A ban on the sale and distribution of flavored vaping products will not move forward in the Oregon Legislature this session after an analysis of the revenue impact of a ban caused the bill to lose Democratic support.
The analysis, given to lawmakers by a tobacco industry lobbyist, showed that if voters passed an increase and expansion of the tobacco tax in November and the vaping ban in Senate Bill 1577 passed, the state could lose $5.4 million in revenue this biennium and $22.6 million in the next biennium.
If the bill was amended to include a ban on other flavored products — such as menthol cigarettes and moist snuff — the losses could exceed $70 million in the current biennium and $227 million in the next.
The Legislative Revenue Office has yet to conduct its own analysis of the impact, but bill sponsor Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, said her office verified the underlying numbers with revenue staff and believe the analysis to be accurate.
Monnes Anderson said a few of her colleagues were concerned about the revenue impact, while others were worried about how the bill might affect the campaign to pass the tobacco tax referral.
If the referral is passed by voters, revenue generated by the tax would go toward the state’s Medicaid program.
“Of course, my argument is: We are unfortunately having a generation of youth that are becoming addicted, due to the fact that vaping has nicotine in it,” Monnes Anderson said. “I feel strongly that we need to be addressing that issue. That issue is far more important than the revenue.”
The bill is schedule to have a work session Thursday afternoon. It is expected to receive an amendment that would remove the ban but add a licensure component.