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E-cigarette Users Could See Big Price Increases Under Kasich Budget

Vapor Shop employee John Talmage talks to customers. The price of the liquid nicotine used for e-cigarettes could triple under Gov. Kasich's budget proposal.
Karen Kasler
/
Ohio Public Radio

Gov. John Kasich’s budget calls for a 23 percent income tax cut. He’s proposing to pay for it with a package of tax increases, including hiking the tax on tobacco products. But at least one segment of that industry says hundreds of businesses could be snuffed out by the plan.

The budget includes $1 per pack increase in the tax on cigarettes, and would raise taxes on other tobacco products as well, says budget director Tim Keen. 

“The proposal is generally to equalize the tax treatment of cigarette, tobacco and related products,” he said.

But that translates into real money at the hundreds of electronic cigarette or vapor stores in Ohio, which sell e-cigarettes and the liquids used in them. Steve Greenberg runs the Vapor Shop east of downtown Columbus. 

“It would take the price of a $10 bottle to around $33.” 

Greenberg says he sells products from other small companies, not the big tobacco manufacturers, and that the tax hike would kill many businesses like his. He also says e-cigarettes help smokers quit, but public health experts say that claim hasn’t been tested.