Yesterday was an emotional day for many. Hundreds of people from Pennsylvania’s vaping community traveled to Harrisburg to save their livelihoods and their way of life.
The rally to repeal a 40% wholesale tax on vaping products featured many speakers, including vape shop owners and consumers—all of who had one overarching message for anyone willing to listen: vaping changed their lives for the better.
Opinions on the health affects of vaping vary. But there should be no debate about every person’s right to choose to vape. Harrisburg’s fiscal irresponsibility threatens to take away this right, or, at the very least, make it harder to exercise.
The 40 percent vape tax scheduled to take effect on October 1 has already shut down at least 50 vape shops. Many more will close their doors if the General Assembly fails to replace the tax. Seeking to avoid further harm, Rep. Jeff Wheeland has introduced HB 2342, which passed the House Finance Committee today. Sen. Camera Bartolotta has also announced her intention to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
Both lawmakers appeared at the rally yesterday and spoke passionately in favor of small business owners who are working hard to serve their communities. Rep. Kate Klunk also spoke on behalf of the vaping community. She specifically talked about Tony Myers, who is a vape shop owner in Hanover, PA. His shop employs adults with special needs. He also devotes some of his shop’s proceeds to autism and breast cancer support as well as epilepsy awareness.
For many owners like Tony Myers, the vaping industry isn’t about dollars and cents. It’s about improving the well-being of customers and providing people with an opportunity to live purposeful lives.
Saving this industry isn’t just about money or scoring political points. It’s about protecting Pennsylvanians freedom to pursue their happiness.