When Ohio Governor James Kasich attempted to include a 69% e-cig tax into his proposed state budget six months ago, vape shops statewide immediately took notice. Also buried deep within the proposal was a new requirement for all vape shops, retailers, and manufacturers to purchase a $1,000 licensing fee. To the surprise of many, the Republican-controlled state legislature approved the Kasich budget but not without first striking out the outlandish e-cig tax and licensing fees.
It’s not just Ohio vapers who are celebrating this vaping victory. Pro-vaping advocacy groups around the country have been watching this strange series of events slowly unfold in the Buckeye State. As state legislatures across the nation continue to debate possible bans and tax increases on vaping and e-cigs, even local governments like those of San Francisco and Austin are passing stricter local ordinances of their own that are decidedly less vapor-friendly.
Ohio vaping community defeats Kasich 69% vape tax
So, who is responsible for this vaping victory in Ohio? Many are crediting the Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA) and the Vapor Technology Association (VTA). OHTCA President James Jarvis issued a statement on the organization’s Facebook page shortly after the bill’s defeat last week.
“This afternoon the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate made their final votes on the two year state operating budget. As you’ll recall, in February Governor John Kasich proposed including vapor in the Other Tobacco Product category and raising the tax to 69% of the wholesale price. Additionally, he also proposed a $1,000 licensing fee for vapor distributors. We are very happy to announce that the legislation sent back to the Governor does NOT INCLUDE ANY TAX INCREASES or any other language as it relates to vapor!!”
-OHVTA announcement on their Facebook page
Oddly, Kasich is a Republican, and the vaping community largely considers the GOP to be very pro-vaping especially compared to the Democrats. For example, since Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election last November, many national advocacy groups remain hopefully optimistic that a repeal of the federal FDA deeming regulations will soon follow. After all, it was the Democratic Obama Administration that implemented the controversial regulations in the first place.
But just because a politician is a Republican does not necessarily mean that he or she is pro-vaping. Kasich is a prime example, but thanks to advocacy groups like the OHTVA and the VTA, Ohio vapers have ample cause to celebrate. The War on Vaping may not be over, but the OHTVA and the VTA seem to be extremely dedicated to achieving long-term victory… one legislative battle at a time.