BERWICK -- Back in August, smokers felt a pinch in their wallets with a new cigarette tax. Now, with October here, those who use e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco are dealing with an even bigger tax on their products as part of the new Pennsylvania budget.
The Infinity Vapes and E-Cigarettes location on Market Street in Berwick has only been open for about a year, and there's a reason supplies are sparse and customers are a few.
"The last week, we've seen an exponential growth in sales. People are scooping up everything they can before the tax hits," said Jake Rickert, Infinity Vapes.
This is the first weekend with the new state tax, imposing a 40 percent markup on e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and other products.
"It's an astronomically large tax that's going to be hard for any business to handle and keep their customers," said Gary Maslinski of Berwick.
For example, a mod, which is used to hold the batteries for e-cigarettes, usually runs around $80. Because of the new tax, it'll go up to about $110.
"Vaping is just a different concept. It's not any more unfair that they be taxed as well as people who smoke cigarettes," said Kathy Fox of Shickshinny.
But for people like Kathy Fox, who smokes cigarettes, it's about time that vaping caught up with cigarettes when it comes to paying all those taxes.
"If you started looking at where cigarettes were being taxed and looked at the percent of taxation being imposed on cigarette smokers, it's probably more than 40%. They're feeling the impact because it's coming all at one time."
One central Pennsylvania lawmaker is looking to introduce a bill as early as this fall to scale back the new tax on vaping.