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‘Not an essential need’: Pelosi spox defends her stance on vape tax

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A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke out in defense of a vape tax in the “Build Back Better” spending package that Democrats in the House voted to pass on Friday, saying that the practice wasn’t an “essential need for working families.”

“Unlike the gas tax hike Republicans tried to add to the infrastructure bill, vaping is not an essential need for working families, and there is significant evidence tobacco companies are targeting health-damaging vape products at teens,” Henry Connelly, a spokesperson for Pelosi’s office, told Fox Business exclusively.

“The bill simply ensures that the nicotine in traditional tobacco products and the nicotine in e-cigarettes is taxed at the same rate,” Connelly continued.

It’s a risky move to tell working families what their own “essential needs” are, and even more so on the heels of news that President Joe Biden’s promise that the behemoth bill would not raise taxes on Americans making under $400,000 was utterly false.

That’s right, Biden’s claims that the bill would cost “nothing” and that it was all paid for were just convenient talking points– real Americans could be in for a world of hurt through tax hikes, inflation, and now taxes on items that will impact lower and working-class Americans the most if the package passes the Senate.

The new tax would be $50.33 per 1,180 milligrams of nicotine, which is the same cost of small cigarettes and small cigars per thousand, according to Fox News.

American Vapor Manufacturers rebuffed Pelosi’s office in a statement to Fox News.

“Speaker Pelosi is wrong on the math, wrong on the science, and apparently has not even read the government’s own estimates of the public health disaster this vape tax will cause,” President Amanda Wheeler said.

Wheeler cited  National Institutes of Health-funded research which estimated the tax would result in “approximately a half million extra teenage smokers overall.”

“In the last few weeks I have heard directly from countless people who have valiantly quit smoking through vaping and are now utterly desperate that they will be economically forced back to cigarettes,” the AVM president continued, “Most of them are low- and middle-income Americans on fixed budgets. Pelosi promised those Americans they would not face higher taxes and now she and her colleagues are heartlessly tossing them overboard.”

Democrats claim that their bill will help the poorest Americans and struggling working families, but the data proves otherwise.

When it comes to a tobacco tax alone, the Tax Foundation found that increases in excise taxes on tobacco burden the lowest income earners 37 times as much as equivalent funds raised through income taxes.

Kay Apfel

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