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Alaska – Stop a Vapor Tax (HB 110)
05/07/21 – PUBLIC HEARING, 1:30 PM, Finance, Adams 519 (Teleconferenced); Hearing held, bill “set aside” for consideration at a future hearing.
05/05/21 – HEARING, 9:00 AM, Finance, Adams 519
04/09/21 – PUBLIC HEARING, 8:00 AM, Gruenberg 120 (Teleconferenced)
04/05/21 – Hearing (invitation only), L&C
03/17/21 – Referred to Labor & Commerce
02/24/21 – Read First Time (referred to CRA, JUD)
HB 110 would enact a 75% wholesale tax on e-liquids, vaping devices, and components.
(HB 110 is the House version of SB 45)
A hearing was held on May 7, 2021. You can view the recording here, on the Alaska State Legislature website.
- State that you are opposed to HB 110 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 people who smoke to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products.
- 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, at the local level, vapor products may already be subject to a general sales tax. The tax being proposed by HB 110 would be in addition to any extra local taxes on vapor products.
- 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.
HB 110 "set aside" for consideration at a future hearing.