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House passes bill raising taxes on vaping 86 percent

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill aimed at curbing teenage vaping by making it too expensive to pick up the habit is working its way through the legislature.

Clearfield Republican Paul Ray introduced HB 252. During yesterday’s debate, he said only three percent of Utah teens smoke regular cigarettes but added the numbers who smoke e-cigarettes is a concern.

“We’re seeing a vaping rate around anywhere from 13 to 17 percent depending on what counties you live in, what part of the state,” Ray said.

Ray said the surveys bear it out.

“We’re seeing vapes being used from fifth grade on up, and it’s at epidemic proportions,” he added.

The 86 percent tax would be similar to what the state currently puts on other non-traditional tobacco products.

Representative Ray also shared personal stories of family members who have died or had major health problems because of smoking and chided tobacco companies for marketing to kids by offering vaping products in flavors like bubblegum.

But opponents say many people use vaping to help them quit tobacco, and making it too expensive will drive people back to cigarettes.

The bill now heads to the Senate.