This will be the second time vapers have gathered in the capitol rotunda. The first rally, last September, brought together a huge number of Pennsylvania vapers, vaping business owners, local and national advocates, and news media. Sympathetic politicians spoke to the crowd and promised a push to change the law. But that effort fell short.
The law not only requires retailers to pay 40 percent of the cost on all products purchased after October 1, 2016, it also forced them to pay a one-time “floor tax” on all onhand inventory as of that date. It also requires private individuals making purchases from out-of-state or online sellers to declare the value and pay the tax themselves.
This year, Rep. Jeff Wheeland and Sen. Camera Bartalotta will again introduce legislation to reduce the 40 percent tax to a five cents per milliliter e-liquid tax, and to separate vapor from tobacco products in the state budget definition.
Last year, we told the story of Chris Hughes, who had to close his Montoursville vape shop because of the tax. Hughes said that the tax “introduces total chaos into the market in PA. It’s like flipping over a chess board, and scattering the pieces everywhere. There’s no telling what things will look like after.”
Now we know what it looks like: a mess. Every vaper who can get to Harrisburg Monday should make the effort. A strong showing at the capitol will send a message to legislators that this headache is not going to go away.