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NEBRASKA – Stop a Vapor Tax! (LB584)
02.22.23 – Hearing (pulled from agenda), Revenue
01.19.23 – Referred to Revenue Cmte.
01.17.23 – Introduction
LB 584 would impose a 5c/mL tax on e-liquid. This bill was scheduled for a hearing on February 22, but was pulled from the agenda, potentially for changes that may include a 20% wholesale tax which is an increase from the proposed nickel per milliliter.
Prior to any backroom discussions and another committee hearing, take a moment to contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose this bill.
If enacted, rather than protect young people from the temptation to vape, LB 584 will send Nebraska consumers to neighboring states, like Iowa which sits next to nearly half of Nebraska’s population.
Beyond the obvious revenue loss and exposing residents to more risk and expense of traveling to a neighboring state, extra taxes on vapor products have been shown to decrease attempts to quit smoking and actually protect sales of cigarettes.
Take action and urge Nebraska lawmakers to reject extra taxes on low-risk alternatives to smoking!
- State that you are opposed to LB 584 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.