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Sin Taxes on E-Liquid: How States are Discouraging Quitting

Moves to tax vaping have been taking place across the country for some time now. The rationale behind this is often claimed to be discouraging the use of nicotine, particularly for youth – who are understandably more affected by such price increases. However, this explanation doesn’t really do much to hide what is likely to true motivation for such moves: to make money.

Sin taxes” raise a lot of revenue, and e-cigarettes – at present – are directly taking away from those earnings by drawing smokers away from combusted tobacco. Some have even gone so far as to blame anti-vaping campaigns on the loss of tax money due to declining tobacco sales. Viewed from this perspective, the rush to tax e-cigarettes and e-liquid seems to make some sense, but it also raises a challenging question: would taxes on e-cigarettes reduce the opposition to vaping we’ve been seeing since their creation?

The biggest question, however, is: how can sin taxes on vaping products be justified?

Why We Tax Cigarettes

The basic reason for taxing cigarettes is unavoidably obvious: cigarettes kill people. It’s been shown in many pieces of research that increasing the tax on cigarettes is an effective method of reducing smoking in society, particularly for young people and those with low incomes, and this is another core reason that “sin taxes” on cigarettes are popular.

There may be negative consequences for low-income smokers (because those who continue to smoke spend a much larger proportion of their income on their habit), but overall the move is one of the best approaches for bringing down the smoking rate from the playbook of tobacco control. The effect of federal taxes is slightly greater than that of state-level taxes, though – because when the tax rate varies between states, it’s pretty easy to avoid paying higher taxes in your home state by getting your cigarettes elsewhere.

Why Should We Tax Vaping?

The problem with applying this approach to vaping is clear from the get-go: with all the available evidence suggesting that e-cigarettes are much, much safer than cigarettes, can we really justify taxes on vaping for the same reason? Is discouraging vaping really a good idea?

According to an FAQ by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, e-cigarettes should be taxed because they contain nicotine, which they call “harmful to health.” According to the document, nicotine should be taxed because it poses poisoning risks, is harmful to maternal and fetal health during pregnancy and – following CDC rhetoric based on some unconvincing animal research – “may” have a long-term negative impact on the developing brains of teens.

Without going too deeply into this aspect of the issue, many things pose poisoning risks, pregnant mothers should avoid a lot of stuff that would hardly be considered harmful (such as hot dogs and Camembert) and the evidence for lasting impacts on teen brains (p 154) is limited (being classed as “suggestive” but not sufficient to infer genuine causation) as well as only tangentially relevant to taxes that would impact adult consumers.

The argument put forward in support of heavy taxes on vaping is that similarly high taxes on vaping products would reduce youth use and thereby prevent these negative consequences. However, such arguments betray an almost willful ignorance of the fact that almost all regular youth vapers are smokers (or ex-smokers who’ve quit by vaping), and that vaping among non smoking youths is very rare indeed. For youth who already smoke, the effect of nicotine exposure through vaping is obviously a minor concern in comparison to the abundant and unavoidable risks of smoking.

The justification for taxing when you buy e-liquid and e-cigarettes is then reduced to an arbitrary collection of claims not backed by the evidence, or at very least – like the poisoning claim – ones depending on willful ignorance of other, more severe, examples of products posing a greater risk. California senator Mark Leno justified a proposal to impose all of the regulations present on cigarettes onto e-cigarettes with the statement, “We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarettes use just like we did from traditional tobacco use.” It shouldn’t need clarifying that he has no justification whatsoever for such a statement.

The Unintended Consequences of E-Cigarette Taxes

So, perhaps the justification for taxing e-cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny, but it only gets worse from there. Taxing e-cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes is almost destined to have negative consequences. One of the most widely-cited benefits of switching to e-cigarettes is saving money. Health concerns are obviously crucial, but for a current smoker, the reduction in nicotine-related expenditure is an understandable benefit of making the switch. Imposing taxes – particularly ones as high as the tax on cigarettes – all but removes this benefit. Many smokers who would have been tempted to start vaping because of the cost savings will probably just keep smoking.

