As the explosive growth of vaping continues across the country and worldwide, local state governments (which receive massive amounts of revenue from tobacco taxes) are scrambling to find out how they are going to make up for the declining tax revenue from tobacco products. The most frequently proposed solution by legislators: take a non-tobacco product and classify it as a tobacco product to bring in more money for the state. At best, it's a complete abuse of government power.
By and large, the Democrats are the ones behind the proposed taxes (especially here in WA State). We have many Republican legislators that are very much in favor of vaping. In fact, some legislators (including Rep. Dick Murry) actually attend vape meets to learn more about why so many people are finding success vaping and to learn how they can support us. Here in WA State, we are in the process of organizing in a big way to unite vapers throughout our state to make sure we uphold our rights as citizens together. We should not be subject to unjust taxes for a product which is improving our lives and is not a detriment to society.
Today, Wednesday July 16th 2014, all the heads of the most influential WA State vaping companies met in a closed room inside of a conference room near our state capitol. I feel that it is very important that we relay as much of this information as possibly to our fellow WA State vapers. It is very important to myself and to all of the WA State vaping organizations that we all unite and mobilize together. We can't sit back and depend on others to do the job. You must take action. If you don't, your rights as a vaper are going to be severely impacted. We simply cannot afford to lose the battle here in WA State.
Here is an inside look of what took place at our behind-closed-doors session:
- Rep. Reuvan Carlyle is the main opponent of e-cigarettes in WA State. He wants them taxed and treated like tobacco cigarettes. Carlyle has a history of campaigning on increased funding for our schools and centers his attack on vapers around providing more money to education funding. Carlyle is personally very wealthy (ex-Microsoft) and does not know anyone close to him that uses e-cigarettes.
- What we've seen is that legislators that end up siding with vapers usually know someone on a personal level that has quit smoking using a vaporizer. We need to work to extend our personal stories to more people and win our battle through sharing our personal experiences.
- It was revealed to us that although tobacco taxes are intended to fund K-12 education, in practice, a very small percentage of the money actually ends up going to schools and is instead spent elsewhere in our state.
- There are a number of key elections coming up in November. We need to elect as many Republicans as possible. The Democrats have taken a party-line stance against vapers and want to come down hard on WA State vapers. It's unfortunate to see this and I have already heard from many people that used to consider themselves Democrats now beginning to vote Republican across the board because of the Democrats' stance against vapers.
- One fear that we have as an industry is that being labeled a "tobacco product" for the purposes of taxation will lead to many issues down the road. Any amendments to the tobacco tax structure will also include e-cigarettes. This could lead to very severe complications.
- We're dealing with reckless government. Today, an example was brought up showcasing how severe government taxation has become. There is a tanning tax. Yes, a tax on tanning salons for operating tanning beds. Read the hundreds of pages from the IRS here. This just showcases how reckless our government is right now. It shows what we are up against.
- They do not care about the health and research studies. The State wants money and they want it yesterday.
- WA Vape (a non-profit organization) is going to be organizing a new informational website to help WA State vapers stay informed and give them the tools necessary for us to collectively win the fight. More details coming soon.