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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Starting in July, Indiana will tax e-cigarettes and new products like nicotine gummies for the first time. Health groups don’t like the way legislators did it.

The General Assembly passed a 25% sales tax on vape cartridges last year, but changed their minds this year and lowered it to 15%. Legislators said last year their goal was to make the tax the equivalent of what smokers pay, not higher or lower.

Tobacco Free Indiana chairman Bryan Hannon agrees parity should be the goal, and acknowledges they overshot the mark last year. But he contends they’ve now overcorrected. He says American Cancer Society research calculates a surtax of 18-to-20% of the purchase price would be the equivalent of the cigarette tax of 99.5 cents a pack.

When the taxes are uneven, Hannon says it tends to push the market toward one product or the other, when the goal should be to discourage both smoking and vaping, especially among teenagers. He says the most effective way to do that is to push taxes on nicotine products higher, not lower, and do it at regular intervals, not in unpredictable bursts.

The new law adds a first-ever tax of 40 cents an ounce on alternative nicotine products like gummies, lozenges and patches.