Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is preparing to ban flavored vaping products and ask for a tax on all e-cigarettes. This is according to State House News Services.
Leadership in the House on Beacon Hill has indicated they need more time to consider measures on taxing electronic smoking or items or curb vaping by teenagers in the Commonwealth.
WSAR was able to talk to a couple of state representatives in regards to this topic including Bristol Sixth District State Rep Carole Fiola and Bristol Eighth District State Rep Paul Schmid.
“The legislature is very concerned about the amount of vaping going on in our school,” Schmid said. “Just when we thought we were making progress against cigarette smoking among young people we now see this vaping scourge.”
Attorney General Healey has began to investigate the company Juul, the largest vaping company in the country. She is curious to see if the company is tracks under-age use of their primary products. The parent company of Marlboro owns a 35% stake in Juul worth nearly $13 billion.
“The whole topic of vaping has really grown especially with the juul,” Fiola said. “We’ve raised the age to purchase cigarettes and tobacco products including vaping to 21. It’s a topic we spend a lot of time on.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is looking to raise $6 million in new revenue by adding a tax to e-cigarettes and applying a 40% excise tax on all wholesale vaping products, thought, the House did not include it in their budget.
“While it wasn’t in our house budget, I don’t think that’s a signal to an end of the conversation,” Fiola said. “Just like with sports betting, we’re not rushing into anything.”
Fiola continued, “a number of amendments come to mind when talking about this topic. I can think of three of them related to vaping, addiction prevention and taxation.”
Representative Schmid’s concerns are with the children, “it looks as though everyone is finding their way around the age limits. We keep hearing that restrooms in schools are the spot where children go to vape.”
“You’re getting a lot of nicotine with each breath,” he warned.