Pelosi's office defends vape tax, says practice not 'essential need for working families'

A vaping group criticized Pelosi, arguing that the tax would prompt a rise in cigarette smoking

A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the Build Back Better package's vape tax on Friday, arguing that the practice wasn't an "essential need for working families."

The comments came amid media reports that President Biden, in signing the bill, would be reneging on his promise not to raise taxes on low-income Americans.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) speaks at a press conference after the House passed the Build Back Better Act at the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. The vote, which passed 220-213, comes

Henry Connelly, a spokesperson with Pelosi's office, told FOX Business: "Unlike the gas tax hike Republicans tried to add to the infrastructure bill, vaping is not an essential need for working families, and there is significant evidence tobacco companies are targeting health-damaging vape products at teens."


"The bill simply ensures that the nicotine in traditional tobacco products and the nicotine in e-cigarettes is taxed at the same rate," Connelly added.

The new tax would be $50.33 per 1,180 milligrams of nicotine. That's the same cost of small cigarettes and small cigars per thousand.

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 20: Vaping products on shelves at Myxed Up Creations, a store that sells vaping products and other items, at 5800 East Colfax Avenue on October 20, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. The Denver City Council is considering a ban on all fla (Getty Images)

In a statement to FOX Business, American Vapor Manufacturers criticized the tax for pushing people towards cigarettes.

"Speaker Pelosi is wrong on the math, wrong on the science, and apparently has not even read the government’s own estimates of the public health disaster this vape tax will cause," said President Amanda Wheeler.

LAS VEGAS, CA - OCTOBER 14: Jake Crandall took a deep pull from his vape and exhaled in the parking lot at the Desert Moon Motel Oct. 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, CA. A 19-year-old self-described beatnik in his gap year, who recently moved to Las Vegas fro (Getty Images)

Wheeler also pointed to National Institutes of Health-funded research, which estimated the tax would result in "approximately a half million extra teenage smokers overall."


Wheeler added: "In the last few weeks I have heard directly from countless people who have valiantly quit smoking through vaping and are now utterly desperate that they will be economically forced back to cigarettes."

"Most of them are low- and middle-income Americans on fixed budgets. Pelosi promised those Americans they would not face higher taxes and now she and her colleagues are heartlessly tossing them overboard."