Louisiana Lawmakers Consider Taxing Vape for State Trooper Salary Increases
Louisiana lawmakers are considering a new tax on vape products and e-cigarettes to raise funds for State Trooper salary increases. The debate on vaping’s health risks and its popularity among youth highlights the importance of finding a balance between public health concerns and supporting law enforcement officers.
Over the last few years, there has been a debate on whether ECigs or vaping is better for you than traditional cigarettes. One criticism of vaping is that with the different flavors available, like birthday cake, cherry, and bubble gum, it could be said that manufacturers are targeting the youth market. According to a story at tobaccofreekids.org, kids aren’t just experimenting with e-cigarettes; many are using these products most days or every day, a sure sign they’re becoming addicted.
Vaping and Its Popularity Among Youth
In 2021, 46% of high school e-cigarette users vaped on at least 20 days a month, and 30.1% reported vaping every day. Flavored products are driving youth use, with 85% of youth e-cigarette users using flavored products. Fruit, candy/desserts/other sweets, mint, and menthol are reported as the most popular flavors. Kids have shifted dramatically to disposable and menthol e-cigarettes, two categories left on the market under current federal restrictions.
Vaping vs. Traditional Cigarettes: Health Risks
Tobacco cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and toxic to the body. They are the leading cause of preventable diseases and premature death worldwide. Vaping, on the other hand, involves inhaling an aerosol (commonly referred to as vapor) produced by heating a liquid typically containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. While the aerosol from vaping is generally considered to have fewer toxic chemicals compared to tobacco smoke, it is not completely free of harmful substances.
The Effects of Nicotine
Nicotine, which is present in both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes, is known to be an addictive substance with negative health effects, particularly on the developing brains of adolescents and young adults. Additionally, there have been cases of severe lung injury associated with vaping, although these instances are relatively rare. The long-term effects of vaping on lung health are still being investigated, and it is unclear whether there may be other long-term health risks that have not yet been fully identified.
The Proposed Tax on Vape Products for State Trooper Raises
Much like AI, it seems vaping is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. The House Ways and Means committee is looking to capitalize on the popularity of vaping and ecigs with new legislation to increase taxes on vapor products and electronic cigarettes, dedicating the first $22 million raised annually for raises for State Police.
“This is one of the most important bills I’ve ever brought to this body and let me tell you why. The dedication goes to state police. If we’re going to put a tax on something, to me vape is an ideal place to put this tax,” says Covington Representative Paul Hollis.
Proposed Tax Increase
With Hollis’ legislation, the current tax of .05 per milliliter of consumable liquid solution would increase to .30 per milliliter. State Police Superintendent Colonel Lamar Davis says Louisiana is falling behind other states when it comes to pay for their troopers.
Trooper Salaries and the Need for a Raise
“All of our bordering states pay more than we pay. I’ve lost troopers to Mississippi, to Texas, to Tennessee. And some to local agencies that are paying more than we pay,” explains Colonel Davis. Currently, the average salary for a Louisiana State Trooper is nearly $51,000 after their first year. With the current climate of animosity towards police, an increase in crime and mass shootings, Davis urges lawmakers to consider the sacrifices officers make on a daily basis.
“I’m asking that we consider the dangers and we pay them appropriately. And I will be the first to tell you, we probably can’t pay them enough,” says Colonel Davis.
The bill now heads to the House floor for approval.
- What is the proposed tax increase on vape products in Louisiana?
The proposed tax increase would raise the current tax of .05 per milliliter of consumable liquid solution to .30 per milliliter.
- How much money is expected to be raised for State Trooper salary increases?
The first $22 million raised annually would be dedicated to raises for State Police.
- How does the average salary of Louisiana State Troopers compare to other states?
Louisiana State Troopers’ average salary is lower than all bordering states, leading to troopers leaving for better-paying positions elsewhere.
- What are the health risks of vaping compared to traditional cigarettes?
Although vaping is generally considered to have fewer toxic chemicals than tobacco smoke, it still contains harmful substances and the long-term health effects are not yet fully understood.
- Are flavored vape products contributing to youth vaping?
Yes, 85% of youth e-cigarette users use flavored products, indicating that flavored products are driving youth use.