LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The State Senate is considering a bill that would increase the tax on vaping products in Kentucky by 25% to try to get kids to stop buying.
Botany Bay, a smoke shop in Lexington, thinks the proposed tax could put some shops out of business.
The owner says thankfully her store has more than just vaping products to save her livelihood.
“All of this stuff it really hurts. It has broad ripple effects,” says Ginny Saville, owner of Botany Bay.
Saville is talking about the recent ban of e-cigarette flavors, plus the minimum age requirement to buy tobacco raised to 21 and now, the proposed 25%t tax increase on all vaping products.
“If you only have a 30% profit margin there’s no way that a business can survive with a 25% tax,” says Saville.
She says some of her products she sells with the proposed tax increase would cut her profit margin from 30% down to 6%.
Bill sponsor Republican Representative Jerry Miller hopes the tax will keep kids from vaping.
“You limit the access to these products people are gonna just smoke again, kids included,” says Saville.
Legislators say the proposed tax would bring in almost $50-million over the next two fiscal years.
“How are they gonna have any revenue when they have killed the sale? They’re gonna get less money from me, not more. If I have zero sales 25% of zero is zero. The government is bad at math,” says Saville.
She expects the tax increase to pass but hopes it will be amended to exclude vaping equipment. If it’s not, she thinks it would kill the industry.
“If you’re trying to keep nicotine away from people and the tax is the way to do it, tax the nicotine. If your goal is to kill the small businesses, tax everything else,” says Saville.
All vaping industry eyes are now on the Senate.
Rep. Miller says he hopes to pass HB 69, which will shift the purchase of high nicotine and flavored vapes into ABC licensed stores only. He says this will give vape shops more business.