Massachusetts Call to Action on E-Cigarette Tax Bill

Thanks to CASAA: http://casaa.org/

H.4291 would change Massachusetts’ definition of ‘smokeless tobacco’ for tax purposes to include electronic cigarettes and dissolvable tobacco. 

This bill would also:

Increase the MA smokeless tobacco tax rate from 90% to 110% of wholesale price, and also tax electronic cigarettes and dissolvables at 110% of wholesale price.

The bill has been introduced by the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Heath Care Financing as a substitute amendment to H2452, which has been referred to Joint Committee on Rules.
Please call, write or fax the members of the Joint Committee on Rules below.

What to say:
1. You oppose H.4291 because it would redefine the state’s definition of “smokeless tobacco” to include new life-saving products like smoke-free electronic cigarettes.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco has changed your life.

3. Explain that the purpose of increasing cigarette taxes has been to cover governmental healthcare expenditure caused by smoking and to discourage smoking.  But since electronic cigarettes, dissolvables and smokeless tobacco products are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.

4. Point out that this bill also would tax “any component, part, or accessory” of e-cigarettes (e.g. hardware, batteries, rechargers, etc.), regardless of whether it contains nicotine.  This would be the unfair equivalent of taxing items such as matches, cigarette lighters, ashtrays, etc. at the same rate as cigarettes.

5. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would devastate brick-and-mortar e-cigarette retailers in MA and destroy e-cigarette companies in MA, as they could no longer compete against out-of-state and international online suppliers.

6. Many smokers who switch to less hazardous electronic cigarettes do so because e-cigarettes are less expensive than cigarettes.  Increasing the costs of e-cigarettes to that of cigarettes would discourage many smokers from switching to  e-cigarettes.  It could also encourage some e-cigarette consumers to go back to cigarette smoking.

Senate Members

Frederick E. Berry (Senate Chair) (D)
Phone: 617-722-1410
Fax: 617-722-1347
Email: Frederick.Berry@masenate.gov

Karen Spilka (Senate Vice Chair) (D)
Phone: 617-722-1640
Fax: 617-722-1077
Email: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov

Stephen M. Brewer (D)
Phone: 617-722-1540
Fax: 617-722-1078
Email: Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov

Steven A. Tolman (D)
Phone: 617-722-1280
Email: Steven.Tolman@masenate.gov

Michael R. Knapik (R)
Phone: 617-722-1415
Fax: 617-722-1506
Email: Michael.Knapik@masenate.gov
Richard J. Ross (R)
Phone: 617-722-1555
Fax: 617-722-1054
Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

House Members

John J. Binienda (House Chair) (D)
Phone: 617-722-2692
Fax: 617-722-2822
Email: John.Binienda@mahouse.gov

Cory Atkins (House Vice Chair) (D)
Phone: 617-722-2692
Fax: 617-722-2822
Email: Cory.Atkins@mahouse.gov

Byron Rushing (D)
Phone: 617-722-2783
Fax: 617-722-2238
Email: Byron.Rushing@mahouse.gov

Thomas M. Petrolati (D)
Phone: 617-722-2255
Fax: 617-722-2846
Email: Thomas.Petrolati@mahouse.gov

Ronald Mariano (D)
Phone: 617-722-2300
Fax: 617-722-2750
Email: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov

Ellen Story (D)
Phone: 617-722-2012
Fax: 617-570-6577
Email: Ellen.Story@mahouse.gov

Eugene L. O’Flaherty (D)
Phone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-722-2819
Email: Gene.O’Flaherty@mahouse.gov

David M. Nangle (D)
Phone: 617-722-2575
Fax: 617-722-2215
Email: David.Nangle@mahouse.gov

Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D)
Phone: 617-722-2180
Email: KathiAnne.Reinstein@mahouse.gov

Garrett J. Bradley (D)
Phone: 617-722-2520
Email: Garrett.Bradley@mahouse.gov

Patricia A. Haddad (D)
Phone: 617-722-2600
Fax: 617-722-2313
Email: Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov

John V. Fernandes (D)
Phone: 617-722-2396
Fax: 617-626-0706
Email: John.Fernandes@mahouse.gov

Donald F. Humason, Jr (R)
Phone: 617-722-2803
Fax: 617-722-2390
Email: Donald.Humason@mahouse.gov

Paul K. Frost (R)
Phone: 617-722-2489
Email: Paul.Frost@mahouse.gov

Geoffrey G. Diehl (R)
Phone: 617-722-2810
Email: Geoff.Diehl@mahouse.gov

Comma-delimited e-mail list:
frederick.berry@masenate.gov, karen.spilka@masenate.gov, stephen.brewer@masenate.gov, steven.tolman@masenate.gov, michael.knapik@masenate.gov, richard.ross@masenate.gov, john.binienda@mahouse.gov, cory.atkins@mahouse.gov, byron.rushing@mahouse.gov, thomas.petrolati@mahouse.gov, ronald.mariano@mahouse.gov, ellen.story@mahouse.gov, flaherty@mahouse.gov, david.nangle@mahouse.gov, kathianne.reinstein@mahouse.gov, garrett.bradley@mahouse.gov, patricia.haddad@mahouse.gov, john.fernandes@mahouse.gov, donald.humason@mahouse.gov, paul.frost@mahouse.gov, geoff.diehl@mahouse.gov

