Vaping victory in Ohio: Gov. Kasich’s 69% e-cig tax defeated
As a vocal opponent of the vaping industry, Ohio Governor John Kasich has spent nearly six months trying to pass a state operating budget that includes an obscurely-worded 69% e-cig tax. Also included as a line item was a proposed licensing fee of $1,000 for all vape shops and distributors statewide. On June 28, the state legislature approved the Governor’s budget but without the included tax increases.
The Ohio vaping victory is welcome news for vapers nationwide, particularly in light of recent events that include a San Antonio ban on public vaping and a San Francisco ban on the sale of flavored e-liquids. Why did Ohio choose to travel in a completely opposite direction regarding vapers’ rights? Many are praising the Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA) for its aggressive pursuit of vaper-friendly justice.
“This afternoon the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate made their final votes on the two year state operating budget. As you’ll recall, in February Governor John Kasich proposed including vapor in the Other Tobacco Product category and raising the tax to 69% of the wholesale price. Additionally, he also proposed a $1,000 licensing fee for vapor distributors. We are very happy to announce that the legislation sent back to the Governor does NOT INCLUDE ANY TAX INCREASES or any other language as it relates to vapor!!”
- OHVTA announcement on their Facebook page
Leaders of the Ohio vaping community are largely crediting OHVTA President James Jarvis for the defeat of the proposed e-cig tax. Jarvis is still in his very first year in the post. Yet Jarvis insists that the accolades should really be given to his fellow members of the OHVTA board and the many loyal constituents of the Ohio vaping community for their relentless email, phone, and letter-writing campaigns which played a significant role in the proposed legislation’s downfall.
The Governor signed the budget on July 1, but vapers should also take note of a very important fact. James Kasich is a Republican. The vaping community often assumes that Democrats overwhelmingly hate vaping and Republicans largely support it. After all, it was Democrat Barack Obama’s administration who imposed the controversial FDA deeming regulations that kicked off the War on Vaping in the first place.
When Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump won the election in a surprise victory last November, many vaping advocates were hopefully optimistic that the deeming regulations would immediately be overturned. Six months later, the vaping community is still waiting.
If the Ohio victory teaches us anything, it is to not become complacent in our Fight for the Right to Vape! Even an Ohio Republican Governor can attempt to implement highly excessive e-cig taxes by trying to sneak them into an otherwise uninteresting state budget proposal. But thanks to vaping advocacy groups like the OHVTA, this vaping victory is cause for a long-deserved celebration.
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