House panel to vote on plan to raise tax on nicotine used in vaping

Amid growing concerns about the negative health impacts of vaping products, a U.S. House panel on Wednesday is poised to vote on a bill which would raise taxes on vaping products which involve nicotine, utilizing the same tax rate used for regular cigarettes.

"I’m terrified by the number of teenagers who are becoming addicted to nicotine because they vape,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY). “Increasing the cost of vaping will have a direct correlation to decreasing the usage of vaping products."

"Today’s development is an important step in ensuring Congress explores a means to end this epidemic and ensure the well-being of our youth,” said Rep. Pete King (R-NY).

The plan before the House Ways and Means Committee would raise almost $10 billion in tax revenues over the next ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Work on the tax question involving vaping comes at a time where Congress is asking more questions - and getting alarming answers.

"We are in the midst of an outbreak of severe, acute respiratory disease that has affected more than 1,000 people – mostly youth and young adults – and has resulted in more than 20 deaths," Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health told lawmakers at a hearing last week.

“I think it’s possible the epidemic of nicotine-containing E-cigarettes has created a generation that is addicted to vaping, no matter what the product is,” said Anne Schuchat, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC reported last week that the number of what they call "lung injury cases" related to vaping and E-cigarettes is at almost 1,500 people and continues to climb - with deaths linked to such use in 33 states.