Governor Jay Inslee has taken a number of honorable stances in the past on topics such as raising capital gains taxes for the top 1%, supporting net neutrality and ending the death penalty. Unfortunately, on the topic of e-cigs he’s either misinformed or perhaps so intent on increasing tax revenues at the expense of the poor & middle-class and/or appeasing wealthy lobbyists, is willfully disinforming the public. So when it was announced that he’d be participating in a Reddit AMA session yesterday, I was curious about how he’d respond to questions about e-cigs that would inevitably be brought up.
Not surprisingly, his responses could best be described as lame, rehashed, unconvincing, and sparse. More surprisingly, a multitude of Redditors came out in full force to completely eviscerate every argument Inslee attempted regarding e-cigs. I would have liked to challenge Inslee with questions of my own but wasn’t able to join the discussion at the time it was being held. However, from reviewing the comments I can’t say there were many arguments nor counter-arguments I would have contributed that weren’t posted by somebody else. Congratulations to the Redditors for speaking truth to power and at least attempting to talk some sense into the Governor. Whether or not Inslee changes his course of action, at least he knows lots of votes and social capital is at stake.
Reposted below are a compilation of the highest rated comments relevant to e-cigs with Inslee’s responses highlighted in red:
Governor Jay Inslee:
I smoked for 23 years until I encountered one of the newer-generation vape devices. I was able to use it to completely stop smoking, and have been cigarette-free for almost a year now. My level of nicotine has consistently dropped in this period. I started at 18mg/mL, and am now on 6mg/mL (and soon 3). This has very likely saved my life, as well as the lives of anyone who used to be near me when I smoked cigarettes.
When the 95% tax on tobacco products was put forth, one of the goals was to get people to stop smoking. Now that people are stopping smoking, you’re finding yourselves short on cash because the tax revenue from smokers isn’t as much as you had projected. Instead of letting it be and stopping the unfair and unnecessary punishment of this particular group of people you are now doubling down and hitting their most viable exit strategy from tobacco consumption. Why is this? Why does one group of people get repeatedly unfairly punished via the taxation system? Do you think that’s legal? Do you think it’s moral? Do you think that’s ethical?
With vaping having no proven secondhand effects, the possible boon to public health is not just for the smokers, either. There are a number of public health officials who have stated this is vastly less harmful for the now-former smokers, and harmless to those around them. Why do we need to stop or curtail a behavior that is essentially harmless to non-participants?
On the topic of flavor bans, why are these flavors on the chopping block to be banned in vaping, but I can still get all the same flavorings in alcohol?
I vape, and I vote, and I live in Washington State. Thanks for this AMA, and I very much look forward to your responses.
I smoked for 16 years, vaped for a month, and now I do neither. WTF is taking you so long?
I’ve followed the vaping debate during this AMA. The diverse viewpoints show why this is a challenging issue. I respect the passion on both sides of this issue. And we’re gonna keep working on this.
I really hope that the tone of this AMA doesn’t paint the Vaping community in a bad light. As you can see, we are a passionate bunch and really believe in this industry. I hope that you can bring what was said here to the table when it comes time to make a decision.
Imagine being addicted to something you can get at every street corner, gas station, and newsstand. Now imagine, that almost every single moment of your day is bombarded by urges to satisfy that addiction. This addiction isn’t all the glitz you see in the movies. They don’t show you the hours spent over the sink, coughing up bits you swear were meant to stay inside. They don’t tell you about how you may want to play with your kids, or go for a walk, but that you barely have the breath to make it to the front door. Now imagine something comes along that makes this addiction less powerful. Now you aren’t confined to a recliner for most of the day, you can help your arthritic laden wife with chores. You can push your kid on the swing set and then walk home. You can smell the grass after a rain, or a fresh shirt from the dryer. You can taste your mom’s home cooking like you never could before. Your doctors tell you your oxygen levels are higher then they have been in the past 20 years, your copd is almost gone and that ache in your chest is no more. Now imagine some guy comes along, who has no idea what he’s talking about, tells you, that you have to pay more for this thing that saved your life. That “novelty” thing that gave you precious more years with your loved ones, the ability to be around for the milestones. We all know paying for the services we need is not easy, but we shouldn’t be seeking the funding from people who are trying to help themselves. It is not the right message to send, it is not the right mindset we should have as a nation.
As an employee of a Washington – based vaping company, thank you for keeping an open mind. Please do not outlaw my employment.
This is a good question and a reoccurring topic. I think you should address it Governor.
Does Alcohol even have a 95% tax, or any types of bans in the state of Washington? I don’t see any legitimate points against e-cigs, I would be pointing my fingers more at the liver killing and also additive alcohol, even if the point is trying to keep it out of the hands of minors. Statistics on Minors doing Drugs/Drinking/Smoking
I agree, it’s a pretty great example of the political myopia of the vast majority of Redditors.
