Minnesota uses strict taxation laws to resist nationwide vaping epidemic

Some states are trying to use the taxation strategy again―this time to discourage consumers, especially teenagers and young adults, from using e-cigarettes and vaping products.

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Minnesota uses strict taxation laws to resist nationwide vaping epidemic

One juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes—and it's the new wave of this generation.

One juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes—and it's the new wave of this generation.

Lara Cayci

One juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes—and it's the new wave of this generation.

Lara Cayci

Lara Cayci

One juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes—and it's the new wave of this generation.

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Historically, sustaining a smoking habit has been very expensive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $6.28. Therefore, maintaining a pack-a-day habit would cost you $188 per month or $2,292 per year.  Smoking-related illnesses are also extremely costly, taxing the United stated over $300 billion per year from both direct cigarette consumption and second-hand exposure. The World Health Organization estimates that a 10 percent rise in prices causes overall smoking rates to drop about 4 percent in high-income countries. Many states relied on this strategy to get the majority of smokers to quit out of necessity, and it was effective. However, there seems to be some correlation among growth in the vapor market and a declining cigarette market. While vaping has been growing in many states, the decline in smoking has accelerated. 

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Many smokers have since switched to vaping as a healthier and cheaper commodity. One Juul pod lasts 200 puffs and costs around 3 dollars each, while a pack of cigarettes last 75.6 puffs, (6.8 puffs each), and cost over double that value. From 2012 through 2016, e-cigarette unit sales in the United States generally increased as product prices decreased. Nationally, the average monthly E-cigarette sales rate, across all product types, increased by 132%.

While vaping has been growing in many states, the decline in smoking has accelerated. ”

Some states are trying to use the taxation strategy again―this time to discourage consumers, especially teenagers and young adults, from using e-cigarettes and vaping products. In Minnesota, E-cigarettes and e-juice are considered tobacco products and are subject to the Tobacco Tax, which is currently 95 percent of the wholesale cost of any product (including juice, cartridges, and devises). “In Minnesota, e-cigarettes and vapor products are taxed at the wholesale level at 95% of the wholesale price. They are taxed the same as tobacco products like chew, moist snuff, etc. Distributors pay the tax to the state and the total cost is passed on to the consumer when they make the purchase,” said Ryan Brown from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. These laws are comparatively stricter with other states’ vaping-related regulations, for example, New Mexico only taxing 12.5% of the wholesale price and Illinois taxing 15%. Also, only 13 states currently have statewide vapor excise taxes. 

These laws are comparatively stricter with other states’ vaping-related regulations, for example, New Mexico only taxing 12.5% of the wholesale price and Illinois taxing 15%. Also, only 13 states currently have statewide vapor excise taxes. ”

These efforts are being made in order to decelerate the rate of vapers. While e-cigs typically have fewer chemicals than regular cigarettes, they may still contain heavy metals like lead, flavorings linked to lung disease, small particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, and cancer-causing chemicals. Since many vape companies have been found guilty of marketing towards children paired with the potential dangers of vaping, the future is uncertain. However, with the Minnesotan laws being as strict as they are, the rate of new e-cigarette consumers may decrease just as tobacco products have in the past.