Las Vegas Sun – March 22, 2017

Business owners are pushing against a lawmaker’s bill to tax vapor products that contain nicotine.

An excise tax of 5 cents per fluid milliliter of consumable product would be imposed if lawmakers pass Assembly Bill 269, sponsored by Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas. Members of an Assembly taxation committee heard comments for and against the measure on Tuesday.

She said the bill is not about whether vapor products are healthier than tobacco products, but simply taxing a new product that’s come into the tobacco market through technology. Vapor products do not contain tobacco but do often have varying levels of nicotine.

“This is not a health bill,” Bustamante Adams said. “This is about a tax conversation.”

Bustamante Adams said the FDA will begin implementing regulations on vapor products and e-cigarettes, including a requirement going into effect Aug. 8 that limits these purchases to buyers who are at least 18 years old.

Nevada’s current excise tax charged on all tobacco products is $1.80 for a pack of 20 cigarettes or $2.25 for a pack of 25. Other tobacco products are at 30 percent of the wholesale price, which is what Bustamante Adams said she initially was going to propose for vapor products that contain nicotine.

She told members of the Assembly committee on taxation that she negotiated with industry representatives and decided to use the same tax rate that was implemented in North Carolina in 2014. Louisiana also uses this rate, she said.

Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada spoke in support.

“We tax nicotine in the state of Nevada, and we should continue taxing nicotine in all its new and evolved forms,” he said.