According to a report by news.yahoo on January 4th, more than 30 states in the United States have implemented taxes on e-cigarettes. However, unlike these states, Texas only imposes taxes on traditional cigarettes and does not have any specific tax on e-cigarette products.
The definition of e-cigarette by the Auditor General of Texas is “a vaporizer powered by a battery that simulates smoking by producing an aerosol resembling smoke”.
This broad definition encompasses various shapes and sizes of e-cigarette devices, which utilize heating elements or atomizers to vaporize e-liquid, including nicotine, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavorings.
Although the nicotine in e-cigarettes comes from tobacco, these products do not meet the statutory definition of cigarettes in the state of Texas, therefore they are not subject to cigarette taxes. The auditor general clarified that e-cigarettes and electronic liquids do not adhere to the legal definition of cigarettes, therefore they are exempt from cigarette taxes.
However, despite the exemption from cigarette taxes, Texas still classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products in regulations, implementing similar age restrictions as cigarettes.
In 2019, the state of Texas attempted to impose a 10% state retail consumption tax on e-cigarette products. However, the bill was rejected in the House, sparing e-cigarettes from additional tax burdens.
The unique tax policies in Texas have attracted widespread attention, also prompting people to contemplate on legislations and regulatory measures in other states. The regional disparities in taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes remain a highly-discussed issue, and how different states balance their oversight of this emerging tobacco product will continue to draw attention and controversy.