Public health advocates have been pressuring the government to implement taxes for e-cigarettes. They are also demanding significant funds to carry out anti-smoking and smoking-prevention campaigns, and are further asking that Ohio adopt a law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco to those under 21 years old.
In Ohio, 21.1% of the population smokes, which is a significantly higher percentage than the national average (15.5% according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)). The public health consequences are noticeable: the number of pregnant women who smoke in the USA is 7.2%, compared to 14.4% in Ohio, where infant mortality and lung cancer rates are particularly high. In 2016, tobacco-related illnesses were responsible for 20,180 deaths, a considerably higher number than the 3,497 opiate-related overdoses.
The Vaping tax: a popular but controversial subject
Jeff Stephens from the American Cancer Society wants Governor Mike DeWine to take preventative measures to fight tobacco addiction. Each year Ohio spends $12.5 million to fight tobacco addiction (over the last ten years, this number has dropped by over $22.5 million).
However, tobacco has been taxed in Ohio since 1893, and this Mid-western state reports significant gains from the $1.60 tax that comes with each packet sold. In the 2018 fiscal year, cigarette and other tobacco-related taxes brought in over $940 million to the state government. Vaping products are not subject to the same taxes, even though half of the population believes they should be, according to a 2018 study carried out by Ohio Health Issues Survey.
For Doug Kellogg, director of Americans for Tax Reform State, taxing electronic cigarettes would be a mistake because vaping is far less harmful than tobacco. Nonetheless, certain studies have shown that the consumption of nicotine is harmful to developing teenage brains.