Proposed plan would increase taxes on nicotine products in Pensacola

Proposed plan would increase taxes on nicotine products in Pensacola

Cigarettes, vaporizers and e-cigarettes are products millions of Americans use every day.

Pensacola City Council Vice President Sherri Myers is proposing a tax on nicotine products to discourage people from using them.

"I have a lot of friends who have severe health consequences as a result of smoking. I have friends who have died because of exposure to tobacco," Myers said.

Myers doesn't have an exact dollar amount for the tax yet.

She said the products are bad for the public's health.

On Thursday night, city council members will vote on whether to ask the city attorney for an opinion.

"I'm all for businesses being successful, but not at the extreme expense of the public," Myers added.

Local vape shop owner Rodel Manimtim doesn't agree with the tax. He said it could ruin his business.

"I think it's going to be a little bit unfair because it's actually going to affect the consumers," Manimtim said. "If that happens, we already pay sales tax as it is on all the products. Now if additional taxes are added to it, then that's going to affect the consumers in the long run because we're going to have to raise prices to cover the cost for that as well now."

Brandon Hicks is a vaping enthusiast. He said the taxes will steer customers away from local stores.

"Because people will come in here, see the price jump from the bill and everything like that and they'll go online and buy it online. It'll just shut these guys down," Hicks said.

Manimtim believes the idea is about money, not public health.

"They see that this business is making money. There's more stores opening up, so they want to benefit from it," Manimtim said.

Myers hopes to use the revenue generated by the tax to fund youth sports programs.

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