Lawmakers weigh flavored tobacco ban vs. loss in tax revenue

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:33 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers are once again trying to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol. But there are continued concerns about the potential loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue from the products.

Some lawmakers say the vaping and smoking epidemic among young Vermonters has only gotten worse since the last time they voted on a potential ban. Now, they say they’re committed to pushing the bill forward despite the impact on tax revenue and small smoke shops.

“The only tax I can raise that no one cares about is cigarette taxes, and we’ve raised them consistently to discourage youth smoking and now vaping. Hopefully, we will lose tax revenue because they won’t be being purchased. So, the decision really for this committee is, you know, is it worth it?” said Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington County.

The bill includes products with flavors like herbs and spices, so clove cigarettes would be included. Meanwhile, vaping liquids with tobacco-only flavors would not be banned.

if approved, Vermont would join Massachusetts and California as the only two other states that have banned the sale of flavored tobacco products.

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