PEORIA, I’ll (WEEK) – Illinois could soon impose a tax on e-cigarettes that would help the state bring in an additional $10 million dollars in revenue as it looks to improve on its services and pay down debt including a backlog of bills and $133 billion dollar pension shortfall.
In his budget address on Feb.20, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling for more taxes on e-cigs and a cigarette tax increase that would help bring in more revenue to support medicaid. But the tax that potentially could help that state might have an impact on ex-smokers that use e-cigs to quit traditional smoking.
Suzanne Peirson, a former smoker, and vape store employee at the Phoenix Premium Vapor in East Peoria believes that Gov. Pritzker’s plan to tax e-cig products at 36% of whole sale price will only hurt the very goal the tax claims to support curbing cigarette use.
Peirson said she smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day for 30 years but gave up when she discovered e-cigs.
“I breathe better, my taste buds work, my sense of smell works,” said Peirson. “It’s easier for someone who wants to quit smoking – to come into a vape shop – ask questions.”
“The long term health consequences of e-cigarettes are not yet understood,” Gov. Pritzker said in his budget address when bringing up the proposed tax on e-cigs. “However, the potential for long-term negative impacts cannot go unacknowledged.”
The smoke free alternatives coalition of Illinois says a tax on the devices will only “create another hurdle for adults who are trying to quit smoking” but local health officials aren’t sold on that argument just yet.
“The research is still pending, it is a relatively new product and so we still want that long term data.”
The Peoria County Health Department agrees that e-cigarettes, also refereed to as vaping tools were originally marketed for tobacco users, but some critics say its caused a new problem.
“To really decrease their dependency on that,” said Monica Hendrickson, spokesperson, Peoria county health dept. “e-cigs are now being intro level for youth in terms of taking on nicotine products.”