A Georgia bill awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature will impose a 7% excise tax on vaping products sold in the state, and would establish that only adults age 21 and older are able to purchase them. Currently, 18 is the legal age to buy vape products in Georgia.
“Convenience stores and gas stations are routinely selling these items to children; they had no reason to enforce the law because they didn’t have anything to lose except the sale itself,” State Rep. Bonnie Rich told WSAV.com NOW. Her input in the bill requires retailers have a license from the Department of Revenue before they can sell vape products. “Now, in order to have the right to sell, they’re going to have to follow the law and they’re going to have the Department of Revenue investigators kind of looking over their shoulders.”
The 7% tax, if signed into law, would be the state’s first tax on vaping products. Rich said the goal was to put vape products on the same level as tobacco products, which have been taxed in the state at a higher level for years. The cigarette tax in Georgia is 37 cents per pack, one of the lowest in the nation.
The vaping products excise tax bill was passed by both the Georgia House and Senate and awaits Gov. Kemp’s signature. He has until early August to decide whether to do so. If passed, the tax could bring in as much as $9.6 million to $14.5 million in revenue.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), as of early April 2020 a total of 23 states and D.C. have enacted vaping taxes. This is more than double the number of states that had taxes on vaping products at the beginning of 2019. The tax structure varies by state, usually applied either as a percentage of the sale price or a flat rate calculated per cartridge or milliliter of e-liquid, but sometimes also as a combination of these two methods of calculation.
Vape companies, including JUUL, have come under fire in recent years by state and federal authorities for marketing flavorful vapes that enticed kids and using social media influences to promote their products. Vape companies have also been accused of not being forthright about the amount of nicotine their products contain. Nicotine is highly addictive, and public health officials have blamed vape companies for creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. Recognizing the critical threat to young people ensnared by nicotine addiction, and its effect on our nation’s educational system, our firm has also joined other nationally recognized law firms to represent school districts and public entities across the country in the fight to stop the school vaping crisis.