Legislation Could Change Taxation of Vapor Products to Protect Small Businesses

HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) introduced legislation today to change the way Pennsylvania taxes e-cigarette products to help prevent more vapor shops from going out of business.

Lawmakers added a 40 percent wholesale tax on vapor products as part of the 2016-17 state budget. The new tax burden has already resulted in the closure of more than 100 small businesses and the loss of several hundred jobs in the industry.

“When lawmakers have to resort to any kind of tax increase on a particular industry, it is critical to make sure that tax rate is sustainable and makes sense in the current economic climate. Failing to do that will only result in bigger problems down the road,” Bartolotta said. “As more shop owners continue to go out of business as a result of this tax, it becomes even less likely that the state will collect the amount of revenues projected for the current year’s budget. It is critical to revisit this issue and plot a better way forward that promotes growth in the industry.”

Bartolotta’s bill would eliminate the 40 percent wholesale tax and replace it with a 5-cents per milliliter retail tax on e-liquid. This approach to taxation is consistent with levies imposed in other states and would help generate stable and predictable revenues for the state without threatening the viability of existing vapor shops, Bartolotta said.

Recent studies have suggested that the use of vapor products carries fewer health risks than the use of cigarettes. Other research suggests that e-cigarettes can be a useful aid for individuals who want to quit smoking. 

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463

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