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Question of the day

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019

* Illinois News Network on a bill to hike the tax on vaping products to make it equal to tobacco products

Danne Reinke, from the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, testified in opposition to the bill Tuesday. He said the measure would tax vaping products at 36 percent. He said consumers can use vaping products to help quit smoking cigarettes.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue said: “E-cigarettes and vapor products are currently assessed the general merchandise rate of 6.25 percent.”

“It’s bad public policy,” Reinke said. “[Vaping is] the leading cessation product.”

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, also had concerns about the measure.

“My biggest problem is taxing it as something it’s not,” Hutchinson said. “At its core, they’re not tobacco products. To tax them as something they’re not, it misses the opportunity. I’m not opposed to taxation, but we need to tax it as it actually is.”

Link said he’s open to continued conversation about the issue, but said there are real concerns.

“We have an epidemic going on,” Link said. “In our schools, we’re having a total epidemic with it. We’ve got to look at this in a different manner.”

“I’ve seen plenty of people who do stop smoking with vape products, but I also know we have a fear of the rising use among kids, so it’s complicated and I get that, but they’re not tobacco products so it’s hard for me to make that jump,” Hutchinson said.

* The Question: Should vaping products be taxed at the same level as tobacco products? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - downstateR - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Maybe I’m ignorant, and I’ll admit I don’t have children, but how excited should I get? It’s not tobacco, it’s not smoke. It shouldn’t be taxed as a tobacco product.

  2. - intern - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    From what I understand, they are less dangerous, so it doesn’t seem sensible to apply the same sin taxes on them.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    I voted yes because revenue

  4. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    Nope, I agree with downstateR. Not tobacco, and better for people than tobacco.

  5. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    I say yes to the higher tax. Vaping is only a slightly less harmful and disgusting habit than smoking tobacco. For most it appears to be a substitute for tobacco rather than a cessation

  6. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    Vaping seems equally though differently dangerous as cigarettes. Tax them the same.

  7. - anon2 - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    There is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults, according to the National Academy of Sciences. In short, e-cigs have a gateway effect to smoking cigarettes.

    Moreover, rather than stimulating smokers to switch from conventional cigarettes to less dangerous e-cigarettes or quitting altogether, e-cigarettes are reducing smoking cessation rates and expanding the nicotine market by attracting youth. Tax it.

  8. - Earnest - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    I voted yes for my usual reason: the state needs revenue and I appreciate any elected officials who will put their name on either taxes or specific cuts. I do see them more as gateways to cigarettes rather than off-ramps.

  9. - City Zen - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:05 pm:


    What’s the intended result? Is tax the perceived barrier of entry? Are vaping products more or less expensive than cigarettes? If, after tax, vaping products costs the same as cigarettes, will more people choose smoking?

  10. - Perrid - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Voted no. I think it should be lower than cigs but higher than general merchandise. It is less harmful than smoking but it’s still nicotine. It’s not good for you. Like Hutchinson said, tax it for what it is, which is not harmless but also not as poisonous as most tobacco products.

  11. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    Vaping and tobacco have the exact same purpose- a delivery system for nicotine.

    As such, the tax should be equal, otherwise the government is picking winners and losers

  12. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    I voted yes because of revenue and because it is not the only specialty product taxed at a higher rate. I understand Sen. Hutchinson’s point that vaping is not as harmful as cigarettes, but when has the health effects of any product determined how it is taxed or regulated? Marijuana would already be legal otherwise.

  13. - Al - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    Vaping taxes should be double tobacco. The scam is that it is about helping adults air smoking. They advertise to children and have bubble gum flavors. Tax it liberally.

  14. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    Yes because it is intended to replace the cigarette so why not.

  15. - Timmeh - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    It’s less of a public health risk, but it still gets people addicted to nicotine and makes it more likely they’ll start smoking too. Tax it at a lesser rate.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    Voted Yes.

    Taxing vaping and cigarette the same makes the most sense.


  17. - lakeside - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    =He said consumers can use vaping products to help quit smoking cigarettes.==

    Consumers can also use vaping products to help start smoking cigarettes. Tax em the same.

  18. - I Miss Bentohs - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    Are beer and vodka taxed as alcohol?
    Then tax nicotine delivery equally too.

  19. - XonXoff - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    Voted no on principle. Tax it for what it is but don’t just make stuff up. I stopped smoking 6 years ago by vaping. I’ve made my own e-juice since I started. Still vape occasionally but haven’t used nicotine in my juice for several years. So it’s not smoke, it’s vapor, and there’s no nicotine or tobacco involved anywhere in the process (for me). I’m basically vaping a safer equivalent of the air freshener my wife sometimes runs in our hallway. They needed to make vaping “into” smoking for easier taxation purposes.

