Nevada lawmakers consider expanding tobacco tax bill to e-cigarettes and vapes

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Lawmakers are considering expanding the tobacco tax to electronic cigarettes and other new or alternative tobacco products. Senate Bill 263 would update how tobacco products are taxed in Nevada.

A committee looked over the bill Thursday, and the hearing has drawn a lot of attention.

Currently, traditional cigarettes and cigars are taxed, but vape pens and e-cigarettes are not taxed. However, SB263 would change that requiring vapor products to be taxed and regulated like other tobacco products.

It would also require sellers of those products to be licensed with the state for an annual fee.  The new revenue from the taxes and fees, along with any fines for violations would go into an account that would be split between health districts in large counties and a new “account for public health improvement” that would give money to counties without health districts.

Advocates like Jet Mitchell, who’s fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer say that the provisions in this bill will help dissuade children from using these new forms of consuming tobacco.

“I know that when young people get access to e-product, e-cigarettes like vaping, they start smoking earlier, and that increases their risk of cancer and decreases their life expectancy,” Mitchell said.

Opponents of the measure say the bill would hurt people who use vaping as a way to try to quit smoking.  The new tax would not apply to marijuana products which are already taxed up to 25 percent by the state.

Because the measure is a tax, it would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to pass.  If it’s passed it would go into effect this summer.

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