Vaping “is a good question”, lol
Not really, he is getting astroturfed from the vaping industry.
Okay. It’s been asked all over the place. I agree it should be answered but this line of questioning is flooding out other important topics.
EDIT: Yeah, I know it’s all about saving lives and has nothing to do with people not wanting to pay more taxes or maybe people who sell the stuff being upset that it might eat into profits. This question should be asked but when I see the same question asked almost the exact same way all over, it’s pretty obnoxious. That’s not adding to the conversation and that is what downvotes are for.
Welcome to reddit, where we determine what’s most important.
Nice to Hear that it is flooding out other topics, that means that there is a lot of people that are pretty up set over this bill or issu
What is more important then saving a life?
Because this, to me, is the most pressing issue. I’ve been smoke free for almost 3 months. Vaping has literally saved not only my life, but my brother’s, and 4 friends at work who have all stopped smoking.
A 95% tax on e liquid is nothing more than an obviously transparent money grab under the guise of “public health”. If public health were REALLY the issue, cigarettes would be extremely limited and vaping would benefit from tax breaks, but instead what we’re seeing is fear mongering on the levels of marijuana in the 70’s (eg: the mice test and formaldehyde).
So I think it’s completely fair we’re seeing overwhelming questions on this issue.
Clearly the importance of the other topics is not winning out the importance of this one.
It’s also fairly small topic, compared to issues like transport, funding, education, energy, or the environment.
Not saying he shouldn’t necessarily address it, just that I don’t see why it should be a focus.
EDIT: What I was trying to say was I wanted to see all the issues covered. Sorry if I came off wrong. I’m glad to see he gave a good answer to the question.
26 people died from smoking related illness today in Washington State. Is that not important?
Anything his voters want to ask him about should be a focus.
Half a million people die from smoking every year. Half a MILLION.
This is no small topic. We’re talking about him taxing one of the best chances people have to finally kick a habit that will kill them.
Fair enough. But it still affects a lot of people’s health and bank account, which is an important human rights issue on its own. I don’t smoke, but I would rather people be freely allowed to vape rather than smoke cigarettes. It helps the entire nation in terms of lessing health care costs when people aren’t getting all of the negative side effects from tobacco.
That makes sense to me.
I just want to see more politicans do this in the future, and getting nothing but very hostile comments won’t encourage that. Ask tough questions, just ask them on lots of things.
It should be a focus, because PEOPLE die from smoking. Vaping is saving millions of people right NOW.
Fairly small topic? It’s fairly massive revenue, that the state depends on to continue it’s dysfunction.
I think I understand your concerns. This vaping issue is new for us. I understand there are a lot of concerns from a lot of different voices. You point out issues of fairness, equity and health. We’ve chosen to focus on children’s health to prevent an industry in succeeding in getting people to become addicted to nicotine. From your question, it sounds like you understand the dangers of nicotine addiction. We have to face the reality that there’s a large industry dedicated to increasing nicotine addiction of our children. In order to reduce prospects of children getting addicted to nicotine there are multiple tools like licensing of vendors and restricting childhood advertising. But the single most effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted is the cost of the product. We believe what we’ve proposed will substantially reduce the chance of our children becoming addicted to this dangerous drug while still keeping vaping at half the price of cigarettes. Our bill includes provisions if vaping products are certified as smoking cessation products by the FDA. The bill isn’t done. I encourage you to keep talking to your legislators about this. But inaction on youth nicotine addiction isn’t acceptable.
Thank you so very much for your response to my question. I really appreciate you taking time to read and respond to my comment.
The single most effective tool for preventing children from using vaping products is an age restriction on purchase, which I am highly in favor of. I won’t shop at a store that would sell these things to minors. Increasing the price keeps it out of reach of the least fortunate adults, who are by far larger consumers of cigarettes and other tobacco products and can least afford the preventative care to keep them from dying as a result.
One of the fulcrum points of my concern was equality. It is not fair, in my opinion, to repeatedly gouge a particular set of people using children as the reason. Is it fair in yours? You say you want to undo the regressive tax system in this state, and then heap this super-regressive tax onto the pile. How do you reconcile the two?
Age restriction has been working really well.
Also, the employee’s enforcing this age restriction. I’ve seen it in action.
I dont know if you’re sarcastic, but most people in my high school didn’t smoke until 18. Age restriction has most definitely been working well.
i feel like “making things more expensive” is WA states solution to every problem. Its why gentrification is happening everywhere around here. Vaping is to become the rich person’s device. your poor? fuck off heres some knock off marbs from china keep smoking while your waiting for you expensive bus that runs once every 3 hours.
Soon you wont even be able to go into Seattle unless your doing somewhat well financially. The poor are getting blocked at every turn.
