Louisiana Lawmakers Look at Taxing Vape/ECigs for Trooper Raises
There has been a debate over the last few years on whether ECigs or vaping is better for you than traditional cigarettes. One criticism of vaping is that with the different flavors available like birthday cake, cherry, and bubble gum, it could be said that manufacturers are targeting the youth market. According to a story at tobaccofreekids.org:
- Kids aren’t just experimenting with e-cigarettes. Many are using these products most days or every day, a sure sign they’re becoming addicted. In 2021, 46% of high school e-cigarette users vaped on at least 20 days a month, and 30.1 reported vaping every day.
- Flavored products are driving youth use. In fact, 85% of youth e-cigarette users use flavored products, with fruit, candy/desserts/other sweets, mint and menthol reported as the most popular flavors.
- Kids have shifted dramatically to disposable and menthol e-cigarettes, two categories of products that were left on the market under current federal restrictions. These shifts show that the only way to end this crisis is to eliminate all flavored e-cigarettes.
Vaping vs. Traditional Cigarettes
Tobacco cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and toxic to the body. They are the leading cause of preventable diseases and premature death worldwide. Vaping, on the other hand, involves inhaling an aerosol (commonly referred to as vapor) produced by heating a liquid typically containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. While the aerosol from vaping is generally considered to have fewer toxic chemicals compared to tobacco smoke, it is not completely free of harmful substances.
Nicotine, which is present in both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes, is known to be an addictive substance with negative health effects, particularly on the developing brains of adolescents and young adults. Additionally, there have been cases of severe lung injury associated with vaping, although these instances are relatively rare. The long-term effects of vaping on lung health are still being investigated, and it is unclear whether there may be other long-term health risks that have not yet been fully identified.
But, much like AI, it seems vaping is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. The House Ways and Means committee is looking to capitalize on the popularity of vaping and ecigs with new legislation to increase taxes on vapor products and electronic cigarettes, dedicating the first $22 million raised annually for raises for State Police.
“This is one of the most important bills I’ve ever brought to this body and let me tell you why. The dedication goes to state police. If we’re going to put a tax on something, to me vape is an ideal place to put this tax.” Covington Representative Paul Hollis
With Hollis' legislation, the current tax of .05 per milileter of consumable liquid solution would increase to .30 per milileter. State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis says Louisiana is falling behind other states when it comes to pay for their troopers.
“All of our bordering states pay more than we pay. I’ve lost troopers to Mississippi, to Texas, to Tennessee. And some to local agencies that are paying more than we pay.”
Currently, the average salary for a Louisiana State Trooper is nearly $51,000 after their first year. With the current climate of animosity towards police, an increase in crime and mass shootings, Davis urges lawmakers to consider the sacrifices officers make on a daily basis.
“I’m asking that we consider the dangers and we pay them appropriately. And I will be the first to tell you, we probably can’t pay them enough.”
The bill now heads to the House floor for approval.