Background: During the first half of 2019 several bills calling for the taxation of vapor products competed for the attention of legislators in both the House of Representatives and the State Senate. Each contained different rates and structures of excise tax.
Among the provisions which failed to survive the legislative negotiations was a proposal to tax heated tobacco products. Part III of Senate Bill 5986 included a tax of $0.40 per net ounce of tobacco contained in heated tobacco products.
Following months of negotiations and amendments, House Bill 1873 was approved by both chambers on April 28 and signed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 21. This bill introduces a two-tiered specific tax based on the volume of liquid used in vapor products regardless of whether it contains nicotine. Liquid contained in closed system products with less than 5 milliliter capacity will be taxed at $0.27 per ml.
A different rate applies to larger containers which the consumer can open to refill tanks and cartridges. “Any accessible container of solution, regardless of whether it contains nicotine, that is greater than five milliliters, is taxed at a rate equal to nine cents per milliliter of solution.”
The Act went into effect on 1 October 2019.