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The tax that they repealed, assuming the new legislation gets signed off on by Governor Tom Wolf, was a 40% retroactive tax on the inventory of all vape shops across the state,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We’ve already seen approximately 50 vape shops close their doors because of this tax, and more will follow unless it is repealed.”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?

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.

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?

Indiana Vape Shops Worried New E-Liquid Regulations Might Kill Vaping Industry

In the state of Indiana, regulations governing e-liquid manufacturers kicked into effect back in July of 2015. As a result, some vape stores across the state found themselves concerned that the new regulations could kill the vaporizing industry across the state.

E-liquid, sometimes stylized “eLiquid,” is the liquid used in e-cigarettes. It is often composed of nicotine, glycerine, propylene glycol, and various flavorings.

The new regulations specifically govern companies that manufacture e-liquids for sale in the state. Such companies were, as a result of the regulations, required to be certified by a security firm before July 1, 2015.

At the time the regulations were passed by state legislators, there was only one firm, Mulhaupt’s Inc, that was certified to approve e-liquid manufacturers. As a result, many cried foul as the regulations essentially turned Mulhaupt’s into the gatekeeper – a single security firm that would decide which companies would be allowed to sell their e-liquid concoctions in the state of Indiana.

Representative Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City), the man who authored HB 1432, was quoted by JConline as having said that lawmakers “never intended to set up a monopoly”.

“We never intended to set up a monopoly”

As of January of 2017, the number of e-juice products sold across the state dropped from hundreds to seven.

Subsequently, many consumers are traveling to neighboring states to pickup their e-juices.

A vape store manager in Kentucky, Charity Hoggard with Nice Guy Vapes, echoed this notion as she quoted by JConline as having said that the regulation is “helping us out a lot but sucks for Indiana”.

“It’s helping us out a lot but sucks for Indiana”

What do you think of the e-liquid regulations in Indiana that have turned Mulhaupt’s into the state’s e-liquid gatekeeper? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.