BOSTON (WWLP) - A new bill proposes to increase taxes on tobacco products. But several folks from Western Massachusetts told 22News why electronic cigarettes should be left out.
In an effort to discourage people from smoking, a new bill proposes to expand the type of tobacco products that will be subject to a future tax increase.
The goal of the legislation is to prevent kids from experimenting with roll-your-own cigarettes or flavored smoking products that state lawmakers say is a precursor to full-fledged cigarette smoking. But several people from Western Massachusetts say the legislation includes electronic cigarettes, which have helped them quit smoking. They say people who use electronic cigarettes to stop smoking should not be taxed at a higher rate.
Christopher Prost, the store owner of CJ Ecigs in Chicopee, told 22News, "A senator earlier stated that he believed that it was a gateway drug to smoking. I believe it's an exit from smoking."
"They're not a cigarette at all, they're actually a personal vaporizer" said Nick Bissette of West Springfield.
Karen Carey of Wilbraham said, "I started using an electronic cigarette and once I started using it, within a week I quit smoking."
The bill directs any tax money collected from smoking tobacco products to a Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund to help people fight tobacco addiction.