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Alaska – Stop a Vapor Tax! (SB 45)

current status

Bill
Introduced

Passed
Senate

Passed
House

Signed by
Governor

05/18/22 – Awaiting Transmital to Governor.

05/11/22 – Awaiting transmittal to next committee.

04/27 – 05/05/22 – Received hearings in House Labor & Commerce, and House Finance committees.

04/20/22 – Transmitted to House (SB45C)

04/15/22 –  Recevied from (S) FIN, Awaiting next committee assignment

03/23/22 – Meeting Scheduled: Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022, 9:00 AM, S. Finance Committee.

02/02/22 – Hearing Scheduled: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, 1:00 PM, S. Finance Committee.

03/24/21 – Referred to Finance Cmte.

03/01/21 – Hearing

02/19/21 – Hearing – Senate Labor and Commerce Cmte, 1:30 PM Beltz 105 (Teleconferenced)

01/25/21 – Read first time and referred to Labor and Commerce Cmte.

An amended version of SB 45 has moved to the House and is awaiting the next committee assignment.

Here are the changes:

  • 75% wholesale tax changed to 35% on all liquids and devices.
  • Flavor ban is removed

Please take a moment to contact your officials and urge them to opppose this bill. While removing the flavor ban is a positive development, SB 45 still imposes an unnecessary and excessive tax on vapor products.

The Alaska State Legislature is scheduled to conclude the 2022 session on May 18.

  • State that you are opposed to SB 45 and any legislation that would make safer alternatives to smoking less affordable.
  • Share your experience with switching to vapor products. If affordability compared to continuing to smoke was a motivating factor for trying vaping or other smoke-free products, be sure to include that in your comments. Conversely, if the already high initial cost of these products delayed your first purchase, highlight this instead. Be sure to include any changes in your health that you’ve experienced as a result of switching to safer nicotine or tobacco products.
  • Taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. But, e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 98 – 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to the goals of reducing smoking rates.
  • Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach. Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (E-cigarettes: an evidence update).
  • Sin taxes are regressive. People who smoke and those who switch to vaping and other smoke-free alternatives are disproportionately poor and low income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group. To make matters worse, people in the low-income bracket are less likely to be insured and lack access to health care providers. The affordable resources available to these people have low success rates.
  • It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax. 
  • Taxing smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products in a manner similar to how combustible tobacco products are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks. The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.

Read Full Bill Text

Take Action Now!

In addition to contacting the committee, it is always an appropriate time to reach out to your lawmakers with concerns.

Prior to any additional hearings, Alaska advocates are encouraged to make contact with lawmakers and share your opposition to extra taxes on vapor products.

Use the talking points provided (“Taxes – Talking Points”) for help with crafting your message, and find your lawmakers contact info with the “Legislator Lookup” tool, below.

LEGISLATOR LOOKUP