After becoming the first large city to impose an e cig tax, Chicago is looking to double down and more than double their current e juice tax. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is introducing a tax that would increase the e juice tax from $0.80 per container and $0.55 per ml to $1.50 per container and $1.20 per ml. To put that in perspective, my juice is 5 bucks. With this new tax, my juice would cost $42.50 for a 30ml bottle! How do e juice shops sell any vape products with taxes so high! That is absolutely ridiculous. Before I get too heated, let's jump into the story.
218% Potential Tax Increase on e juice in Chicago
Mayor Rahm Emanuel conducted an exclusive interview with michael Sneed. In it, Mayor Emanuel goes over his hate for tobacco and wanting to take a "big tax axe against Big Tobacco this week." What's not talked about? No vaping company is part of Big Tobacco, yet he talks in depth about a vaping and e-cigarette tax hike. Leaves me wondering what he means by the words he uses.
Emanuel wants to fight against Big Tobacco... by taxing vape products
Maybe I'm just reading this wrong or they didn't publish enough of the manuscript of the interview but he goes on and on about how he hates tobacco, wants to fight against Big Tobacco, and the hardships of getting his mom to quit cigarettes. So what does he want to impose? That's right, a vaping tax hike. How in the HELL does that make any sense whatsoever!? Like, seriously, I don't understand.
I understand that vaping is considered a tobacco product according to FDA regulation but they are clearly different. You don't ignite an e cigarette, you ignite a cigarette. Emanuel hates Tobacco! He literally says that. So, what do you want to do to combat tobacco? Let's tax e-cigarettes through the ass to the point where people will stop vaping. What do you think will happen if you tax a product that much? They'll either quit using the product, find an alternative, or buy it where it isn't taxed as much (which Chicagoans probably already do).
Each option is going to hurt something and do nothing
Quitting e cigarettes is great! That's the goal of many e cig users who used e cigs to transition from smoking to vaping and then nicotine free. But what if they don't? They are looking for their nicotine fix, what else is available with nicotine? Cigarettes, dipping tobacco, snus, chew. The selection is endless and if they can't get their nicotine fix from an alternative like e cigs, they'll get it from cigarettes (that include all those terrible chemicals like tar and formaldehyde).
The final option is finding it somewhere else. Which makes your tax useless. On top of making it useless, it drains the Chicago economy of that profit. You can boast that the current tax hike revenued $772,000 last year. Doubling the tax will drive that revenue down because less people will buy that taxed product. Not to mention you can buy e liquid and vape products online that probably isn't subject to local tax laws such as this one. How are going to regulate that?
Overall, I think this mayor of Chicago doesn't quite know what he's talking about. He mixes terminology so much that it leads me to believe that he doesn't know the difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes. He also states that Chicago residents need "say no to big tobacco." E-cigarettes are not part of big tobacco so how will imposing a tax increase on vaping products "say no" to big tobacco?
I respect his admiration for wanting to protect his residents from the effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke. But he comes off very naive and disingenuous in this interview which makes me wonder where the money for this tax increase is actually going to.
But that's just my opinion. What do you all think is happening? Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you!