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N.J. Proposal To Raise Tax On E-Cigarettes Met With Resistance By Small Business Group

E-Cigarette (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)

E-Cigarette (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey lawmaker has proposed increasing the tax on e-cigarettes more in line with what’s already charged for traditional cigarettes.

But as WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported, some worry the tax could take money out of the pockets of small businesses.

The governor estimated raising the tax for electronic cigarettes to $2.70 like a that on a pack of conventional cigarettes could mean an additional $35 million in annual state revenue.

But Sal Risalvato of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, and Automotive Association said convenience store owners will get burned if the tax is implemented.

“We just don’t think that that’s good for either the smoker or the merchants,” he told Miller.

The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Joe Vitale, said he heard the same argument when New Jersey’s smoke-free ban went into effect.

“It was also the end of the world for the business community from their perspective. Restaurants would close, bars would close…none of that’s happened. In fact, just the opposite has happened,” Vitale said. “This isn’t a small business, this is again the cancer pushers ie., the cigarette companies getting involved in a new addiction.”

Risalvato said e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.

“Similar to a nicotine patch, it’s used by many people to stop smoking,” he told Miller.

However, some lawmakers and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have their doubts about the safety of e-cigarettes. They say more research on needs to be done on the product, which creates a nicotine vapor instead of smoke.

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