BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A relatively new industry is fighting a tax proposed in the state budget.
The Governor's proposed budget expands the definition of tobacco products to include vapor products used in e-cigarettes. It also includes a tax on e-cigarette liquid, which would increase revenue for the state at a time when tobacco tax revenue is decreasing.
The state cites the increased use of e-cigarettes among teens and an FDA study that found cancer-causing agents in half of e-cigarette samples tested as reasons to regulate vaping just like traditional tobacco.
Andrew Osborne, who owns a Buffalo vape shop and is the Vice President of the New York State Vapor Association, says the proposed tax would be bad for business for New York's more than six-hundred e-cig shops.
The Governor's original proposed budget includes a tax rate of ten cents per milliliter on e-cigarette liquid. It's usually sold in 50 milliliter bottles, so this would increase prices by five-dollars a bottle.
The Assembly then put out its budget bill proposing a tax four times that which would essentially double the cost of the liquid for consumers.
Osborne thinks this will discourage people from quitting traditional tobacco cigarettes.
“The problem is for smokers, and not just the increased cost, but the message that that sends from New York State directly to the smokers. They're basically saying if they're going to tax it at the same rate or similarly if they're going to regulate it just like it's smoking, then unfortunately for the millions of smokers all across New York State, they're going to interpret that message as vaping is equal to smoking, it's probably just as bad and they may actually be denying themselves something that could save their life,” says Osborne.
The budget proposal also adds vaping products to the Clean Indoor Air Act which would ban the use of e-cigarettes in vape shops.
Pennsylvania put a 40-percent tax on e-cigarettes and vape liquid wholesalers last year.