Proposed Idaho Bill Would Extend Tobacco Tax to E-Cigarettes

Idaho House Bill 331 proposes extending the existing 40% tax imposed on tobacco products to vaping products, or in other words apply it to all "electronic smoking products and devices," even if such devices are not used for tobacco.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation reported that House Bill 331 would label “electronic smoking products and devices” as “tobacco products” if they are “brought into this state from without the state for sale;” “made, manufactured, or fabricated in this state for sale in this state;” or “shipped or transported to retailers in this state, to be sold by those retailers.”

The electronic devices covered by the bill would be any “electronic smoking products and devices” as “any device that can be used to deliver aerosolized or vaporized substances to the person inhaling from the device, including but not limited to an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic pipe, electronic hookah, or vape pen. Electronic smoking products and devices includes any component, part, or accessory of such a device, whether or not sold separately, and includes any substance intended to be aerosolized or vaporized during the use of the device.”

Idaho’s “KNOW VAPE” campaign
Earlier this year, Idaho launched a statewide anti-vape campaign called “KNOW VAPE.” The initiative aims to address an alleged teen vaping crisis affecting the state, whereby says the campaign, two out of five Idaho teenagers have tried vaping at least once. There are two parts to the campaign: the first is an hour-long documentary presenting testimonials from teens discussing their negative experiences with vaping. The second part consists of a contest for teens to produce an original 90-second anti-vape video, and possibly winning over $10,000 in prizes.

Sadly the campaign is rife with misinformation. The executive producer of the documentary for one, believes that vape companies and tobacco companies are one and the same, and she also fails to acknowledge the science proving the relative safety of vaping products.

“It’s unbelievable the billions of dollars that the big tobacco companies have spent in creating this crisis,” says executive producer Jennie Sue Weltner. She added that the idea that the products are safer alternatives to cigarettes “is absolutely not true.”

Vaping does not lead to smoking
Meanwhile, a recent comprehensive review conducted by renowned anti-smoking researcher Professor Riccardo Polosa and colleagues, debunks fears that youth vaping may be causing an increase in youth smoking.

The review was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and concluded that the harm from teen vaping is greatly exaggerated. Discussing the findings on his blog page, renowned Australian tobacco harm reduction expert Dr. Colin Mendelsohn highlighted that the release of the review is timely given the regular alarmist media reports and government campaigns on vaping in Australia which have misinformed the public about the relative benefits and risks of vaping.