EDIT: the best way to punish poor people is to take their money. King county and WA state are doing a wonderful job of that.
I was considering moving to WA due to my marriage being recognized there plus the gaming and weed tbh, is it not worth it?
Do you want a black market for vape juice? Because that’s how you create a black market for vape juice.
Have we learned nothing from marijuana?
The single MOST effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted to anything is EDUCATION, not cost. That’s just Governments wanting more of our hard-earned money.
Children are going to experiment anyhow. REGARDLESS of anything we do or say. I’d rather my child experiment with a vaping product than a cigarette ANY day. Most parents would agree with me, if they were educated on the facts.
Governor Inslee, this is a tax on the lowest income earners of Washington State and punitively takes their money for trying to do the right thing. There are far more effective ways to preventive youth using the product and as an industry, we want to maintain integrity and keep minors out of our stores. We are willing to work with you on this but this bill is the most regressive tax structure in the legislature.
Isn’t “children might use an e-cigarette” overwhelmed by “children are currently exposed to secondhand smoke from their smoker parents”? Wouldn’t it be better to get those parents to switch to an e-cigarette?
Not to mention emerging researched on third and forth hand exposure to tobacco smoke.
Why do you assume a switch when the industry wants an expansion? Wouldn’t it be better to get those parents to stop smoking anything all together?
Because that doesn’t work for everyone, or, in fact, most people. Quitting cold turkey has a fairly low success rate (which is the reason for the reputation smoking has for being addictive) and the rates for other NRTs, such as the patch, the gum, etc. are abyssmal, even lower than the rate of quitting without any aid at all. Electronic cigarettes enjoy a much higher success rate and users are less likely to go back to smoking.
But your story ignores the reality where the industry wants to expand the pie and not keep the pie the same. And pretending e-cigarette secondhand smoke is harmless is totally unsupported.
Please watch from 13:00 to 16:00
Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar, Chief of Staff at Trillium seems to think otherwise, and is quoting numbers from studies that you can find online. Spend some time on Google.
…And pretending e-cigarette secondhand smoke is harmless is totally unsupported.
You are simply wrong. The nicotine content is off the charts low. The other components are comparable to a fog machine and a waft of perfume in the air.
That guy’s getting paid by, and seems to have cofounded, an ecig company. http://www.180smoke.com/pages/team
And I’m not sure what studies you think he referenced. It seems the only one he referenced is one being funded by… an indiegogo campaign. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/e-cigarette-research-temperature-of-evaporation
Do you think that clip is really convincing? Do you really think it ought to be?
You are simply wrong. The nicotine content is off the charts low. The other components are comparable to a fog machine and a waft of perfume in the air.
Based on what? Based on an indiegogo campaign?
…Based on 10 seconds on Google, which is, I believe, what I suggested that you do. It really isn’t that hard.
From your paper:
Conclusions: Using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose nonusers to nicotine but not to toxic tobacco-specific combustion products. More research is needed to evaluate health consequences of secondhand exposure to nicotine, especially among vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women, and people with cardiovascular conditions.
Which is exactly my contention.
I think there seems to be a miss understanding, the “for the children” line is used way to much in politics and no one really buys into it. If there were legitimate concerns about children or minors using the products that are intended for adults, then there would be proposals and bills creating accountability and legal action against those people providing these products to minors and the minors in posession of these products. Respectfully, “For the Children” is a lie that no one believes.
As a parent I am responsible for my kids not the state Government. Thus the state needs to provide the citizens with true information and not false or misleading statements. I would rather my child pick up a e cig then a real cigaret if that time ever comes around, but also as a parent it is my right to protect and provide my child with information that is true,
Do you believe nicotine is a carcinogen? Because plenty of studies show it is not and the health risks associated with it are on par with caffeine
This is a blatant money grab hiding behind a false concern for child safety. “Think of the children” is a cheap excuse to give when you are talking about making an industry effectively extinct, as well as taking away consumer choice from your constituents.
If this is a new issue for you and your staff, you are really and truly trying to pass legislation on something you have no understanding of.
But the endless hollow cry of “It’s for the children” has worn thin as an excuse for more government intrusions into our lives and pocket books.
“What do you have when you don’t have an argument? You have children.”
I don’t want kids vaping just as the next guy, but what I can’t accept is that the arguments that you and your office are supporting are wrong. Nicotine does not cause cancer. Everything else in tobacco cigarettes cause cancer. There is no tar in an e-cigarette. This is all misinformation that is swaying the legislation to support your bill.
I’m struggling to see the reasoning behind flavor and online order restrictions if you are going to tax all products and ban advertising. Adults like sweet flavors too. I am a hard working person who can afford to use e-cigarettes right now, but I worry that when you essentially double the price of every product related to vaping, I’ll not be able to afford it, having to look to other means; whether that’s smoking cigarettes again or driving across state lines to buy products.
