Mt. Baker Vapor, makers of nicotine-infused electronic cigarette liquid (called e-juice), is moving to Mesa, Arizona, due to a potential state tax on e-cigarette products.
The Lynden-based company has 130 employees, Kenny Spotz, production assistant at Mt. Baker Vapor, said in an email. They will be losing 50-80 employees because of the move, and many employees haven’t yet decided if they will be moving to Mesa, Spotz said.
Mt. Baker Vapor chose Mesa for its large and diverse employment pool, infrastructure, and business-friendly atmosphere, Spotz said. They hope to make the transition without interrupting online ordering, and finish the move by October 2015.
A tax on e-cigarette products in Washington state hasn’t passed yet, but Mt. Baker Vapor co-owner Jesse Webb believes the state will continue pursuing taxes, he said in a press release.
“The Washington state government has given us an intolerable level of uncertainty,” he said. “We believe that this move offers us the best opportunity to continue operating while maintaining our position as a leader in the independent vaping community.”
State legislature is considering a bill that would tax e-cigarette products at 60 percent. An earlier bill proposed a 95 percent tax on e-cigarette products.
When the Bellingham Business Journal reported on a potential tax in April, Mt. Baker Vapor representatives said even a 60 percent tax would cause them to move out of state since they compete with businesses across the country. Currently, Minnesota and North Carolina are the only states that tax e-cigarette products.
A separate bill under consideration would ban online sales of e-cigarette products, which is the bulk of Mt. Baker Vapor’s business. The company ships e-juice as far as Australia, Europe and Japan.
Mt. Baker Vapor started in 2011. The company has a retail store at 7159 Guide Meridian in Lynden and a production facility in Bellingham.
Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or firstname.lastname@example.org.