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The city is about to tax the hell out of e-cigarettes

By Clayton Guse
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If you're an avid smoker of e-cigarettes, a new tax is going to put a pretty big dent on your wallet. On January 1, Chicago's Liquid Nicotine Product Tax goes into effect, which will charge consumers an additional 80 cents per "liquid nicotine product unit" plus 55 cents per milliliter of e-Cigarette juice. With most liquid nicotine sold in 15 or 30 milliliter increments, the tax will cost the city's vaping population an extra $8 to $15 per bottle. 

The City Council passed the tax in October's massive budget meeting, and its implementation is being accompanied by a new campaign from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office and the Department of Public Health aimed at reducing and preventing "youth vaping." Regardless of whether or not vaping poses serious health risks, the tax is expected to bring in some sweet, sweet cash to help plug the city's colossal pension deficit (Chicago's on the hook for $672 million payment to the police and fire pension funds next year). 

The tax will effectively double the cost of smoking e-cigarettes in Chicago, putting the habit in the same price range as smoking real tobacco cigarettes in the city (which are some of the most expensive in the country). Vaping has become incredibly popular across the country over the past few years—many users believe that it's a cheaper and healthier alternative to tobacco. In 2014, Bloomberg reported that the e-cigarette industry was worth $1.5 billion. The industry has experience rapid growth because it hasn't been federally taxed or regulated, which is partially due to the jury still being out on the potential health risks and benefits of vaping.

This isn't the first time the city has cracked down on vaping. In April 2014, e-cigarettes were officially banned in most public places in Chicago, much to the chagrin of the jerks who vaped inside bars and restaurants. The city forced them to go outside with the rest of the smokers, and the new tax will force them to pay up just like cigarette smokers.

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