Bill introduced to tax vaping products like tobacco
by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee introduced legislation Thursday that would tax electronic smoking devices and vaping products the same way as tobacco products.
Rep. Jerald Raymond, R-Menan, said the bill is needed to create parity between traditional tobacco and electronic smoking devices.
“There are nicotine products in most vaping products, and other products that are harmful to our health as well. Some products that are more harmful, in fact, than nicotine,” Raymond said.
House Bill 199 would only apply to electronic smoking products located in the state after July 1, 2023.
“It holds our retailers harmless as much possible,” Raymond said. “Any product they have in inventory at that time is not subject to that tax, but it would be subject to tax moving forward.”
Raymond explained that the effective date of the tax – based upon when products enter the state – is because of the unique nature of cigarette and tobacco taxes. For tobacco products, the tax is 35% of the wholesale price, and for cigarettes, retailers purchase stamps from the state tax commission that are affixed to packages when they first enter the state.
Raymond said the delay allows the industry to prepare to apply the stamps to electronic devices as well as cigarettes, and gives retailers an opportunity to build up inventory before the tax would take effect.
“There’s been an element of surprise that we aren’t already doing this. We’re just taking care of an issue that probably has been needed to be done for quite some time,” Raymond said. “There will be no difference between vaping products and tobacco products. They will be handled exactly the same.”
Raymond guessed that incorporating electronic smoking and vaping devices would effectively double the $45 million that Idaho collects annually in cigarette and tobacco taxes, but he told the committee that he would provide more accurate numbers at a public hearing.
Logan Finney | Associate Producer
Logan Finney is a North Idaho native with a passion for media production and boring government meetings. He grew up skiing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Bonner County and has maintained a lifelong interest in the state’s geography, history and politics. Logan joined the Idaho Reports team in 2020 as a legislative session intern and stayed to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired as an associate producer in 2021 and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since.