Taxing and regulating on-line E-cigarette sales proposed

DES MOINES — A proposal to try to regulate and tax electronic cigarettes and other so-called “vaping” products sold online to Iowans has emerged at the statehouse. Senator Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines, said those sales are happening now.

“We want to make sure that sellers of vaping products are verifying that the purchasers of those products are at least 18,” Schneider said, “and they ought to be paying sales tax to the state.”

The proposal is included in a massive bill that deals with more than 50 other subjects. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, suggested this is a “secret plan,” inserted in the bill at the last minute to try to avoid scrutiny.

“(We’re) looking at pretty big policy idea about a really addictive substance that we think now it’s great to sell online in Iowa,” Bolkcom said, “so the process has been a joke.”

The Department of Revenue is still analyzing data to determine how much new sales tax revenue the proposal might generate.

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