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Lobbyists Blocks eCigarette Tax Hike
Despite the fact that politicians seem to be dictating the direction of the electronic cigarette market there was some interesting news in New Jersey this week. New Jersey lawmakers had proposed to increase the tax on electronic cigarettes by 75% in attempt to shore up a struggling state budget. Many people automatically assumed that the situation was a foregone conclusion although the convenience store lobby group thought very different.
Even though the proposed tax hike would have raised in excess of $35 million per annum it was rejected out of hand by the authorities. This unexpected victory has gone down very well with local convenience store owners who fought a very tough battle although ultimately did not expect to succeed.
Are politicians on the run?
While there’s no doubt that New Jersey is just one of many US states looking to introduce an array of taxes it seems that the public do have a say. It will be interesting to see whether the success of the convenience store lobby in New Jersey reinvigorates the fights across the country and indeed whether it sets some form of legal/social precedent.
There is a growing feeling that politicians have left it too late to attack the electronic cigarette market because there are now millions of users in the US. The industry itself is expected to hit turnover in excess of $2 billion for the current year with some suggesting it may be as big as the tobacco industry within the next decade. At a time when politicians are looking to curry favour with the electorate it seems that the protection of electronic cigarettes and vaping in general are proving to be particularly persuasive arguments.
Will politicians try again?
Recently there has been increased appetite from politicians to push through an array of taxes which would “in a perfect world” have included additional electronic cigarette income. The idea that an electronic cigarette tax would cover any additional healthcare costs associated with the devices seems to have fallen flat with limited if any support from recent medical trials and customer feedback.
In some ways the ongoing attempt by politicians to extract as much income as possible from the vaping industry has been haphazard and certainly not organised. Some states have backed electronic cigarettes, some have stayed neutral while others have slated them in the same manner as they have done with tobacco cigarettes in recent times. If we see more of a concerted effort in the future there is every chance that additional tax regulations could emerge although this would appear to be some way off at the moment.
While the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) continues to consider feedback from its recently proposed regulatory structure, the industry is pretty much in limbo. The large tobacco companies are still jockeying for position, looking towards electronic cigarettes as a significant income stream in the future. Whether indeed tobacco companies are hedging their bets or do ultimately see electronic cigarette as a future threat remains to be seen but this is certainly a story which has a lot further to go and many more twists and turns.
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.