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Tobacco

Trump Budget Proposes ‘User Fees’ on E-Cigs

FDA funding measure could cost vaping industry $100 million
Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — A “user fee” currently levied on cigarettes, cigars and snuff could soon apply to electronic cigarettes, costing the industry $100 million per year if President Trump’s budget proposals go through, according to The Washington Post.

The funds, designed to support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), will become part of an estimated $712 million in user fees for the current fiscal year and will be used for regulatory oversight, the newspaper reported. Today, cigarettes account for 86% of that amount.

The user fee for the e-cigarette industry “would ensure that the FDA has the resources to address today’s alarming rise in youth e-cigarette use as well as new public health threats of tomorrow," Trump administration officials said.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who recently announced he would be leaving the agency as of April, has been a strong proponent of restrictions on e-vaping to counteract the reported rise in young people using the devices.

In total, the budget seeks $6.1 billion in FDA funding, up $418.5 million. According to the Post, $2.8 billion involves user fees from the drug, device and other industries, as well as the proposed e-cigarette fee.

The CTP receives its funds entirely from user fees, the paper reported.

The Washington Post said that Liz Mair, a strategist for Vapers United, Washington, D.C., is calling the fee a “tax,” saying that “user fee” was “lingo that Republicans and conservative Democrats use when they’re about to hike taxes but don’t want to admit that’s what they’re doing.”

Vaping manufacturers and importers would pay the fee, with the proposal having to go through congressional approval before becoming law, the paper said.

 

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