INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers have passed a bill to lower the state’s new vaping tax before it goes into effect.
The tax is set to go into effect July 1. Senate Bill 382 would lower the tax rate for e-cigarette cartridges from 25% to 15%.
“People who smoke should be encouraged to switch to them, and certainly making them more affordable will help achieve that,” said Alex Clark, CEO of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association.
Although some groups support the measure, health advocates and others are calling on the governor to veto the bill.
“We’ve been battling a tobacco problem in Indiana for many years, and we’ve been asking lawmakers to address it by raising tobacco taxes,” said Bryan Hannon, Indiana government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “And so to make this move, in that context, it’s even more troubling.”
State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), the bill’s author, said the change isn’t about lowering the cost of vaping products.
“It was really a cleanup and more of a technical correction to create parity between an open- and closed-system vape product,” Holdman said.
Lawmakers agreed to the 15% tax last year, Holdman said, pointing out the law will already tax refillable vape products at 15%. This legislation ensures all vaping products are taxed at the same rate, he added.
Lawmakers could discuss next year whether that tax should go up for all products, Holdman said.
“I think if we’re trying to decrease folks from smoking and the use of tobacco, one way to get at that is to put a higher tax on it,” Holdman said. “And I understand that rationale.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb still has to review the legislation before deciding whether he will sign it, according to a spokesperson.