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Alaska – Stop a Vapor Tax! (SB 45)

current status

Bill
Introduced

Passed
Senate

Passed
House

Signed by
Governor

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.

SB 45 would impose a 75% wholesale tax on vapor products (devices and liquids).

This bill is scheduled for a hearing on

  • Monday, March 1, 2021
  • 1:30 PM
  • S. Labor & Commerce Cmte
  • Beltz 105 (Teleconferenced)

For those wishing to participate in the hearing, contact your local LIO for details, or call: 907-465-4648

 

  • 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

AK Leg - How to Testify Telephonically

Take Action Now!

  • If possible, visit your local LIO to participate in teleconferenced hearings. LIOs act as an extension of the formal committee room for hearings.
  • If you wish to testify during a legislative hearing, but are unable to attend in person, please contact the Juneau Legislative Information Office at 907-465-4648. Staff will assist you with how and when to connect to the teleconference for the hearing of interest to you.

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