Local

Newsom “pushing the envelope” with executive order aimed at vaping

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday he would be launching a battle to curb growing usage of electronic cigarettes by California’s youth by signing an executive order.

Noting that he opposed flavored-tobacco products, specifically the flavored nicotine liquids utilized by e-cigarettes, Newsom said that he did not have the legal authority to ban them outright.

Instead, he focused on hitting the vaping manufacturers via the state’s taxing authority and a multi-million-dollar anti-vaping ad campaign akin to the state’s quarter-century-old anti-smoking campaigns.

“We’re pushing the envelope in this executive order,” he said.

Newsom’s order pushed California’s sales taxing agency – the Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)– to incorporate nicotine content into the calculation of taxes collected on sales of e-cigarettes. Separately, the order pushes CDTFA to study a nicotine-based tax.

During his Monday press conference, Newsom noted that the tax on non-cigarette nicotine products is 59.27 percent of the wholesale cost, while taxes on a pack of cigarettes is $2.87.

Using a hypothetical, Newsom argued that the tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquid, despite higher nicotine content, often can fall below that of packs of cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health was ordered to create standards for packaging of flavored nicotine to aid in the state’s targeted taxing efforts on e-cigarettes.

Public Health was also directed to initiate spending $20 million in anti-smoking funds for an anti-vaping advertising campaign.

“This is the minimum,” Newsom said in announcing the campaign. “I think it will be substantially higher.”

Both departments are expected to report back findings related to Newsom’s order in October. Similarly, the ad campaign will begin next month.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.