Semicolon-delimited e-mail list:

frederick.berry@masenate.gov; karen.spilka@masenate.gov; stephen.brewer@masenate.gov; steven.tolman@masenate.gov; michael.knapik@masenate.gov; richard.ross@masenate.gov; john.binienda@mahouse.gov; cory.atkins@mahouse.gov; byron.rushing@mahouse.gov; thomas.petrolati@mahouse.gov; ronald.mariano@mahouse.gov; ellen.story@mahouse.gov; flaherty@mahouse.gov; david.nangle@mahouse.gov; kathianne.reinstein@mahouse.gov; garrett.bradley@mahouse.gov; patricia.haddad@mahouse.gov; john.fernandes@mahouse.gov; donald.humason@mahouse.gov; paul.frost@mahouse.gov; geoff.diehl@mahouse.gov

12 comments ↓

#1 Custom Blends on 07.29.12 at 7:13 PM

Sorry but Ecigs market themselves as smokeless tobacco.

I sense an Emperor Wears No Clothes mentality in this.

Jus sayin.

Mark

#2 sf@sdf.com on 07.30.12 at 5:57 PM

Category must be taxed to survive. Who ever heard of an untaxed tobacco product — what BS.

#3 Candy Girl on 07.31.12 at 11:19 AM

The battle over taxation will be fought at the state level primarily over the next couple of years. Federally, the e-cig still does not meet the definition of a tobacco product under the tax code- but could soon. The decision in the NJOY case does not automatically cause changes in the federal tax codes- it takes legislation to do that. But states will be much more proactive and reactive – seeing a source of revenue to tap.

#4 OTP Kid on 08.09.12 at 2:14 PM

The Commonwealth of Massachusettes should absolutely tax ecigs. One of the great appeals of these products that the ecig industry likes to keep quiet is how cheap it is to get one’s nicotene fix. Tax them at parity with cigarettes on a per puff basis and we will see how fast the sales slow down. Godshall bless you all

#5 Bill Godshall on 08.09.12 at 4:57 PM

Perhaps OTP Kid can try to explain how taxing e-cigarettes at the same rate as cigarettes would benefit public health or can otherwise be justified.

Unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes pose virtually no risks for users, no risks for nonusers, and no costs on government. Instead, e-cigarette help reduce disease risks for smokers and government spending for cigarette diseases.

The only beneficiaries of high taxes on e-cigarettes are markets for cigarettes and so-called smoking cessation drugs.

#6 Bill Godshall on 08.09.12 at 4:58 PM

BTW The MA legislature adjourned last week without increasing taxes on e-cigarettes or OTP.

#7 OTP Kid on 08.14.12 at 1:01 PM

ecigs are not deemed to be safer than cigarettes other than by the propoganda spewed forth by the ecig industry. The fact is that these products are produced in China without any regulatory body supervising their production. Secondly, no long term studies regarding the safety of these products has been undertaken, and cannot exist at this point due to their recent appearance in the market. Finally, if what Bill says is so patently true and they are safer, consumers will be happy to pay the same price for ecigs via taxation as they do for regular cigarettes; thus, Bill should have absolutely no objection to taxing these electronic cigarettes the same as other products.

#8 Bill Godshall on 08.14.12 at 2:53 PM

OTP Kid is misrepresenting the massive and growing body of scientific and empirical evidence about e-cigarettes.

Government regulations have always been intended to protect consumers from known hazards. But like tobacco/nicotine prohibitionists, OTP Kid is claiming that all products must be hazardous unless and until they are regulated by government.

Does OTP Kid similarly believe that cigarettes are no longer hazardous simply because the are now regulated by FDA since Obama signed the TPSAC into law?

#9 OTP Kid on 08.21.12 at 10:56 AM

Bill, the FDA has classified ecigs as a tobacco product they can regulate and you know that. Therefore, they will come under regulation and be subjected to testing like all tobacco products.

Please explain to the blog why ecigs cannot make the claim they are a safer alternative to cigarettes. This should be good….

#10 Candy Girl on 08.21.12 at 6:43 PM

The FDA did not classify e-cigs as tobacco products- the federal court did that over the strenuous objection of the FDA. As of now, e-cigs are non-regulated tobacco products and outside the regulation of the FDA until the FDA succeeds in deeming them subject to Chapter IX of the FSPTCA of 2009. Any action by the FDA to assert jurisdiction will be met by another series of lawsuits.

#11 OTP Kid on 08.24.12 at 1:58 PM

Bill?

#12 OTP Kid on 09.04.12 at 1:59 PM

The European Respiratory Society, reporting from its annual meeting in Vienna, said a study found inhaling e-cig vapor resulted in an instant increase in airway resistance, making it more difficult for users to breathe normally.

“We found an immediate rise in airway resistance in our group of participants, which suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device,” said Professor Christina Gratziou, one of the study’s authors. “More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term.”

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