I can’t believe I live in a state where I can go buy an ounce of marijuana but there’s a chance I wont be able to vape.
Governor, isn’t your position on this subject akin to abstinence-only sex education?
We should be teaching children that nicotine is a very harmful drug with very harmful side effects, and let them make their choices. Taxing people who did not have the same level of education would be like putting a 95% tax on birth control but only for people who had children in their teens.
This vaping issue is new for us.
Perhaps gaining a greater understanding of vaping, before drafting legislation that would decimate small businesses (like my own), would make far greater sense than proposing a bill levying unreasonable taxes on something that you don’t fully understand. Reading through the remainder of these comments would be a wonderful place to begin, considering that links to scientific studies have been graciously provided for you by several thoughtful users.
This attitude is going to turn Dems, who previously would have supported you, into single issue voters. You’ll turn lifelong dems into GOP voters all to get your hands on $$ beyond the 500M+ your state is receiving from taxing cannabis.
Mr Inslee, I am calling B.S. on your statement of focus on children’s health. I have read through the bills and that is a smoke and mirror statement made to passify sympathetic none vape users
Gov. Inslee, if you think that any of us involved the the vaping/THR movement are dedicated to increasing youth nicotine addiction, you are woefully ill-informed. Maybe if you would listen to what people have to say instead of what you are told, you’d have a better understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish here.
I’m sorry Governor, but the “children” argument is bullshit. There was a recent study that showed, vaping in high school students went up from 4% in 2011 to 14% in 2014. That’s an alarming statistic and I can see why somebody such as yourself would be concerned with that. But it also stated that cigarette consumption went from 16% down to 8% in the same time span.
So I don’t really agree with your “save the children” argument. If that was such a great concern, cigarettes and alcohol would be limited to very specific stores and not available in literally every gas station.
Also, nicotine in and of itself is not very harmful. It’s more comparable to caffeine than it is to cigarettes in terms of bodily harm. By that account fast food should only be available to adults considering most deaths now are caused by diseases linked to obesity and poor diet and exercise.
You might want to have your team do some more research on what vaping and nicotine consumption ACTUALLY is before presenting a crippling double price tax hike on an industry you’re quite frankly very ignorant of.
Clearly this position is not based in reality because every terrible political idea I’ve ever heard was under the guise of “Think of The Children”. In debate, this plea for pity is wielded as an appeal to emotion which can constitute a logical fallacy.
Youth nicotine addiction is a maybe. Adults dealing with REAL tobacco addictions benefit from the affordability of vapor products. Inaction on adult tobacco addiction isn’t acceptable.
But the single most effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted is the cost of the product.
Seriously? While I don’t remember having mountains of money as a kid, I do remember what money I did have as being totally disposable. One of the perks of being a kid/teenager was that, for the most part, your living expenses were nil.
Kids, by and large, are horribly irresponsible with money, whatever the venue. Because they can be.
Governor, Do you know that nicotine is non carcinogenic and not much different to the body than caffeine? I worked for Starbucks for many years and we sold beverages that are physically addictive all day regardless of the consumers age or health. We leave that up to the consumer. Should we expect some sort of latte tax?
Don’t give them any more ideas
You dirty baristas selling that stuff to minors. think of the children when you addict them to caffeine. We must tax coffee higher, and stop flavored lattes. it will now be a felony to buy a coffee maker online.
Govenor I just read yesterday a study that indicated only 1.5 percent of children under the age of 18 have even tried vaping. There is no proof vaping is going to increase in children and we are tired of hearing this old cliche “What about the children” used as an excuse to justify legislating and taxing a viable industry out of existence. Most of the people who vape also vote and If I were you I’d start worrying about getting re-elected because of this type of outdated uneducated response to a reasonable issue.
I have read this bill and I strongly oppose of it..do you really think this will really reduce the chances of teenagers from doing what they want..not one person is going to sell this to a child,,this bill just wants to make money off this and make it harder for people to keep vaping.
Do you really believe that penalizing law abiding citizens, especially those who are taking a proactive stance in their own health and the health of those around, replaces penalizing those who break laws?
As someone with two feet planted firmly on the ground, Cost is not going to stop kids from vaping.
Teenagers have ~100 Billion USD in buying power annually according to tru-insights, which is to say that they have the capacity to buy whatever you try to make too expensive for them to buy. cigarettes, beer, illegal prescription drugs, it doesn’t matter they can buy it. You’re talking about a demographic of people with virtually zero liability or forced expenditures. They’re an economic loose cannon and you’re not going to tax them into submission. You can however educate them on what they’re dealing with so they can make an informed decision.
Is inaction on youth caffeine addiction acceptable? Yet Mt. Dew and coffee is available to anybody. And it has flavors that are enticing to children, no?
