vaporizers And E-Juice

Got Vape, one of the most widely recognized players in the vaporizer space, issued a press release in which they touted the important of quality when it comes to not only vaporizers, but e-juices as well.

Straying away from their release for a moment, quality is undoubtedly an important variable when it comes to vaporizers, the e-liquids that some of them use, and just about everything else you can think of in life. Without assessing the quality, how can one possibly determine the value? With this in mind, Got Vape’s Joe Arellano had this to say: “Not all e-juice is of the highest quality, so it’s important to know the difference.” He added that at Got Vape, the quality of ingredients in the juices they sell “will continue to be” their “top priority.”

“Not all e-juice is of the highest quality, so it’s important to know the difference.”

Looking at some of the science to support their stance, it wasn’t all that long ago that researchers with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a study in which they found roughly 75% of the flavored e-juices contained within the e-cigs they examined to contain a chemical previously linked to multiple cases of severe respiratory disease in humans. Needless to say, not all vape juices are made equal.

Do you research your e-juice ingredients before you use them?

Vaporizer Regulations Imposed By FDA Impose Strain On Some Vape Startups

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new regulations for the vapor industry late last year and the result, according to one vaporizer manufacturer’s analysis, is that many of the smaller vape companies will suffer from the new obligations imposed upon them by the FDA. These new obligations include the requirement of manufacturers to submit certifications and documentation to the FDA for review.

But on the other hand, while it may have a negative impact on some manufacturers, there are those who believe that such regulations do have their place in the industry. Take Haze Technologies for example, makers of the Haze vaporizers. According to Haze, they believe that the FDA’s new regulations are a necessity, as they wrote on their website that they “believe that the regulations are necessary to ensure good quality vape products are placed on the shelves.”

“Although we believe in business growth and equal opportunity for all manufacturers to take their place in the market, we also believe that the regulations are necessary to ensure good quality vape products are placed on the shelves. This is necessary not only from the public safety perspective but also for the future growth of the industry.”

As of present, the FDA requires vape manufacturers to submit their products for approval before they can be sold within the United States. For consumers, this is a double-edged sword. On one side, the FDA oversight has the potential to help reduce the number of unsafe vaporizers on the market. But on the other side, it also cuts down on the number new vapes hitting the market, or at the least, delays their release.

We can see how this could have a negative impact on smaller companies, especially underfunded startups that are still trying to establish themselves in the industry. For a smaller company, the legal resources and man hours necessary to submit the required documentation and certifications could prove to be a real hassle, whereas larger companies may hardly notice the costs incurred.

What do you think of these new regulations and the FDA’s decision to regulate the industry in general? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Johnny Vapors Employee Admits To Stealing Thousands In Merchandise From Vape Store

An employee at a Florida vape store, Johnny Vapors in St. Petersburg, reportedly admitted to stealing over $12,000 worth of merchandise from his employer, according to a police affidavit.

The man, who local law enforcement identified as 23-year-old Donovan Platt of Clearwater, Florida, reportedly confessed to stealing a combination of vaping supplies and ice tea (yes, the drink) from his employer, WFLA reported.

Platt was subsequently taken into custody and booked in the Pinellas County Jail where he was held on a $5,000 bond. He is now facing a charge of grand theft.

Johnny Vapors in St. Pete is located at 650 Central Avenue and is open seven days a week. They currently have a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Facebook and on Google, alleged visitors have left company reviews like: “Excellent selection of juices and equipment.”

Among the supplies that went missing from the shop, merchandise that may have been lifted by the man now in custody facing grand theft charges, were e-liquid, vape batteries, vaporizer pens, vape kits, coils, cases of ice tea, and other various supplies. How exactly the shop discovered the theft is unclear, WFLA reported.

New York City Politician Takes Aim At Teen Vaping With New Bill To Ban Flavored E-Juice

Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat lawmaker in the New York State Assembly, has proposed a bill to ban the sale of flavored e-juices, the tasty liquid concoctions that find their use in electronic cigarettes and vape mods alike. Mind you, this is the same state lawmaker who introduced a bill back in September that sought to ban the sale and distribution of e-liquids in general in the state of New York. But now, with her new bill, she’s taken aim at the flavored e-juices, using teen vaping as her justification.

According to Rosenthal, flavored e-liquids are “meant to appeal to kids,” not adults. As she noted that she doesn’t “know many adults who would like to inhale bubble gum or strawberry vapor,” the NY Daily News reported.

“That kind of product [flavored e-liquid] is meant to appeal to kids (…) I don’t know many adults who would like to inhale bubble gum or strawberry vapor”

Fresh Strawberry Picture
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) claims she doesn’t know many adults who would enjoy vaping strawberry flavored e-liquid, do you?

If the legislation makes its way into law, it wouldn’t be the first law enacted by the state of New York aimed at reducing e-cig use, particularly amongst the state’s minors. Back in July, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a piece of legislation banning the use of e-cigs in schools across the state, both public as well as private. They also banned the use of e-cigs in bars, restaurants, and places of work as they extended the provisions of the state’s “Clean Indoor Air Act” to include electronic cigarettes.

What do you think of Rosenthal’s latest attempt to further regulate the e-cig industry in New York?