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California Considers Taxing E-Cigarettes, Voting Scheduled For November

First Posted: Oct 10, 2016 05:00 AM EDT

The Californian state has been making intensive efforts since the last 10 years to raise the taxes on cigarettes but all has been sheer waste. Now, the anti-smoking activists have come up with a fresh idea of a ballot poll that could possibly increase the tobacco taxes steeply and the bill will include electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes too, which were previously untaxed.

If the Proposition 56, scheduled for voting in November, comes into action, California would be the fifth state to introduce a tax on e-cigarettes, only after Kansas, Minnesota, Louisiana and North Carolina. It is the most populous state of the nation and has banned smoking in bars. It could start a trend for other states to follow amidst the ever-growing debate regarding how this multibillion dollar vaping industry is adversely affecting public health, according to Washington Times.

The voters of California had previously defeated the efforts to raise taxes on cigarettes in 2006 and 2012. The vaping industry is opposing this measure with full force as this could add $2 to the present state tax on cigarettes which is only 87 cents per pack.

It is sad to note that the vaping industry has raised a total of $56 millions to defeat the Proposition 56 whereas the anti-smoking advocates have been able to gather only $20 million even when they are being supported by medical groups, educators and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.

 Anti-smoking activists claim that the vapor liquids which come in candy flavors in e-cigarettes have labels featuring minions and other friendly cartoon characters such as Tinkerbell. This makes marketing them to youngsters quite easy and the intention behind this is to hook a whole new generation on nicotine.

"We're facing a particularly alarming new public threat with the rising popularity of electronic cigarettes, especially among our youth," said Dr. Ted Mazer, elected president of the California Medical Association.

The supporters highlight the fact that both Hawaii and California have recently raised the legal age bar to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes to 21 years. They also state clearly that Californian state now considers e-cigarettes the same as any othe tobacco product, and has banned their use in many public places that include workplaces and restaurants.

California voters have not supported the government in raising the cigarette taxes since 1998. The state still remains 37th in the country when it comes to the tax per pack. The proponents believe that an increase of even 10 percent tax on tobacco could reduce the consumption by up to 5 percent.  

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