Any rational e-cigarette policy should have encouraging smokers to make the switch as a core goal, but taxes on e-cigarettes serve as discouragement, if anything. In the absence of any evidence of serious risk from e-cigarettes, it really does start to look like the primary motivation is an excuse to generate more revenue.

How Are E-Cigarettes Being Taxed?

The lack of rationale and the likely unintended consequences haven’t stopped many such taxes being proposed, so it’s worth looking at some of the proposed taxes, and specifically, how they’re proposing to tax e-cigarettes. As a new product that’s considerably more complicated than cigarettes, so far there are numerous different approaches to applying the tax.

One of the most common is to tax e-liquid by the milliliter. This has the advantage of being relatively simple and focusing on the nicotine-containing component of e-cigarettes, but it also drives costs up quite significantly. One example is a proposal by Minnesota that originally suggested a tax of 30 cents per ml of e-liquid, meaning that the tax on a 30 ml bottle would have reached $9. A different tax ended up being imposed, but it clearly shows how large such taxes can get.

Things only get worse when the tax is imposed for smaller amounts of e-liquid. Among the most ludicrous proposals to date came from Ohio, where e-liquids were attempted to be taxed according to their “cigarette equivalent,” which was classed as per one tenth of a milliliter. At the same time, the tax on cigarettes was going to increase to 11.25 cents per cig, meaning that – if both went through – a 30 ml bottle of best e-liquid would carry a tax of $33.75, the same amount of tax as 15 packs of cigarettes. Since vapers consume 4 to 5 ml per day, around a week’s worth of vaping would result in more tax than two weeks’ worth of smoking. This proposal – thankfully – seems to have vanished from the approved version of the bill.

Another approach is taxing the wholesale price of e-cigarettes, which is a more straightforward approach but can still lead to some significant increases in cost. For example, Minnesota’s tax ended up being 95 percent of the wholesale price for anything containing nicotine – in practice meaning that a starter kit would be taxed based on the whole cost unless the cartridges/e-liquid was sold separately. The same approach has been attempted in many other places, with proposals to date ranging from 24 percent of the wholesale price (as was proposed in Indiana) up to 80 percent of the wholesale price (as proposed in Rhode Island) or even more. Other approaches would use a similar strategy but base the tax on retail price rather than wholesale price.

Potentially the most absurd method is taxing per mg of nicotine. New Mexico tried this with SB 65, which proposed a huge tax of 4 cents per mg of nicotine, which would work out to almost $29 for a 30 ml bottle of 2.4 % nicotine e-liquid. This is an approach that would hit just-switching smokers the hardest, and is probably the most clear “sin tax” there could be – the more nicotine you have, the more tax you pay. Thankfully, this proposal also failed.

Are E-Cigarette Taxes Inevitable?

The question of whether we should tax vaping appears pretty straightforward: there is no real reason to, or at least not at a particularly high rate. Unless you support additional taxes on anything that could be called a drug on the basis of it being an indulgence, regardless of risk (which would also cover caffeine), it seems the only impacts of such moves would be to raise money for states and discourage smokers from quitting.

However, if you ascribe to the theory that lost tobacco tax revenue plays a part in the opposition to e-cigarettes, it appears that taxation could reduce the incentive to criticize and demonize the technology. Perhaps, as horrendously disproportionate as such a move would be, it could be that taxing e-cigarettes could do vaping a favor by reducing the motivation to oppose it.

This theory isn’t particularly promising, though; money isn’t the only reason people oppose tobacco harm reduction. Additionally, successfully fighting unjust taxes – as vapers have done in many cases – while still possibly giving some legislators a motivation to criticize the technology, would keep the cost as low as possible for the people who matter most: the smokers who are yet to make the switch.

The problem is that, with all of the taxes being proposed at present (at least 22 states have proposed them in 2015 alone) it does appear that taxes on e-liquids and devices are pretty much inevitable. It could be simply as a method for legislators to raise money at the expense of ordinary Americans, it could be to appease tobacco control campaigners or it could be out of a misunderstanding of the relative risks of e-cigarettes, but regardless of why, it appears that proposals to tax e-cigarettes are unavoidable. All vapers can do is fight them as much as possible.


