Inside a lab in Daphne, Alabama, two employees of Cyclops Vapor are busy mixing the liquid ingredients for flavored e-cigarettes and meticulously pouring them into tiny glass vials prepared to be shipped out to Vapor stores around the world. The small Baldwin County business flourished synonymously with the instant popularity of vaping around the country. Today, however, owner Zach Carpenter is slightly on edge, as lawmakers in Montgomery add an e-cig’ tax proposal to the growing list of potential solutions to the state’s budget crisis. In the spring, Governor Robert Bentley introduced a 25 cents tobacco tax as part of his proposal. Since then, he’s added a 25 cents per milliliter tax on vapors that contain nicotine.
To put things in perspective, a 30 milliliter vial of e-liquid would increase by an additional $7.50. Carpenter said some products will more than double in price. “Why would we want to kill an industry that’s got the potential that it does?” Carpenter asked.” If the tax hikes the price of materials up as much as they’re wanting it to, people aren’t going to buy it anymore or they’re going to buy it from out-of-state. Because, if they can get it cheaper in Florida or Georgia or Mississippi, that’s we’re they’re going to go.” None of Alabama’s neighboring states have a tax on e-liquids, other than the blanket sales tax that Alabama currently has as well.
“If we raise the sales tax so much that nobody’s paying it anymore, that’s a rock and a hard place,” Carpenter said, fearing that many customers in Baldwin and Mobile counties will drive the extra hour or so across state lines to save money.”At that point, businesses are going to shut down because well they’re not selling liquid anymore.”
Angi Stalnaker speaking on behalf of the Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama (BEAA) predicts nearly 2,000 vapor industry employees in Alabama would lose their jobs. “The vast majority of our members have said they will not be able to continue to operate their stores if this bill passes. As a result, their employees would lose their jobs.” Stalnaker said, pointing out that her estimate is low and “if the proposal passes, the number of stores that will be forced to close will likely be much higher which will mean even more Alabama workers will lose their jobs.” Read full article
Emily DeVoe (23 July 2015) Vapor store owners fuming over cigarette tax proposal [news]. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/plop5hc