ontario vape

Ontario's new vape tax rules are costing customers way more and people aren't happy

Vaping is a more popular vice than ever among young people, and if you're one of the countless Ontarians who partake in the habit, you've likely noticed that taxes on nicotine vapes just made a huge jump.

At the beginning of this month, vape tax amounts in the province more than doubled, serving as the cornerstone of the provincial and federal governments' efforts to "deter the consumption of products that pose health risks."

As Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy wrote in his fall 2023 economic statement announcing the increase, "public health experts... have stated that taxation is a critical public policy tool to reduce vaping, and helps manage the associated health risks."

Bethlenfalvy opted to not only sign on to Ottawa's 12 per cent vape tax hike but also implement a new provincial excise tax to match it. This means that duties on the commodity are now 124 per cent higher in Ontario than they were pre-July 1, measured on a volume basis.

Though the burden is on manufacturers, it is already being passed down to consumers. And, naturally, people are already complaining about the change.

Ontario Tax Increase for Vaping now means consumers pay more than 100% tax. Costs are calculated based on ML Volume, In this case $132.99 product is charged $120.96 Excise Tax and $33.01 HST for a Tax Total of 115.8%.
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"Consumers pay more than 100 per cent tax," one person bewailed on Reddit this week, sharing a receipt for a recent $133 vape purchase that ended up being more than $285 after taxes, with the provincial excise tax explicitly listed on the invoice.

Though a few chimed in to point out the obviously efficacy of a tax as a disincentive in this case, others went off about the high rate of taxation in the province in general, and the poor spending record of our leadership.

"Think of how you're reducing things in your life because of taxes. Fuel consumption, food, electricity, basic needs. It's genius! We should just hand all of our needs over to taxes due to the government's robust examples of how well they do with tax money," one commenter vented.

Another asked what Premier Doug Ford is "doing with all that cash."

One joked that this will simply give them an excuse to continue vaping as a way to "support our local schools and hospitals with increased tax revenue," while another rebutted that "those tax dollars are spent on the healthcare costs of smokers" (to which yet another pointed out that "smokers die before they really start to cost money").

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Some vapers wrote that the tax will likely push them to seek cheaper alternatives for their addiction, like nicotine pouches or First Nation reserve cigarettes. A few shared diatribes about how such a high tax may have negative social and health impacts rather than the desired effects.

"Criminals will start making their own liquid batches since liquid is a quite simple mix and illegal sales/unsafe production will lead to injury, hospitalization and deaths," one person wrote. 

"People who have simply quit smoking for a less toxic alternative will now be stuck paying hundreds of extra dollars per month until they quit or transition back to smoking... yes vaping is stupid, people shouldn't do it, but the point is governments getting away with taxing an entire industry over 100 per cent is a bad thing for everyone in the long run."

Currently, only Ontario, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are part of the Canadian government's coordinated vaping taxation framework, though other provinces, including B.C., have their own (lower) provincial taxes in place.

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