By Peyton Stinnett
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott proposed a bill Monday night to create a 30% excise tax on electronic smoking devices.
The council first introduced a proposal to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping in 2018 when the devices first became popular. The effort failed, officials said. The new bill should help enforce regulation of the sales and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city.
“This is about looking out for the public health of our community,” said Scott, who is also the Democratic nominee for mayor. “Not to mention the COVID-19 fiscal hit that we have taken, we have to be thinking about how we can generate revenue as a city.”
There also has been work at the state level to introduce a similar bill that will regulate purchasing e-cigarette devices.
Scott said it is important to build on previous work that has been done to help reduce usage of e-cigarettes in the city.
Eight council members, including Vice President Sharon Green Middleton, supported the proposal.
The bill was assigned to the Taxation, Finance and Economic Committee, which will determine how much money the tax could potentially bring in. Committee members also will investigate the possibility of passage.
“If we can’t ban them, we can tax them and do what is in line with the rest of the state,” said Scott.