Vapers fuming over tax proposal

WEST YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – The vaping business has been booming in central Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed tax plan is making the business’s future cloudy.

“My jaw kind of dropped with the 40 percent,” said J.R. Russell, owner of One Step Above vape shop in West York.

Wolf wants to extend a 40 percent wholesale tax to cover electronic cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The governor says the move would generate $84 million for public education funds and property tax cuts.

Russell says a 40 percent tax on ecigarettes would burn his bottom line.

“I think it’s going to drive away business, I think it’s going to stop a lot of people from being able to afford what we’ve been doing,” said Russell.

He did the math and doesn’t like the final numbers.

“It’s a higher tax, so if somebody is paying $20 for something it’s going to go to $28 for a bottle,” Russell said.

His doors have been open for two years. He says he has loyal customers, but at the end of the day money talks.

“I am definitely worried about that, and people are going to shop online which is going to put a significant hit on us,” Russell said.

“Forty percent? On this stuff? I don’t like that,” ecigarette user Lori Ashman said.

She’s not alone. Other customers said they will shop for vaping products out of state or online to save a few bucks.

“Online, out of state, wherever I have to. That’s an increase a lot of us won’t be able to afford,” Ashman said.

“Maryland is only 25 miles away. I can be in Maryland in less than 25 minutes,” Rich Hall said. “I definitely would and I would order online.”

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