Michael Grey
Find Me Here

Michael Grey

With a passion to educate through my writings and a passion to help others, I found my place here at Black Note. Being that I am a former smoker who quit smoking because of vaping, I knew I could help others do the same. Working for Black Note is a true blessing. Not only do I help educate vapers on a daily basis through my writings, but I am also enjoying the benefits of working with an amazing team and sharing an authentic tobacco solution with the vaping community.
Michael Grey
Find Me Here

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What is Naturally Extracted Tobacco E-Liquid?

E-juice, also known as e-liquid or vaping liquid, is the liquid that’s placed in the vaping device and subsequently atomized into vapor. When you go to buy e-juice, you’ll notice it contains a mix of several ingredients. These typically include vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), some type of flavoring, and nicotine.

VG and PG form the base of the e-liquid. VG is a component used in food and personal care products; its role in e-liquid is to create a thick, dense vapor. PG is another popular solvent used in a variety of everyday items. It carries the e-liquid flavor, provides the “throat hit,” and enhances the vaping liquid’s ability to soak into wicks or cartomizer materials.

Nicotine is an optional ingredient, often available in different levels. E-juice also contains some type of flavoring.

Black Note leads the pack of tobacco vaping liquid by using only natural flavoring – extract from real tobacco leaves to produce real tobacco taste. When you go to buy e-juice from other companies, you may find any number of chemicals used to create synthetic flavors that include fake strawberry, manufactured vanilla, and even man-made tobacco flavors.

If your aim when you buy e-liquid is to experience the subtle nuances, genuine flair and authentic taste of real tobacco, then you’ll be on the mark if you buy e-juice from the Black Note lineup.

Best E-Juice

When you’re going to buy e-liquid, it’s only natural you’ll want the best e-liquid. But what, exactly, does it “best e-juice” mean? We’ll tell you.

For starters, you’ll want an e-juice that doesn’t contain all kinds of strange chemicals and concoctions that you can’t even pronounce. True, even the best e-liquid will contain vegetable glycerin (VG) and proplene glycol (PG), which serve as the base of e-juice, but you don’t necessarily need a host of other chemical compounds.

The best e-juice will stick to natural ingredients, like real tobacco extract, rather than rely on synthetic flavorings, colorings and other additives. Diacetyl is one of those synthetic ingredients that has gotten a pretty bad rap, although its use is not all that uncommon for producing sweet e juice flavors.

Definitely read the ingredient list before you buy e-juice to ensure you recognize what’s on it. Better yet, see if the e-juice company offers a lab report to confirm what’s actually inside the e-liquid.

In addition to having as few chemical ingredients as possible, the best e-juice will have an amazing taste. For those who enjoy authenticity over imitation, the most amazing taste is the most natural taste, especially when it comes to tobacco. Since Black Note uses real extract from tobacco leaves, we not only avoid all those weird chemical flavorings, but we also produce the most authentic experience: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like tobacco.

Best E-Liquid on the Market

Anyone looking for the best e-liquid on the market need look no further than Black Note. Black Note tobacco vaping liquid ranks as the best e-juice across the board in every category, starting with the taste.

Black Note’s main claim to fame is producing a tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. That because we use real tobacco extract, not chemicals, to create the best e-juice tobacco flavor. Using extract from real tobacco leaves retains tobacco’s nuances and flavor notes, giving you the most authentic and multi-faceted tobacco experience.

In addition to being the best e-juice for tobacco taste, Black Note also has the best e-liquid manufacturing process. We spent years researching and testing various production methods, and finally landed on one that we believe is absolutely perfect.

It starts with growing carefully selected tobacco seeds, followed by an equally precise of steps that include an extensive natural extraction process. Even our bottling and packaging is done with the utmost care, using recycled and recyclable packaging materials to ensure our products are as earth-friendly as they are vapor-friendly.

