Finance

House panel to consider vaping tax bill this week

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Wednesday that would impose a tax on the nicotine used in vaping, Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced Monday.

The panel will mark up a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.), under which nicotine from vaping products would be taxed at the same rate as nicotine from cigarettes.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the bill would raise nearly $10 billion over a decade. Suozzi's office said that the revenue raised by the vaping bill would be used to offset the cost of other bills the Ways and Means Committee is considering Wednesday that would require certain high-deductible health plans to cover the cost of inhalers, and that would allow people to use tax-advantaged accounts to purchase over-the-counter medications and menstrual-care products. 

The announcement of the markup comes as policymakers have expressed concerns about vaping products in light of the spike in teen vaping and the spread of a mysterious respiratory illness that has sickened more than 1,000 people and led to more than 30 deaths.

"I applaud Chairman Neal and my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee for acting swiftly and decisively to get vaping products out of the hands of young people," Suozzi said in a statement. "We must address this public health crisis now rather than waiting years to do so, as we did with cigarettes."

King said that the mark up "is an important step in ensuring Congress explores a means to end this epidemic and ensure the well-being of our youth."

Bills on taxing e-cigarettes have also been introduced in the Senate.

The Trump administration said in September that it is seeking to ban non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes.

Juul, a leading maker of e-cigarettes, announced last week that it's suspending sales of its fruity flavors. 

 - updated at 3:43 p.m.

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