The Anchorage Assembly last week passed an ordinance to include vaping and electronic cigarette products under the city’s existing tobacco tax. This means tobacco vaping devices and e-cigarettes, as well as the liquids and cartridges that are used with the devices will be taxed at 55 percent of the wholesale price.
According to an article on alaskapublic.org, Assemblywoman Suzanne LaFrance and Assemblyman Christopher Constant proposed the ordinance to combat vaping among minors, which has seen a sharp rise in recent years.
Some vape shop owners opposed the ordinance, arguing that vaping products are helpful for adult smokers trying to kick their habit.
“Imposing this tax on something that is actually helping people get away from combustible cigarettes and actually costing the state and local resources less money seems a little problematic,” said Shaun D’Sylva, a co-owner of Fatboy Vapors in Midtown.
Traditional cigarette smoking has been declining for decades, in part because of public information campaigns, smoke-free laws and increasing tobacco taxes, said Marge Stoneking, executive director of the American Lung Association in Alaska. Alaskan public officials also have often been accused of spreading misinformation about vaping products, according to industry experts.
“Now e-cigarettes are addicting a new generation of youth, threatening all of that progress,” Stoneking said. “Significantly increasing taxes on tobacco products results in fewer kids starting to smoke and more adults quitting while at the same time providing revenue to the municipality.”