WEBSTER, NY (WROC-TV) It’s been quite the year for e-cigarettes. The vaping ban is still in limbo, and now even more regulations and costs are here. Customers will now face a 28% sales tax on their vaping products, a jump of 20%.
“This is just ‘par for the course’ here in New York State,” says Ken Gregory of END Vape.
Gregory owns and operates a number of vape shops in the region. He says this 20% hike in sales tax is the state’s way of regaining lost revenue from declining tobacco sales. Stores now also have to pay $300 for a license every year.
“It is what it is. We’re happy to provide alternatives to users of combustible cigarettes, but (customers) are going to have to pay a higher fee,” says Gregory.
He adds this extra amount might discourage users from buying vaping products, especially youngsters. Gregory says that’s a good thing. It’s something Albany has cited in the past as a major problem.
Earlier this year, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “It is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products.”
That concern from Dr. Zucker was in direct relation to vaping-related illnesses and deaths that have been reported. It is now largely understood that those episodes were related to black-market THC cartridges.
For customers outside Mad Hatter’s Hideaway, they say this tax hike is both an overreach from the state, and a possible way to discourage use.
“Well, it’s not healthy and I understand why it’s being done, just like with cigarettes, they raise them so much,” says Carmen Rivera.
“I think New York State is big on regulation, and they’re big on taxes too, obviously,” says Jerry Barth.
“I’m not happy about it, it’s just Governor Cuomo trying to keep us healthy,” adds Rivera.
Gregory says between the state’s tax hike and raising the smoking age to 21, New York is helping to keep vape products out of the hands of minors, and again says that’s a positive takeaway.
“I think New York State is helping to curb some of that problem for sure,” he says.