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E-Cigarette Tax Tweaked by Council Committee

By Ted Cox | November 16, 2015 12:44pm
 Ald. Joe Moreno is making slight adjustments to the tax on e-cigarettes.
Ald. Joe Moreno is making slight adjustments to the tax on e-cigarettes.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Aldermen are tweaking a tax on e-cigarettes to put the emphasis on the volume of liquid nicotine consumed rather than the containers sold.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) called it a "crucial Issue ... right-sizing the amount we're charging" in testimony before Monday's Finance Committee meeting.

Moreno's proposal cuts the tax on a single container of liquid nicotine from $1.25 to 80 cents, but hikes the tax per milliliter of liquid nicotine from 25 cents to 55 cents

According to Moreno, the containers are increasingly being "reused" to restock liquid nicotine. Moreno said the change was necessary to achieve the original aim of the ordinance to "reduce consumption" of nicotine through e-cigarettes.

"We kind of wanted to get ahead of it while it's still a hot topic," Moreno added. "And I think it's the right thing to do."

Moreno said it was expected to produce the same revenue, $1 million a year, adding, "That's obviously, I believe, conservative." He projected that it would actually "increase over time" until it decreases as cigarettes of all sorts are abandoned and smokers quit.

The change was backed by both the Budget Department and the Department of Public Health, and cleared the committee without opposition. It was set to go before the full City Council for final approval on Wednesday.

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