Governor Scott Releases State Budget

ACS CAN Praises Leadership in Addressing E-Cigarette Epidemic

January 28, 2019

MONTPELIER, VT – January 25, 2019 – Governor Phil Scott presented his state budget to the state legislature Thursday. In his budget address, Governor Scott proposed to tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as on other tobacco products, which is 92 percent of the wholesale price.

The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey points out that one in eight Vermont high school students and one in 25 Vermont middle school students report using e-cigarettes, and this was before the boom of Juul, a popular e-cigarette brand among youth. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use by U.S high school students rose 78 percent. This is the biggest one-year spike of any substance in nearly 50 years.

“If enacted this tax can save lives and protect health,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Vermont Government Relations Director Jennifer Costa. “Young people are starting to smoke e-cigarettes, like Juul, in record numbers. As the governor pointed out, e-cigarette use among young people in Vermont has nearly doubled.”.

A 2016 U.S. Surgeon General’s report concluded ‘e-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, particularly combustible tobacco products.’ According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 31 percent of teen e-cigarette users will start smoking within six months, compared to eight percent of non e-cigarette users. ACS CAN is concerned that e-cigarette use is creating a new generation of Vermonters who will suffer from a deadly, lifelong addiction to nicotine and tobacco products.

Research indicates that significant increases in tax on tobacco products and support for tobacco cessation and prevention programs help people quit smoking and encourage others to never start. By increasing the tax on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to an equivalent rate, Vermont can help reduce tax evasion, generate more new revenue, prevent initiation of these products and ensure that more tobacco users quit instead of switching to a cheaper product.

“This revenue can help save lives,” said Costa. “The Vermont Department of Health reports a 33 percent increase in quit line call volume when media campaigns are running. Evidence-based strategies, such as these media campaigns, help reduce the burden of nicotine and tobacco addiction. They also help reduce the prevalence of youth initiation.”

“On behalf of all Vermonters, I thank Governor Scott for addressing this issue and I ask our state legislators to act to protect the health of our residents by supporting the tax and passing legislation to raise the sale age of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to 21,” concluded Costa.


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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