One more category where Black Note ranks as the best e-liquid is with the value. Every order comes with free domestic shipping, one-to-three day domestic shipping guarantee, and a 90-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, or don’t agree we’re the best e-juice on the market, send it back on us and we’ll refund your money.

Vape Juice Ingredients

Vape juice ingredients can be pretty straightforward – or not. At the very least, most vape juice contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and some type of flavoring. Nicotine has largely become an optional ingredient that can be included at varying levels or left out altogether.

Vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are usually the two main ingredients that make up the base of most vape juice.

VG is a plant-based substance with the ability to produce a dense, thick vapor. PG is an additive found in many food items and certain medicines. It carries the flavoring, provides the “throat hit” and enhances the vape juice’s ability to soak into the wicking materials.

Nicotine levels can vary, as can ingredients that make up the flavorings. The components that make up vape juice flavoring are where ingredients can get rather complicated.

Vape juice that relies on artificial flavorings can contain any number of extraneous chemicals and other additives, whatever it takes to recreate the flavor the ecig juice is going for.

Black Note uses only natural flavorings: extract from real tobacco leaves. That keeps our ingredient list incredibly simple, backed by a lab report to prove it. You won’t find any strange chemical concoctions used to produce our tobacco flavor, just real tobacco extract that delivers a real tobacco experience.

What is the Best Flavor for Ecig Juice?

From strawberry shortcake to banana rum, ecig juice comes in tons of flavors. While folks can debate and discuss all the fruity, sweet or food-like flavors all day long, the best flavor for e-cig liquid is straight-up tobacco.

Why? Vaping was originally created as an alternative for traditional cigarettes, mainly for those who enjoy the taste of tobacco. And when you can find an e-cig liquid that is able to recreate tobacco’s full-bodied yet delicate flavor notes and nuances, but without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, then you’ve found the best ecig juice.

Recreating tobacco’s complex flavor isn’t easy, especially when it’s attempted with artificial ingredients. That’s why Black Note sticks to the real thing, extracting the essence of real tobacco leaves to flavor our vaping liquid. Not only does this avoid the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, but it also eliminates the flavoring chemicals found in many ecig juices. The end result is real tobacco taste, an authentic tobacco experience and the best flavor for ecig juice you can find.

Notice also we said the best e-cig flavor was straight-up tobacco, not plain old tobacco. Black Note’s real tobacco vaping liquid happens to come in a variety of different blends, from the light and airy to the peppery and robust. Not all tobacco is created equal, and different blends capture the specialized subtleties that make each tobacco unique.

Best Sweet Tobacco E-Juice

When it comes to sweet tobacco e-juice, your options can be broken down into two categories.

The first category contains tobacco e-juice that overlays the tobacco flavor with artificial chocolate, caramel, vanilla, fruity or other dessert-like flavorings. We wouldn’t classify any such flavors as the best tobacco e liquid, simply because they typically use chemicals and other artificial ingredients to create the tobacco taste, the sweet taste, or both.

The second category of sweet tobacco e-juice is where you’ll find the best tobacco e-liquid, sweet or otherwise. This category contains vaping liquid created using only natural flavorings, which is exactly where Black Note fits in. Instead of concocting flavors using synthetic ingredients, Black Note uses an extensive extraction process that slowly and deliberately extracts the tobacco essence from real tobacco leaves.

The result is the best tobacco e-juice: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. And if you’re going for the best sweet tobacco e liquid, we have a few tobacco blends that offer varying levels of sweetness.

Prelude is our sweetest tobacco e-liquid, containing golden Virginia tobacco. Made from fire-cured dark Virginia tobacco, Sonata is our Cavendish blend with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. Solo is our menthol blend, giving you a semi-sweet minty taste created from natural menthol crystals extract from dried mint leaves.

For the best tobacco e-liquid that’s naturally sweet and remarkably delicious, Black Note is at your service.

WARNING: Black Note products are not smoking cessation products and have not been tested as such. Black Note products are intended for use by adults of legal smoking age (21 or older in California), and not by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Black Note products contain nicotine, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients can be poisonous. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.