E-Cigarette Tax Takes Effect Saturday in Kentucky

The state’s new tax on e-cigarettes goes into effect tomorrow.

Prices for cartridge-based e-cigarettes will increase by $1.50 per pod, and containers of refillable e-cigarette liquid will be taxed at 15% of the wholesale price.

Bonnie Hackbarth, lead staff member with the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow said research has shown increasing the price of nicotine products — especially those marketed directly to young people — has been linked to reduced usage. She pointed out that more than 80,000 Kentucky kids have said they’ve tried vaping.

“Before the Food and Drug Administration’s partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes even began,” said Hackbarth, “companies had already introduced products that took advantage of one of the loopholes, and that’s disposable e-cigarettes. And this tax will apply to those as well.”

Until now, e-cigarettes such as JUUL and other brands were the only tobacco products sold in Kentucky not subject to a tax. The Commonwealth joins 20 other states that have imposed similar taxes.

Hackbarth said the move comes at a time when staying healthy has become a priority for more Kentuckians.

“The research shows that if you’re a smoker, you’re likely to have a more severe case of COVID, if you get it,” said Hackbarth. “We don’t have detailed research on e-cigarettes’ effects on COVID yet, but because COVID is a respiratory disease in part, chances are it’s going to exacerbate the symptoms and you’re going to have a rougher time.”

The long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown, but hundreds of cases of mysterious severe lung damage in e-cigarette users have been documented.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has coined the condition “Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury.” Most of the cases have occurred in teens and young adults.

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