Measure 108 would create a tax on nicotine vaping and heated tobacco products. Under the ballot measure, the monies would first go to the administration and enforcement of the tax. The remaining revenue would then be allocated to the Oregon Health Authority for medical and health care-assistance programs, including mental health services and other programs concerning tobacco and nicotine health issues.
"Sin taxes" by their nature are unfair. They often hit our most vulnerable population, and this measure is no exception. While this measure appears to be a slam dunk yes vote, opponents of the measure have rightly pointed out that people attempting to stop smoking do use vaping as a successful means to quit.
That said, vaping is not a healthy alternative. As more research continues to pour out on this relatively new addition to the pantheon of sinful products, it would be good if there was a higher bar for use. In addition, these products are currently not taxed at all—and there is no denying that their use does have an impact on the health system. Deriving some additional revenue from vaping is a necessary part of the commerce of these products, or at least it should be.
Vote yes on Measure 108.