  20. - Brudda - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    Voted no. From what I interpret, this includes the vape juice even without nicotine. I believe this needs more “specific vagueness”, if that makes any sense at all.

  21. - Reserved - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    Voted no solely on the “same level” qualifier. I would bump up the tobacco rates and tax vape products at the current tobacco rates. If Illinois can manage different tax rates for alcohol, we can do the same with nicotine.

  22. - ChrisB - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:53 pm:

    Yep. To paraphrase a popular cliche, if it smokes like tobacco, and looks like tobacco…

    Also, the cessation excuse is a red herring. Multiple studies show that all smoking cessation aides are no more effective than cold turkey.

  23. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:58 pm:

    I vote “yes”

    =Vaping seems equally though differently dangerous as cigarettes. Tax them the same.=

    This all day.

    It is also pretty much a nicotine delivery system as other have said.

    Plus they are marketing right at kids and, if you have not noticed, they are offering a lot of special deals for a cheap device with a box of the pods. Kinda like a drug dealer where the first one is free.

  24. - Bothanspy - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    Is a nicotine patch taxed as tobacco? How about nicotine gum? They are marketed as cessation products but they also are nicotine delivery systems.
    That being said, if you were to propose a tax on nicotine itself, then I think the tobacco taxing model is a good model to follow.

  25. - XonXoff - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 5:16 pm:

    – Yep. To paraphrase a popular cliche, if it smokes like tobacco, and looks like tobacco… –

    Nope. It doesn’t smoke like tobacco, nor does it look like tobacco… Not even a little bit. One is a solid and the other a liquid, for starters.

    Studies be damned, I quit smoking by vaping. That was six years ago and I’m glad I did.

  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 5:42 pm:

    The FDA classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products. If e-cigarette companies truly wanted to be a tobacco cessation device, the manufacturers would apply to be an FDA cessation device. They have not applied because their main goal isn’t to help people quit- there main function is to addict the next generation of tobacco users.

  27. - Way South of I-80 - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 5:54 pm:

    The Surgeon General and the FDA have said that youth e-cigarette use is at epidemic levels creating a public health crisis. Yes - tax them at the same rate as other tobacco products. During recent floor debate Leader Durkin said his daughter had told him e-cigarette use in school was out of control.

  28. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 6:03 pm:

    Cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system that is based on smoke.
    Chewing tobacco is a nicotine delivery system.
    So is a nicotine patch or gum.
    Vaping is another nicotine delivery system that may or may not be considered as objectionable as cigarette smoke.

    Vape fluids come in nicotine and non-nicotine versions, but most people buy the nicotine-containing ones.

    I’d say, tax the nicotine, regardless of the delivery format, and if people want to truly use vaping as a way to wean off smoking, you can cut them and the vape stores a break and not tax the non-nicotine products. Seems pretty simple to me: contains nicotine? It gets the same tax as cigs, cigars, chew, gum, patches, etc. No nicotine? It’s not my business, long as you don’t waft that stuff in my face.

  29. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 6:05 pm:

    Nicotine is an addictive chemical, but iflt is the other chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer. I don’t want to discourage people from using a device that will improve their health, which a lot of the rhetoric around e-cigs does, but I am still fine with taxing e-cigs.

  30. - Kayak - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 6:55 pm:

    I voted no but to clarify: Vaping products (Nicotineless) NO. Nicotine containing products YES

  31. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 9:20 pm:

    I voted yes as a former smoker who used vaping to transition off of nicotine (nicotine free for 6 months, cigarette free for 3.5 years).

    I’m supportive of vaping for nicotine cessation, but I worry about the uptick in nicotine use by teenagers due to vaping. I think a sin tax is warranted - nicotine is still addictive, and a tax will reduce usage.

  32. - charles in charge - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:44 am:

    Toi is right: a tax on vaping products may be appropriate, but there’s no reason why it should necessarily be equivalent to the tax on tobacco.

  33. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:18 am:

    Vaping is like tobacco regarding how addictive it is.

  34. - A guy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 8:55 am:

    How would we tax the nicotine gum or patch? Does coffee and caffeine (in soda too) lend itself to specialized taxation?
    The answer is no. I’m with Toi. Regulate it how you want, but tax it for what it is, not what anyone compares it to.

  35. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:54 am:


    Both are nicotine delivery systems. There was something that came out recently, where someone tested vaping pods and found that many of them had as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

    And if vaping isn’t about hooking kids on nicotine, why all the candy and fruit flavors? Why are all the tobacco companies trying to buy up all the vaping companies?

    When folks age 19 and less start buying nicotine patches and gum at the same rate they seek cigarettes and Juuls, I’ll support taxing the gum and patches the same as cigarettes.

  36. - bedhead 50 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    I voted yes.

    Would it be too much to amend the tax law to include vaping products and/or tobacco like products?

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