Emanuel plans new sales tax on e-cigarettes, wants vaping products under counter

SHARE Emanuel plans new sales tax on e-cigarettes, wants vaping products under counter

Mayor Rahm Emanuel | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Sneed exclusive . . .

(Huff, no puff.)

Watch for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to wield his tax axe against Big Tobacco this week.

Sneed has learned Emanuel plans to introduce a City Council ordinance imposing a new sales tax on e-cigarettes as well as mandate that all e-cigarettes and vaping products be located behind the counter at retail stores.

Emanuel’s new proposal, which would expand City Council Finance Chairman Ald. Edward Burke’s (14th) ordinance introduced in June, would further increase taxes on liquid nicotine found in vaporizer and e-cigarette products, and extend the tax to e-cigarette devices that are packaged with liquid nicotine products.

“I hate tobacco! I really hate it,” the mayor told Sneed.

Adamant about curbing youth smoking and vaping, Emanuel tells Sneed he wants to increase the tax to $1.50 per container of liquid nicotine and $1.20 per milliliter.

• Backshot: The tax is currently $0.80 per container of liquid nicotine and $0.55 per ml, and raised $772,000 in revenue last year.

“It’s no secret vape products, particularly easily hidden, flavored liquid products, have risen in popularity in recent years,” said the mayor.

“We need to counter marketing to prohibit youth access, and I am committed to expand restrictions on e-cigarettes, supporting youth to make healthy choices — and protecting residents from tobacco,” he said.

“I remember how difficult it was getting my mother to quit smoking and how we terrorized her about it,” said Emanuel, who claims he and his two brothers, Ari and Zeke, would hide her cigarettes.

“I am not a smoker, my parents are not smokers, and my kids are not smokers,” he added. “Tobacco and vaping is a public health nightmare.”

“Under Mayor Emanuel, Chicago became the first big city to impose a tax on e-cigarettes,” said mayoral spokesman Adam Collins, who says the city— along with county and state taxes — has increased the costs of tobacco, “so that today Chicago has the highest combined cigarette tax in the nation, which has proven to reduce smoking rates.”

“We Chicagoans must say no to big tobacco, no to deceitful marketing hooking our kids, and no to jazzed-up versions of the same old nicotine products,” Emanuel said.

“This is my seventh iteration of going after Big Tobacco, and I mean business,” said Emanuel, who expanded Chicago’s smoke-free environments to include all parks, marinas and beaches, as well as more public housing, hospitals and college campuses.

In April, the City Council passed Emanuel’s ordinance requiring health-risk warning signs and posting the city’s “quit” line phone number at doors of all tobacco dealers.

“With these new measures, we will build to support the health of the next generation,” he said.

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