I would like to know how you come by this idea, "But the single most effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted is the cost of the product." Many children seem to afford $600 smart phone, $300 gaming consoles...etc quite easily. Their money is usually 100% disposable. I'm 52 years old and can't justify such expenses.
I would think the only logical measures are enforced age restrictions and education. Do you believe flavors and colors are pointed at sales to minors? People older than I, seem to get the most excited over finding a new fruit or candy flavor or a bright pink mechanical mod. Many find flavors helpful in quitting because they taste nothing like tobacco and it helps them to get away from craving the taste.
Shouldn’t the FDA be concerned with simply finding vaping products a safer alternative to smoking, rather than a certified smoking cessation product? That could be argued back and forth for years. I know many people who never plan to stop vaping as they feel they have found a safer alternative.
I thank you for your time.
Raising the tax isn’t going to stop anything, if anything it will make some vapors switch back to cigarettes and none of use want that. And the whole flavor ban thing seems ridiculous why should adults have to suffer when we can legally use it why not step up enforcement To stop kids from buying them and put a harsher punishment On adults that buy them for kids. Taxing and flavor ban isn’t the issue at hand it’s poor judgement And lack of enforcement On the laws already at hand
I’m a Washington resident, and started vaping with friends. It’s a hobby to me. I’m not addicted to nicotine, and do not have cravings for nicotine when i don’t vape. How is taxing a successful cessation method going to achieve keeping it from children? All of our local shops ask for ID when customers purchase any products, and do not sell to those under 18. All the materials that are essential to vaping will be more expensive than cigarettes, and will force people to revert to cigarettes.
Alcohol is also a very large industry, with many different flavors that adults enjoy. Alcohol can be highly addictive. Do you propose we attach a 95% tax to alcohol to keep it away from children as well?
No Politicians enjoy alcohol too much to tax it 95%. It’s a fat rich white man drug, it would be unfair to tax it, that’s how this country was founded remember? We only tax/prohibit the drugs the brown people and the poor people use, it keeps things balanced and fair for the rich white men.
The vaping industry has no interest in getting children addicted to nicotine. Whoever told you this is trying to mislead you. I have never come across a retailer that would allow anyone that was not of age to acquire a device. Your means of reducing the chances of youths getting them will have the effect of making adults make the choice of a vaporizer or cheaper cigarettes.
So what of the Eliquid with no nicotine in it? That will be taxed the same, am I right?
This is the problem with politicians who have no knowledge on a subject making decisions for those of us who do. Throwing around “it’s for the children” does not fly as an answer, any more.
As someone who uses nicotine (vaping) as a way to help with mental health (See these articles for pros and cons), I cannot accept this explanation. Smoking has been proven to be bad. Nicotine can be useful in some situations. Conflating the two is not acceptable. Please give this issue much more thought and research before creating legislation.
I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that I share your concern about exposing a new generation to an addictive drug, but raising the price of vaping will hurt those who are thinking about making a switch to healthier option. Not only will it be more expensive but when officials like yourself regulate vaping and smoking in the same manner it shows us that they come with the same risks, which is far from the truth.
What about accountability of the parents and guardians of the children.
The Vaping community is taking accountability, why can’t everyone else? Both of my parents worked for a living and still were accountable for their minor children.
Dangers of nicotine addiction?
There aren’t any. It’s used to treat alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease.
You would rather have children become addicted to nicotine via cigarettes, rather than vaping. It’s just that simple. You’re taxing it to offset looming tobacco bond issues.
What you have proposed will do nothing but close down stores, put thousands of people out of work, and kill an untold number of them as they switch back to cigarettes.
Shame on you.
Not to mention when the adults go back to smoking a tobacco product they will be doing it in their homes-the effects of 2nd hand smoke is very harmful, especially to children.
Speaking of Nicotine, how would you respond to studies that say that nicotine is no more addicting or harmful than caffeine? If that is the case would you propose legislation against soda, coffee, and energy drinks? Or perhaps fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, or cauliflower?
Are there really studies that say nicotine is less addicting than caffeine? I would love to read them if you could provide them.
It’s important to note than when vaping the only addictive substance is the nicotine. There’s propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin to produce the vapor.
Cigarettes have many other addictive chemicals. Tobacco itself also has other potentially addictive chemicals “Animal studies by NIDA-funded researchers have shown that acetaldehyde, another chemical found in tobacco smoke, dramatically increases the reinforcing properties of nicotine and may also contribute to tobacco addiction.”
With vaping, you’re just getting the nicotine.
Oh… Well, I was expecting peer reviewed articles.. and something more recent than 20 years ago. I do find it interesting, though- Essentially stating that nicotine is not an addiction, but the habit of smoking is.. So while they’re highly dependent on it, they are not “addicted” in quite the same way as somebody doing heavier drugs.
