New Report Highlights Risks Of E-Cigs; California Prepares To Tax Vaping Liquid

Thursday, December 8, 2016
By Kenny Goldberg
Photo by Nam Y. Huh AP
Above: The U.S. surgeon general warns that e-cigarette smoking has the potential to cause young people lasting harm.

Tobacco control advocates in California say the U.S. Surgeon General’s new report on the risks of e-cigarettes is right on the mark.

California has already taken a number of steps to restrict their use. These include banning vaping products wherever smoking is prohibited, and raising the legal age to buy e-cigarettes to 21.

In addition, the state will soon will impose a tax on e-liquids that contain nicotine, thanks to the recent passage of Proposition 56.

Debra Kelley, with the American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said the tax rate has not been set.

“We deliberately didn’t specify how the tax should be assessed, because different states already are doing it in different ways, and we don’t want to put in concrete something that ends up being not a best practice," Kelley said.

Kelley points out Proposition 56 exempts other vaping products from the new tax, which will go into effect on April 1.

“So e-liquids that don’t contain nicotine wouldn’t be taxed, and neither would the paraphernalia that you need to use e-cigarettes," Kelley said.

But researchers say even nicotine-free vaping could be dangerous. Many products emit formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.