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Some worry new tax will wipe out PA's vaping industry

CBS 21

There is concern among many in Pennsylvania’s vaping industry that a new tax will cause businesses to go up in smoke.

Kimberly Weller of Newburg says she smoked cigarettes for 33 years and switched to vaping two years ago. She's very happy she did.

"I can tell a huge difference," Weller said. "And I promise that they're at least better for you than smoking. I can breathe, I can walk and I feel better than I have in 30 years."

But Weller is not happy with what she's heard about the vaping tax that is part of the new state budget.

"I think it's going to close about 80 percent of the vaping shops in Pennsylvania," Weller said.

RELATED: Pennsylvania's cigarette tax to rise by $1 per pack Aug. 1

"The likelihood is that probably all three of my businesses will end up closing," Dave Norris, who owns three Blue Door Vaping shops, said.

Norris says the new vaping tax could end up forcing all the vaping shops in Pennsylvania to close. He says it's more than just a tax on the products that he sells.

"I'm required to write them a check for 40 percent of my inventory sitting on my shelves as of that date," Norris said.

Norris says he and people in the industry had proposed an alternative kind of tax on vaping but were shot down. He says what hurts him most is the fact that many people in Pennsylvania who have used vaping to get away from cigarettes will be forced to go elsewhere or go backward.

"The 65-year-old grandmother that comes into my store once a week, she's not going to go online," Norris said. "She's going to go back to smoking cigarettes and that hurts."

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