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Iowa – Stop a Vapor Tax!
HF 2523, formerly known as HF 98, has been introduced and assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would impose a 22% excise tax on safer nicotine products like vapor and nicotine pouches. While this tax is expected to be paid by distributors, manufacturers, and retailers at the time a product is made or brought into the state, these costs are ultimately passed on to consumers. Also, anyone who purchases vapor or alternative nicotine products out of state is expected to pay 22% of that purchase price.
What is essentially a 22% wholesale tax might not sound like much, but like all other tobacco taxes, HF 2523 is seeking to discourage people from using these products and punish people who have already switched.
CASAA will update this Call to Action when HF 2523 is scheduled for a hearing, but it is always a good time to make contact with lawmakers to share your concerns with proposals like this. Take a moment to send you officials a message urging them to protect your access to safer alternatives like vaping and reject HF 2523!
- State that you are opposed to HF 2523 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.
- Research shows that increasing taxes on smoke-free alternatives (like vaping) reduces quit attempts and quitting. Economists at the University of Georgia recently published an analysis of a proposed federal tax on vaping and concluded that “the unintended effects of ENDS taxation may considerably undercut or even outweigh any public health gains.”
- Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach. Public Health England (the government public health agency) explicitly endorses 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.
- Sin taxes on safer nicotine products sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that combustible and smoke-free products present similar risks. The result of this message is that more people, those who otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.