Governor Inslee, when you say “The single most effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted is the cost of the product” Do you not believe that education is a greater tool?
Also, when you say, “We believe what we’ve proposed will substantially reduce the chance of our children becoming addicted to this dangerous drug” do you have any real evidence that nicotine, not tobacco, is more dangerous to minors than other drugs like caffeine, that minors can currently buy in energy drinks?
Children are far more likely to fall victim to sugar addiction, which is very harmful and can lead to obesity, diabetes and a whole host of other health concerns, yet I do not see you taxing products containing high amounts of sugar. Your response is nonsensical.
With that mentality, you should ban water, because if a kid (or anyone) drinks TOO much water, the pH balance in your body gets screwed up, and then you die. Your explaination of why you want to tax e-cig supplies is weak, and no one is buying it.
but also has the most unfair tax system in the nation.
Certainly seems like you plan on keeping it that way. Taxing an item that many adults enjoy “for the children” is a ridiculous statement. You certainly don’t understand our concerns.
Hey Governor Islee, I’m a young adult from South Carolina. I don’t live in Washington state, and I’m far from it. However, I strongly disagree with your view of taxing juices 95%.
I wholeheartedly agree that anyone under the age of 18 shouldn’t be vaping. By all means, license the vendors and restrict advertising to children. I’ve not seen any advertising targeted towards children in my area.
I have no qualms with a tax on vaping, but I disagree with imposing such a harsh tax. A tax like this is just going to hurt the vape stores in Washington state. I see no need to impose such a high tax.
I used to smoke cigarettes before I started vaping. It helped me kick the habit. Vaping is much better for my health than smoking ever was. I’m an adult, and I understand the addictive nature of nicotine. I am concerned with such a high tax being imposed in Washington because it is a rather progressive state. I don’t want to see such taxes following in other states.
I wouldn’t mind a tax in the range of 10-30%. It still provides revenue. A 95% tax isn’t going to stop young adults from vaping or smoking. It will just hurt the vaping industry in your state, and it might keep people smoking cigarettes.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
An additional tax targeting just this product would be a fine example of “the slippery slope”. As a product it shouldn’t be taxed any differently than a soda or a loaf of bread. Once a tax category has been legislate it becomes very easy to increase tax on only that category. Alcohol and cigarette taxes are a fine example of this practice. Now I feel like sound like an NRA spokesperson, dammit.
Since when is nicotine, at the end user consumer level, a dangerous drug? Can you tell me how many people have died from nicotine?
Nicotine in itself is not harmful, nor is it very addictive. Cigarettes are addictive. The cigarette is the most engineered and complicated drug delivery system known to man. Nicotine is only one of those drugs, though it gets all the blame. Cigarettes form dependency through the manipulation, potentiation, and addition of other compounds that strengthen a nicotine habit exponentially. They are the enemy, not vapor products.
Would you rather young people start smoking or start vaping?
But the single most effective tool to prevent children from becoming addicted is the cost of the product.
Governor, I am not a resident of WA state but I would like to share my story and a comment. I am late to the party but perhaps it will still be seen.
First the comment. The barrier to entry is already significant for vaping, mods (batteries) are not cheap and even basic low quality starter kits are $40 – $60. Generally not the kind of money children have easy access to. I’ve also seen plenty of young people buying cigarettes, so the taxes there haven’t done much but punish the working poor. That said I am in support of reasonable legislation for controlling access and reducing risk. Age restrictions, licensing, state health inspections of manufacturing facilities are all good controls if done reasonably.
Story time. I started smoking 30 yrs ago, and had a pack a day habit for most of that time. I picked up vaping after watching the technology improve over the last 5 years or so as an attempt to quit tobacco. Within 1 month I was completely converted, I have not smoked a cigarette in several months, the last one I had I hated. I feel better and breathe better now than I have in years. I’ve lowered my nicotine levels in the last year and will likely step down again soon. I cannot believe that vaping is more harmful then tobacco use.
So each and every company in the vape industry is “dedicated to increasing nicotine addiction of our children”? DEDICATED? Is that the proper phrase to describe folks working in the vaping community? No one in this business except the Large tobacco companies are dedicated to getting new smokers, you know why? Because their product kills 50% of its users.
Your bill would close off the market for local, responsible companies looking to stop the spread of tobacco use by using a 98% less harmful method, and replacing them with the big corporate models backed by the tobacco industry, who WILL target your kids.
You are shooting the dog that protects the chicks, and letting the wolf in the coop my friend.
I’m going to add myself to the many outcries that have already been voiced on this subject. These sin taxes are getting completely out of control. We’re stifling markets and pushing people into more harmful alternatives all because it seems some find it distasteful, or are simply ignorant of the facts. Please don’t add to our broken regressive tax system — you’re supposed to be fixing this mess.
