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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona lawmakers are considering taxes on electronic cigarettes as a way to help cover a $1 billion budget shortfall, a central Arizona weekly has reported.
"It's one option of many that we should look at at the Legislature," said state Democratic Rep. Stefanie Mach of Tucson, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. "It certainly isn't going to come close to the amount of money that we need to make up the deficit, but any little bit helps."
Some legislators are lighting up at the idea of taxing e-cigarettes to cover a huge deficit expected by fiscal year 2017, but how to regulate the devices has been a source of debate.
Legislators in dozens of states last year were faced with bills related to electronic cigarettes. Two states have already enacted "sin taxes" on them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. On the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration has struggled since 2011 to implement rules on how to categorize and regulate them as well as liquid nicotine.
Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, of Fountain Hills, told the Arizona Capitol Times taxing e-cigarettes could discourage people from using them in an effort to quit smoking.
"The e-cigarettes, I am told, are not nearly as damaging to the body as tobacco is, and part of the reasoning for the tobacco tax is to compensate society for the additional costs in medical care that smokers cause," said Kavanagh, who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee and running for a Senate seat.
The financial impact for Arizona from e-cigarette taxes is difficult to determine since proposals vary and cigarettes have about $2 in additional taxes per pack.
Arizona so far hasn't enforced many restrictions on the electronic devices. Last year, the state made it illegal to sell them to minors. But Attorney General Tom Horne recently said e-cigarettes do not fall under the Smoke Free Arizona Act. Thus, patrons can smoke them inside restaurants, bars and other public places. However, cities such as Tempe have banned them.
The battery-powered devices heat liquid nicotine and create a vapor that the user can inhale. They are available at most convenience stores and "vape shops."
Ben Denny, who works at a downtown Phoenix vape shop called Butt Out, said the industry would be open to some reasonable taxes but not to the same degree as cigarettes. The growing e-cigarette community would likely fight any legislation that advocated otherwise.
"Nobody serious is even getting close to claiming that (e-cigarettes) do similar harm (as smoking tobacco), so by attempting to tax them the same way, lawmakers are making a claim nobody else is making. And really, they're just saying they want to bring in more money," Denny said.
A good friend has a terminal illness but you can do something at no cost that could very well cure him. There are drugs in development that have been proven to be safe for his condition, but have not yet finished the final procedures the FDA requires. The FDA places these drugs out of reach of dying patients, drugs that could save their lives. Apparently it’s OK to die, but not for a dying man to risk a drug reaction!
With one in 68 children affected by autism, chances are you or someone you know has dealt with the disorder. The 10th annual Zoowalk for Autism Research at the Phoenix Zoo gives you an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families affected by it.
Gov. Jan Brewer says terminally ill patients should have the right to use drugs which have not yet been approved — and may never be approved — by federal agencies.
More than 13,000 Arizona women terminated their pregnancies last year by abortion, a slight increase from the year before.
Attorney General Tom Horne is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that Arizona lawmakers can legally restrict the right of women to a medication abortion if they have “justification” to do so and other options remain.
At schools such as Mountain Pointe in Ahwatukee, students take a fitness education class designed to help them become physically literate and meet Arizona Department of Education standards for physical education. One of the standards requires students to “demonstrate understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to learning and performance of physical activities.” Two specific performance outcomes describe student expectations. Specifically students must be able to: (1) “Explain the difference between facts and myths related to physical activity,” and (2) “Identify and describe products that enhance or prohibit levels of physical activity.”
It may look like a cigarette, and it certainly delivers a dose of nicotine like a cigarette.
Attorney General Tom Horne is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void of a federal appellate court ruling blocking the state from limiting the use of a controversial abortion drug.
The head of the organization offering to fund a study on medical marijuana at the University of Arizona said he will pull the cash unless the school restores fired doctor and researcher Sue Sisley to the staff and the project.
Got something you'd like to say about whether lawmakers deserve $35,000 a year?
Arizona is not going to take center stage this year in the battle over genetically modified foods.
For the first time in more than three decades, Arizona voters are not going to get a chance to make their own laws.
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FILE - This May 30, 2014, file photo shows Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg in Washington. Food companies and restaurants could soon face government pressure to make their foods less salty _ a long-awaited federal effort to try and prevent thousands of deaths each year from heart disease and stroke. The FDA is preparing to issue voluntary guidelines asking the food industry to lower sodium levels, Hamburg told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)
Calling the measure unjustified and likely illegal, a federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked the state from telling doctors how they can and cannot use certain drugs for abortions.
WASHINGTON — House Republicans are proposing to let some schools opt out of healthier school lunch and breakfast programs if they are losing money.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease — and hold down the price of your morning cup.
WASHINGTON — Genetically modified foods have been around for years, but most people in the United States have no idea if they are eating them.
Abortion providers have opened up a second legal front in their bid to block Arizona from restricting the use of medication to terminate pregnancy.
FILE - In this April 24, 2014, file photo,, Katie Spring rolls up plastic that was used to cover certain plants during the winter in a field at the Good Heart Farmstead in Worcester, Vt. Spring and her husband Edge Fuentes, who both own the farm, back the GMO labeling bill passed by the Vermont legislature. Genetically modified foods have been around for years, but most Americans have no idea if they are eating them. The Food and Drug Administration says they don't need to be labeled, so the state of Vermont has moved forward on its own. On May 8, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation making the state the first to require labeling of GMOs _ technically genetically modified organisms. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)
In an effort to keep graduates safe, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools are gearing up for grad night celebrations after graduation ceremonies this Thursday night.
Federal appellate judges this morning questioned the legal justification of Arizona lawmakers in restricting — if not banning outright — the ability of women to terminate a pregnancy using medication instead of surgery.
Arizona heads back to court today in a bid to finally enforce its new restrictions on the use of certain drugs to terminate pregnancies.
NEW YORK — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said Monday they're working to remove a controversial ingredient from all their drinks, including Mountain Dew, Fanta and Powerade.