SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- The sponsor of a bill that would drastically increase taxes on electronic cigarettes is hoping this can be the year to get it through, but the clock is ticking.
The bill has passed the House and is sitting in the hands of the Senate.
Its fate must be determined by the end of the night Thursday.
Representative Paul Ray has run the bill for several years and come up short. He says the industry is targeting teenagers and that’s why it’s needed.
The bill would tax e-cigarettes and the juice at 86.5 percent. That’s the same rate regular tobacco products are taxed.
Representative Ray says driving up the price will keep the product out of the hands of youth because they won’t be able to afford it.
“They are directly marketing towards the youth. They aren’t even hiding the fact. They claim they are not, but you go and you see their commercials, you see what products they are bringing out…it’s completely targeted against the kids,” Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield said.
“It’s become blood for them, they don’t care who they kill, they are just worried about bottom line profit.”
Industry groups deny his claims saying they take precaution to make sure youth are not buying their products.
If the bill even comes up on the Senate floor, there is talk about lowering the tax rate.
Representative Ray says he’s not open to that.