Washington state is trying to put a 95% tax on e-cigarettes, not only that but banning online sales and the use of flavored ejuice (other then tobacco, menthol, spearmint, wintergreen). For my business I’m employed at this tax hike would put us out of business and or force us to relocate. In my mind creating a 95% tax to make more money for the state wouldn’t help. most small businesses wouldn’t be able to afford to pay their employees and ultimately make them close their doors, and force the bigger businesses like mount baker vapor move out of state. Their for making the bill worthless. Hurting small businesses isn’t the answer, it would just create more problems and a longer unemployment line. Why hurt a product and a industry that it helping people stop smoking?
If the proposed 95% tax on all vapor related supplies is really about controlling youth usage, wouldn’t that be addressed in the other bill regarding youth access? It doesn’t seem very fair to tax users and vendors for an already illegal act.
Hi Mr Inslee, with HB1645 still on the table and very much live, I am one that opposes this bill. I have read through the 24 page report on this bill and see nothing but a money hungry government that is backing this bill. It is very clear that any tax’s that would be collected are going right into the general fund, thus a slush pot to the tune $125million by 2021. Our lotto money is already going into this pot and not into the education that it was supposed to go into when the lottery was formed. So my question is why is it so important for you to take business’s that are already giving back 9.5% in sales tax, and inflate the cost of a help product that has helped literally millions of people stop smoking and created thousands of job. Why must our industry take 10 steps back?
I voted for you and up until you proposed a 95% tax on vapor products and other regulation that will effectively hand over all vapor business to large out-of-state corporations, close many small businesses in WA and make what is a great public health boon into an underground market, I was happy I did.
Where did you get your information regarding vapor products? Did you conduct any of your own research? Are your large campaign donors urging you to take the stance on vaping that you have? Why punish adults who are choosing to better their health by quitting cigarettes via vapor products? What is more important, tax revenue that could be collected elsewhere or the health of the citizens of WA?
What evidence are you using to support a 95% tax on vape products? Since that action suggests that you want people to quit vaping, are you prepared to deal with the public health consequences of most of those people going back to smoking? How do you justify eliminating a smoking cessation aid from the market? Also have you consered the ammount of people who will be on food stamps and other public asst when the shops they work for close due to the tax?
Hi Governor Inslee, I just wonder why you feel a 95% tax is so appropriate for eliquid. Do you realize that would potentially put a lot of hard working and caring vape shop owners out of business and cost the state money? It will put people out of jobs. These people that are employed and spend their earnings in our state. Please reconsider hb1645. Thank you for your time.
I’m writing specifically to address the proposed 95% tax on E-Cigarette and other personal vaporizors. I am a twenty-eight year old former smoker, and as a smoker, I consumed between thirty and forty filterless cigarettes a day for several years. The damage I was doing to my body and the bodies of those near me is well documented and unanimously recognized by laymen and experts. Cigarettes are unhealthy because of the smoke, the burning of organic matter makes them wholly unhealthy. Chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde, acetone, and polonium enter the body during the combustion of tobacco through cigarette smoke. Polonium, specifically, is highly radio active. During the vaporization of e-liquids, none of those are present with the exception of formaldehyde. According to a recent study, vapor produced by e-cigarettes contains excessive amounts of formaldehyde. After reading the horrifying study, I was relieved. Relieved because, they proved that I am not inhaling formaldehyde. The device they used was not able to wick the e-liquid quickly enough and the silica wick incased in the CE-4 tank was infact burning. In my personal experience, this is not something anyone I have ever vaped around likes doing, and would never go out of their way to do. I encourage the research of this technology. I like vaping and want to know exactly what I am putting in my body. Certain regulations based upon unbiased study can actually be extremely beneficial to our community. Most prohibitive taxes are geared to protect the health of children. Personally, as a liberal, I believe there is nothing more important for a government to do for its people than ensure that they will carry on, as a people. Clearly the aim of this tax would be to do exactly that. The aim is obviously well meaning, but in the wrong direction. Over ninety percent of smokers begin as a teenager; the majority of which start under the age of 18. Even more, the majority of high school students have tried smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Taxing or prohibiting any substance will barely hinder, let alone stop, the use of said substance by teens. By making e-cigarettes less available and more expensive, we as a people run the risk of turning more former smokers back into smokers. While I do not want to see children or teens get turned on to any drug, including nicotine or caffeine I absolutely do not want to limit the availablity of these potentially life saving and absolutely life improving products to adults over the age of 18. This tax would do exactly that. The last several years have been a dark economic time for the United States, but more importantly Grays Harbor. My home. It is no surprise that rural areas get hit the hardest during economic hardship and the effects are obviously magnified intensly. Since 2009, five e-cigarette shops have opened in our county. Five shops that employ residents. Residents that pay taxes, support families and buy goods in Grays Harbor. This new industry has served as a catalyst to a small but present boost in our local economy, and undoubtedly the state’s. To excessively tax these products, would surely put the majority of these shops out of business and could potentially land more people in the unemployment lines and into the cycle of a welfare system that is already heavily strained, effecting education, municipalities and the role of our public servants in an incredibly negative way. I am one person, but I speak for myself and a community of people who have chosen a safer alternative. Will you please reconsider this excessive and damaging tax, on behalf of the people you have been elected to represent? Aaron Cain
Can you explain why Washington is attempting to regulate Electronic Cigarettes with HB1645 when the FDA has made no ruling on whether this device is truely a tobacco or harmful product. In fact, the FDA released a press release stating that states SHOULD NOT implement any standards until there is more scientific evidence instead of acting off of “fear”. Why would the FDA inform each state publicly this information if this bill assumes its a “tobacco” product.
