State call to action
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Alaska – Stop a Vapor Tax! (SB 45)
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.
SB 45 would impose a 75% wholesale tax on vapor products (devices and liquids).
This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.
CASAA will update this alert as more information becomes available about hearings and votes.
- 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.
Take Action Now!
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.