CASPER, Wyo. — House Bill 73 aims to impose taxes on electronic cigarettes and vaping materials in Wyoming.
The Wyoming House of Representatives passed the bill on first reading during their Thursday, Feb. 20 floor session. They would need to pass the bill on two further readings for the bill to move to the Senate for consideration.
House District 17 Representative JoAnn Dayton-Selman introduced the bill to her colleagues.
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“This bill protects our youth from using nicotine,” she said. “We vetted this bill very thoroughly, I believe, in committee.”
She said the committee had heard from education, law enforcement and health representatives as well as youth.
The bill would levy a 15% excise tax on e-cigarettes and vapor imported into the state by wholesalers for resale. The bill would impose a 7.5% tax on the “use or storage by consumers of electronic cigarettes and vapor material in this state” when the wholesale tax rate has not been paid.
Dayton-Selman said that the purpose of the bill was to ensure that e-cigarettes are taxed in a similar way as other nicotine products.
House District 43 Representative Dan Zwonitzer said that ensuring vaping and vapor materials are taxed in a similar way as other nicotine products is not straightforward.
“It’s complicated,” he said. “We’re trying to tax vape and vape products in a similar way to how we tax all other nicotine products. We tax by cigarette right now.”
House District 58 Representative Pat Sweeney said he thought nicotine products should be taxed per milligram of nicotine but that the Department of Revenue told him that is “virtually impossible on vape products.”
House District 13 Representative Cathy Connolly explained an amendment to the language of the bill recommended by the House Revenue Committee.
She asked the House to vote down that amendment which proposed lowering wholesale excise tax rates to 7.5%. She said the argument for lowering this proposed rate was because some claim that vaping devices are used to help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
“With a 15% tax on vape [we would be] one of the lowest in the nation,” she said.
Sweeney said he was in favor of the amendment, saying that he’d like to see this taxation rate set at 7.5%.
The amendment failed.
Sweeney introduced a different amendment which would protect the right for counties and towns right to regulate local nicotine use, such as implementing smoking bans. The same amendment would prevent counties and towns from imposing taxes on nicotine products.
“What this does is simply says that a town can’t just do an outright ban and not sell nicotine products, but they can certainly do their [public spaces] smoking bans in their communities as many have,” he said.
This amendment passed.
A separate House Bill 205 also would have raised taxes on all nicotine products, but that bill failed an introductory vote in the House.
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