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New York – Stop a Flavor Ban and Tax!
Building on New York’s success in expanding its illicit tobacco market and criminalizing small business owners who were helping their neighbors stop smoking, Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing to ban flavors in the tobacco and nicotine products still legally available for sale. This isn’t just a ban on menthol cigarettes! Governor Hochul is also proposing a tax hike for both cigarettes and the few vapor and other smoke-free products that are left.
New York’s budget is due by April 1, 2023 and if the past is prologue, we may not get an opportunity to debate these proposals in anything resembling a public hearing.
Now is the time to start taking action by contacting your NY lawmakers and urging them to reject these proposals.
In addition to sending messages, New York’s Senate website allows for comments directly on the bills. Follow the links below for each bill and share your opposition to these proposals at the bottom of the bill pages.
. . . would ban flavors other than tobacco in any nicotine or tobacco product that isn’t an FDA approved therapy. Even mint, wintergreen, and menthol products that have received modified risk orders from the FDA would be prohibited under this legislation. These bills are assembly and senate versions of legislation necessary to implement the state budget.
. . . would raise the tax on any tobacco products other than little cigars from 75% to 129% of wholesale price. This legislation would also raise the retail tax on vapor products from the already outrageous 20% to 48%, and subject smoke-free snuff–a product that is credited with enormous public health gains in Sweden–to the same wholesale tax imposed on cigars.
- Urge your officials to oppose the flavor ban which would restrict your ability to use low-risk alternatives to smoking and send people back to smoking or to buy their flavored products from informal sources.
- Briefly, share your story about switching to smoke-free products and what role that flavors play in helping you live smoke free.
- Note any health changes you’ve experienced.
- Briefly, discuss what losing access to a local supply of smoke-free products will mean for you.
- Be brief, Be kind, and Say Thank You 🙂
- State that you are opposed to any legislation that would make safer alternatives to smoking less affordable.
- Share your experience with switching to vapor or other smoke-free 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.
Take Action Now!
After you’ve sent your emails, use the Legislator Lookup tool below to find your lawmakers’ office phone numbers.
Use the talking points provided on this page to help put your comments together and give your legislators a call.
Urge them to oppose extra taxes and flavor bans on low-risk, smoke-free nicotine products.