Electronic cigarettes are exploding in popularity in Kentucky and around the country. Governor Beshear wants the state to get a piece of the pie. "It seems like it's really defeating the purpose of what we're trying to accomplish. That is to essentially give people a healthier way to do what they're doing," said Katherine Morrow of Tropic Vapor. What they're doing is inhaling nicotine mixed with liquid. What exactly is in that liquid has not yet been regulated by the FDA, but many say it is a safer option for nicotin use. "What we do does not have all of the aspects that a normal cigarette has. I feel like it's not the same so as far as lumping it in with a traditional cigarette," said Morrow.
However some who oppose e-cigarette use says there is no way to prove the e-cigarette liquid is safe. "There have been anecdotal cases where people have stopped using cigarettes from using e-cigarettes, but the fact is no research has been done that would prove that they are an effective or safe method to quit smoking." Casey Williams with the Healthy Communities Partnership disagrees that e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative and a tax would be well within a state's right. "E-cigs are categorized as a tobacco product by the FDA which will then give them the right to tax them as such. We know from evidence based research that increasing taxes on tobacco products will reduce use."
Some local businesses say the 20% tax is too steep and would slow down the growth of the business. "It's going to put a lot of smaller businesses out of business. Smaller businesses do create jobs. They are good for the community and that high of a tax is really going to hurt a lot of people," said Morrow.
Right now the tax reform bill is being discussed in the house appropriations and revenue committee.
Here is a link (http://www.smokefreecommunities.com/) for more information about the Healthy Communities Partnership
Tropic Vapor has locations in Henderson and Owensboro.