The regulation of electronic cigarettes has been a hot topic among state and local lawmakers for the past several years. The debate over how to classify and regulate them continues, but one politician in particular is looking for ways to increase taxes on e-cigarettes.
Fiona Ma, who sits on the state Board of Equalization, wants to increase e-cigarette taxes in a way similar to how tobacco is taxed. As it stands now, e-cigarettes are taxed like any other retail product.
“If you go and buy an iPad at the store you pay sales tax. Same thing with e-cigarettes, so there is no sort of sin tax or excise tax on e-cigarettes,” Ma said.
The former San Francisco supervisor and assemblywoman noted that taxes have helped lower the number of tobacco smokers in the state.
“If we are trying to protect people’s health and encourage them to live healthy lifestyles; encouraging folks to increase their use of e-cigarettes is really contradictory to what we are trying to do as a society,” Ma said.
Advocates for e-cigarettes and vaping (as using the e-cigs is called) say that while no product that contains nicotine is 100 percent saf, e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco.