House Democrats are poised to vote on imposing a new federal excise tax on e-cigarettes—but without a tax increase on traditional cigarettes—leading some public-health experts to warn that the provision could push vapers back to cigarette smoking.
The provision is part of the latest version of the party’s social-spending and climate bill that could pass as soon as next week. It faces an uncertain path ahead given opposition in the Senate.
The House bill includes a measure intended to tax vaping products on par with the existing federal cigarette tax rate of $1.01 per pack. It would raise about $9 billion over a decade. The nicotine tax would apply to e-cigarettes, vaping liquids and oral nicotine pouches. It wouldn’t apply to nicotine gums, patches or other smoking-cessation aids approved as medical products by the Food and Drug Administration. Proponents say the measure would discourage underage children and teens from buying e-cigarettes, which aren’t currently subject to a federal excise tax.
The nicotine tax provision represents an agreement among the House, Senate and White House, but concerns expressed by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) could result in its exclusion from a final agreement.
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