What to Watch: Week of March 6, 2023

6 Mar 2023, by Sara Westbrook Share :

For years now, the Idaho Association of Counties has supported the taxation of vape products, creating a parody with the tax of tobacco products and, more importantly, providing additional funding for youth prevention and awareness of the dangers of vaping. This was an IAC priority in 2022 and again this year. With the introduction of House Bill 199, we have gotten farther than ever before, but to get the vape tax bill across the finish line, we need the help of our members.

Please reach out to your House members and encourage them to support House Bill 199 and ask them to encourage the Revenue and Taxation Committee Chair Jason Monks to give the bill a full hearing. Here are some talking points on the dangers of vaping when visiting legislators. If you have data and anecdotes about your county specifically, please use those as well when advocating with legislators:

  • Nicotine Delivery Systems (a.k.a. e-cigarettes or vapes) work by vaporizing a chemical for inhalation.
  • The Surgeon General, CDC, National Academy of Science, and National Academy of Medicine have found e-cigarette liquid to contain heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles, and nicotine.
  • By-standers to e-cigarette users are subject to inhaling the same substances as vape users by being in the same enclosed area for as little as 10 minutes.
  • There is conclusive evidence that intentional or unintentional ingestion of vape liquid can be fatal.
  • Prolonged usage of vape products leads to a build-up of a tar-like syrup of vape liquid in the lungs.
  • There is conclusive evidence that intentional or accidental exposure to e-liquids (from drinking, eye contact, or dermal contact) can result in adverse health effects including but not limited to seizures, anoxic brain injury, vomiting, and lactic acidosis.
  • There is substantial evidence that some chemicals present in e-cigarette aerosols (e.g., formaldehyde, acrolein) are capable of causing DNA damage and mutagenesis. This supports the biological plausibility that long-term exposure to e-cigarette aerosols could increase cancer risk and adverse reproductive outcomes. Whether or not the levels of exposure are high enough to contribute to human carcinogenesis remains to be determined.
  • The impact of nicotine on the adolescent brain can lead to mood and attention disorders and brain development issues.
  • There is measurable evidence that e-cigarette usage in teens is a gateway to increased combustible cigarette usage.
  • Thirty states and the District of Columbia have already implemented a price deterrent in the form of an e-cigarette tax.
  • Implementing a vape tax would compensate for lagging tobacco sales and other fund prevention campaigns and treatment programs in Idaho.
  • Vape companies are implementing the same strategies to attract “next-generation smokers” as were used to market tobacco decades ago with a few distinctive differences:
    • Malicious targeting of adolescents
    • Use of popular culture icons to advertise products
    • Food and candy-like flavors
    • Claims of being a safer alternative to cigarettes, a cessation product for combustible tobacco users

Reach out to IAC’s policy staff if you have any questions.