Alarmed by an epidemic of youth vaping, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday proposed a new California tax on electronic cigarette products that use nicotine and threw his support behind a legislative plan to ban all flavored tobacco sales by the end of this year.
Newsom is proposing an additional tax based on nicotine content that would be $2 for every 40 milligrams of nicotine in a product, which the governor said is equivalent to the tax on a pack of cigarettes. Included in Newsom’s proposed state budget for 2020-2021, the levy would be implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2021, and requires approval by the Legislature.
In announcing the plan, the governor cited a spike in vaping by teens that was highlighted in a recent federal report that estimated 5 million middle- and high-school students reported using e-cigarettes in a recent 30-day period, a significant increase from 3.6 million the year before. Experts say the new tax could make vaping products financially out of reach for some young consumers.
“It scares the hell out of me as a parent, hearing what I am hearing — what is happening in middle schools, not just high schools — and I think this vaping tax is long overdue,” Newsom told reporters at the Capitol, where he released his budget.
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