SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– The legislative session is coming to a close and one industry fears their jobs may look different once the end of May arrives.
Vaping advocates are hoping some new proposals do not send their businesses up in smoke.
With lawmakers including vaping products in Tobacco 21 and calling for possibly including them on a tobacco tax increase, the vaping community is wondering why them?
Vape shop owners and smoke free advocates said their industry helps saves lives every year by keeping people off of cigarettes. They said vaping is different from tobacco and should not be included with legislation involving limiting tobacco usage. There is a bill still being worked on in the Senate that would include e-cigarettes as tobacco products in the Tobacco Products Tax Act.
Vaping businesses said if the bill is passed, their shops will suffer. “It’s hard to see it as anything other than attack on your business. It is certainly going to hurt us if our products go up substantially. We are competing with online. When you products are going be more expensive than retailers doing business outside the state of Illinois, that’s a scary thing,” said Jon Sharpe of Upper Limits Inc.
Last week, Senate President John Cullerton called on lawmakers to triple the governor’s cigarette tax proposal, moving it up from a 32 cent increase it to a hike of about a dollar.
Governor Pritzker’s staff said he supports Cullerton’s proposal and looks forward to negotiating with lawmakers.