Mount Baker Vapor, an electronic cigarette and vapor product business based in Bellingham, Washington announced today that they would be relocating their business operations to Mesa, Arizona “due to legislative pressure.”
In their announcement they explain, “Legislative pressure from Washington State has made it clear that they no longer offer a suitable environment for a growing business in the vaping industry.”
That pressure has come in the form of proposal to ban online sales and the imposition of astronomical taxes ranging as high as 95 percent, both proposals from Democrat Governor Jay Inslee.
“These bills are a clear existential threat to our business,” they explain. “Even if the bills did fail, Governor Inslee has another year left in office and has made it clear that he will continue tormenting our industry.”
The vaping industry and the consumers who are using the products have been a top target for state lawmakers since the products began gaining popularly among smokers looking for an effective way to quit with a healthier alternative product.
Electronic cigarettes and vapor products don’t contain the tar or countless carcinogens that can produce cancer, illness, and disease. Where some see a new technology that is helping people quit smoking, cash-hungry politicians like Gov. Inslee in Washington see a new target to tax.
An analyst for Wells Fargo estimates that e-cigarette sales will top $10 billion by 2017 and could overtake combustible cigarettes within a decade. Among those looking to prevent that growth are politicians like Gov. Inslee and bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Arizona is far friendlier to businesses than states like Washington. Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) ran for office on the platform of significantly reducing the income tax. He’s rejected Nanny-State proposals like plastic bag bans and cut spending by hundreds of millions of dollars in just one year.
“I want Arizona to be the best state in the country to work and do business,” Ducey remarked in March.
Mt. Baker Vapor’s move to Arizona makes it clear that businesses looking to escape high taxation and unnecessary regulations have a friend in Gov. Ducey and the state of Arizona. NJOY, another company that produces and sells e-cigarettes and vapor products is also headquartered in Arizona.
Though a Democrat lawmaker from Arizona proposed imposing sin taxes on e-cigarettes this year, the bill got no traction, didn’t come up for a vote, and garnered no support from the governor.
Mt. Baker Vapor employs more than 100 people in Washington and expects to be fully operational in Arizona later this year.
Might Arizona become the Silicon Valley for electronic cigarette companies looking to relocate to more business friendly states? Only time will tell.