According to research reported by Lindsey Stroud, State Government Relations Manager, Pennsylvania’s 40 percent wholesale vapor tax is not only failing to curb underage vaping, the trend has in fact increased since the tax went into effect.
Using Pennsylvania as an example, since the state’s 40 percent wholesale tax went into effect, surveys have tracked youth use of vapor products. The 2015 Pennsylvania Youth Survey found that 15.5 percent of middle school and high school students had used vapor products within the previous 30 days. The 40 percent wholesale tax was implemented by Pennsylvania in 2016. The 2017 Pennsylvania Youth Survey found that not only had vapor products youth by minors not decreased, it had actually increased to 16.3 percent overall.
Not only had the tax not had its intended effect, it had actually resulted in the opposite of its intended effect.
According to reporting by The Heartland Institute:
“More data are necessary, but by all indications, youth are not deterred by e-cigarette taxes. It’s important for lawmakers to note minors typically rely on others to obtain tobacco products and e-cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found 86 percent of youths aged “15 to 17 years old obtained [tobacco] cigarettes by asking someone else,” and 89 percent said they relied on these sources for their e-cigarettes. These so-called “social sources” include siblings, friends, parents, and even strangers.”
As readers of VAPE News know, illicit nicotine consumption by minors has been an existing problem for decades before the mainstream availability of vapor products. Policies which target vapor products cannot and will not eliminate underage nicotine consumption, and this reporting is merely proof of the obvious.
*This article is reprinted from VAPE News Magazine.