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Standardising the measurement of e-cigarette taxes in the USA, 2010–2020


Introduction E-cigarette taxes have been enacted by 30 states through April 2020. E-cigarette tax schemas vary, in contrast to cigarette taxes in the USA that are levied almost exclusively as excise taxes per pack. Some states use excise taxes on liquid and containers, others ad valorem taxes on wholesale prices and others sales taxes. It is therefore difficult to understand the relative magnitudes of these e-cigarette taxes and the overall e-cigarette tax size relative to the cigarette tax size.

Objective To create and publish a database of state and local quarterly e-cigarette taxes from 2010 to 2020, standardised as the rate per millilitre of fluid.

Methods Using Universal Product Code-level e-cigarette sales from the NielsenIQ Retail Scanner Data along with e-cigarette product characteristics collected from internet searches and visits to e-cigarette retailers, we develop a method to standardise e-cigarette taxes as an equivalent average excise tax rate measured per millilitre of fluid.

Results In 2020, the average American resided in a location with $3.08 in cigarette taxes and $0.34 in e-cigarette taxes (assuming 1 pack=0.7 fluid mL).

Conclusions The public availability of this state and local standardised e-cigarette tax data will allow tobacco control researchers to study the relationship between e-cigarette taxes and tobacco and related outcomes more effectively.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • taxation
  • economics

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