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Vapers Get Partial Win In Ruling On Pennsylvania Tax

Vapers Get Partial Win In Ruling On Pennsylvania Tax



Vapers Get Partial Win In Ruling On Pennsylvania Tax

A recent challenge to the notorious 40 percent Pennsylvania vape tax ended with a partial win for the vapor companies, according to a report from Pennlive. While the law still stands, the recent decision did result in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruling that the tobacco tax cannot be applied to component parts of vapor products when those parts are sold separately.

This could have major implications for vapers in Pennsylvania who have had to deal with the vape tax since it was introduced in 2016. Since then, many other states, including Washington State, Deleware, and Hawaii, have introduced vape taxes similar to Pennsylvania. However, shops and vapers in the state have been hard at work, looking for different ways to challenge the ruling and reverse the law, or at the very least, diminish the impact..

Pennsylvania vape shop East Coast Vapor claimed that the tax violated the state constitution by defining vapor products as tobacco products, with shop ownership pointing out that most vapor products, including hardware, zero-nicotine liquids, and non-tobacco-nicotine liquid variants, contain no tobacco at all.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue successfully appealed the original ruling, by asserting that vapor products are a “gateway drug” to cigarettes despite no evidence to that effect. That was the somewhat unfortunate, but expected, part of the ruling. But then there was a surprise: the presiding judge for the case, Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer, made an important distinction that could be good news for vape shops and vapers all over Pennsylvania.

Jubelirer noted that East Coast Vapor "has never alleged that the nicotine contained in e-liquid, albeit derived from a source other than tobacco, is any different than the nicotine contained in tobacco or any less addicting."

"It is, therefore, not 'unreasonable, unduly oppressive or patently beyond the necessities of the case' to tax a product that is similar to tobacco when it contains nicotine and is as addictive as a tobacco product," Jubelirer wrote.

While this ruling doesn’t completely repeal the tax, it does point to some of the flaws and loopholes to the original elements of the taxation. Separating the product pieces themselves from the vapor products is an important distinction that could have wide ranging effects on which products are affected by the tax and which aren’t. The DOR responded by saying it meant the tax could be avoided by simply selling the parts separately for final assembly by the user.