Dire prediction from smoke shop if tax increase on vaping products is passed

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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.

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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.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.