The House Ways and Means Committee approved a nicotine vaping tax measure Wednesday. It would be the first tax imposed on nicotine liquids.
Democrat Tom Suozzi, one of the bill’s authors, said the point of the legislation was to increase vaping product prices to the point at which teens could not afford them and rates of teen vaping would decrease.
The bill, which passed out of committee with a vote of 25 to 14 with a majority of Republicans voting “no,” would impose a tax on nicotine vaping liquids amounting to $ 50.33 per 1,810 mg. For reference, the average Juul pod, with 5% nicotine content and 0.7 mL of liquid, would be taxed at $ 1.15.
“Younger people are more sensitive to price changes,” Suozzi said. “We know that this will help. Will it solve the whole problem? Absolutely not.”
The tax would apply to all nicotine vaping liquids, similar to the current tax on tobacco products including regular cigarettes. It would not, however, apply to products meant to help people quit smoking and using tobacco products, including nicotine gum.
The Joint Committee on Taxation reported the new tax, if enacted, would raise $ 9.9 billion in federal revenue over the next 10 years. Members of the committee did not address how the money would be spent.
Tom Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimated the demand for vaping products would fall 22% annually if the tax were to be enacted.
Several committee members took issue with the proposed tax despite the expected billions in revenue, though, because the bill did not address illicit products, like the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, THC. Most Republicans on the committee said that THC should be addressed rather than legal nicotine, as most vaping-related injury patients were found to have used THC products before getting sick.
Several Republicans said the bill as written would not prevent future lung injury cases or remedy the teen vaping epidemic.