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House panel OK’s tax hike on vaping, other tobacco products

The bill also would raise existing taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill to impose an excise tax on vaping products cleared a Kentucky House committee Tuesday.

The bill also would raise existing taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes. The measure would raise nearly $50 million over two years, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The measure advances to the full House.

Rep. Jerry Miller, the bill’s lead sponsor, offered a compromise version that would result in a smaller revenue gain for the state. Health advocates hoped for more but spoke in favor of the compromise during a House budget committee meeting.

Raising taxes on tobacco products not only boosts state revenue, it discourages youths from buying those products, said Ben Chandler, president of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Vaping — using an electronic cigarette to inhale concentrated nicotine vapor — has become common in middle schools and high schools, Chandler said.

The bill would not affect cigarettes. It would levy a wholesale tax on vaping products.

Currently, the only tax on vaping products is the 6% sales tax on most retail goods. Miller’s bill would add vaping-related items to the list of “other tobacco products” in state law, subjecting them to related taxes. The wholesale tax on those products would rise from the current 15% to 25%.

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