Missouri bill would regulate and tax vaping the same as tobacco merchandise

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri State Sen. Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) testified before the Senate Seniors, Family, and Children Committee about why he filed SB 829.

“My intent with this legislation is to help our youth to not start using tobacco products,” Hough told his fellow lawmakers.

Hough’s bill would result in vaping products being taxed at the same rate as tobacco merchandise.  The money would be used to fund state and local cessation programs and enforcement to ensure businesses are not selling products to minors.

“There’s actual dollars behind the enforcement that currently we don’t have a lot of right now in the state,” said Hough.

Several high school and middle school students traveled to the Missouri Capitol to testify in favor of the bill. There was testimony some students feel peer pressure to vape because of how prevalent use is in school.  

“I regularly see students passing vapes in hallways and bathrooms,” said Republic Middle School student Grace Replogle.”  “Several of them have tried to quit but have not been able to.”

One witness testified against the bill. Kino Becton told lawmakers he was representing the Vaping Technology Association. He said vaping has helped adults quit smoking.   

“I lost three family members to smoking-related diseases and  I think if these products had been on the market years before, those families would probably still be here today,” Becton said.

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