My next question is will taxing these products really help discourage younger adults to not purchase these devices?
Lastly, what Scientific evidence has your office provided that Electronic Cigarettes are in fact harmful?
Thank you for your time,
Andrew (Washington State Resident)
Governor Inslee. I smoked for over 50 years. 2-3 packs per day and thanks to vaping I am now cigarette free. I’m 68 years young and never felt better. My question is: Are you willing to force vaping business’s out of business because of your tax and deny other smokers the opportunity to find a viable way to stop smoking? I personally find this tax to be irresponsible and opressive, especially when the medical profession is starting to prove vaping is helping. see attached study recently released from Italy: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/13/54
Thanks for being here! Man, I had no idea that the only thing that mattered in WA was vaping, and not our insanely regressive taxes, crumbling infrastructure, tremendous revenue deficit, or the fact that our social service systems were being dismantled…
Anyway, I have two questions for you.
First, I know that you love to draw and often give sketches out to people. Will you draw a picture for us?
Second, I was wondering if you had seen any of the work that came out of California on how investments in affordable housing connected to transit is a key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (http://www.housingca.org/#!cap-and-trade/c1rev), and if anything like that was included in your cap-and-trade proposal?
For the record, the tax proposal on vaping is an extremely regressive tax taking $125 million from the lowest income earners in Washington. We are passionate about preventing the Governor from pushing this through on people that need the most help.
Vaping is SAVING LIVES. Perhaps you don’t know anyone afflicted.
Why are you trying to tax Washington State’s LOWEST INCOME EARNERS out of $125 MILLION in the vapor products tax when they are trying to do the right thing by quitting smoking? Washington is known as a progressive state but this is the most regressive tax proposal in the legislature this session.
What evidence are you using to support a 95% tax on vape products? Since that action suggests that you want people to quit vaping, are you prepared to deal with the public health consequences of most of those people going back to smoking? How do you justify eliminating a smoking cessation aid from the market?
Governor Inslee, I watched the public comment hearing this week on vaping products and I am astonished at the misinformation that was represented by state run organizations who are against a product and industry that are helping people quit smoking. I want a real explanation from you as to why you would want to harshly tax and ban a product that is less harmful than traditional cigarettes, not just a canned response about the kids. What do you have against E-cigarettes?
Hi Governor Inslee,
Firstly thank you for participating in this medium as a way to reach out to the populace of Washington State. I am a registered, and active voter.
My line of questioning has to do with the proposed 95% tax on vapor products. 1.) Why are you trying to kill the adults in Washington State who use tobacco? This bill is an obvious deterrent from caring for the health of tobacco users. 2.) Why do you insist on punishing an emerging industry, to cover the inability of House and Senate leaders to spend tax dollars wisely? 3.) You state that you want to ensure that vapor products are out of the hands of Minors, yet you refuse to hold the providing parties accountable (parents, friends, etc. who purchase products for minors). Why? 4.) Why do you support politics over science? The science and research is available and proves, time and again, that electronic cigarettes are significantly safer than smoking. 5.) Why is the state taking a combative approach to this industry which is trying to help people get away from tobacco? 6.) Is this bill an attempt to cover up poor planning by relying on revenue from tobacco? 7.) Why is Washington state one of the lowest ranked states in contributions and programs for smoking cessation?
I missed the ama, but let me tell you a very short story.
I was a pack a day smoker for 15 years.
In two days I put them down for good. My device, under the new tax plan would have cost over $100 (more than the cost of 3 cartons of my old cigarettes King Mountain on the reservation price)
Two days to give up an ingrained habit. I’m not inhaling tar or MAOIs. Subsequently I’ve been able to exercise and not feel like I’m dying.
I’ve already dropped my nicotine levels from 18mg to 6mg. It works as a smoking cessation device, even if the FDA won’t approve it as such.