Vape shops: New tax would evaporate business

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NORWALK -

Vape shops -- stores that specialize in selling e-cigarettes -- say their business could go up in smoke under Gov. Dannel Malloy's new budget plan.

E-Six Vapors was one of the first stores in western Connecticut to jump into the multimillion-dollar e-cigarette business.

The plan includes a 75 percent new tax on wholesale vaping products. 

"That came out of the blue," says E-Six owner Ted Szabo. "It's absolutely insane. They should just say, 'OK, we're going to shut you down.'"

Stores say profits would evaporate since customers could just shop online instead.

State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the Democratic speaker of the state House, agrees.

"If you make a product that is just not affordable locally, or they can get it substantially cheaper on the internet, that's what will happen," he says.

Shop owners say Pennsylvania started charging a similar tax last year. Since then, an industry group says about 100 smoke shops there have shut their doors.

"All these big companies moving out, and now they want to put the squeeze on the little guys as well," Szabo says. "Connecticut is not a business-friendly state."

State lawmakers plan to vote on the budget proposal Thursday.

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