UPDATE (9/5/2012): The formal legislative season has concluded in Massachusetts. No action was taken on this bill. Letters, e-mails, and phone calls are no longer required. CASAA thanks those who reached out.
Massachusetts Bill H.4291
would change Massachusetts' definition of 'smokeless tobacco' for tax purposes to include electronic cigarettes and dissolvable tobacco.
Increase the MA smokeless tobacco tax rate from 90% to 110% of wholesale price, and also tax electronic cigarettes and dissolvables at 110% of wholesale price.
The bill has been introduced by the Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on Heath Care Financing as a substitute amendment to H2452, which has been referred to Joint Committee on Rules.
Please call, write or fax the members of the Joint Committee on Rules below.
What to say:
1. You oppose H.4291 because it would redefine the state's definition of "smokeless tobacco" to include new life-saving products like smoke-free electronic cigarettes.
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco has changed your life.
3. Explain that the purpose of increasing cigarette taxes has been to cover governmental healthcare expenditure caused by smoking and to discourage smoking. But since electronic cigarettes, dissolvables and smokeless tobacco products are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.
4. Point out that this bill also would tax "any component, part, or accessory" of e-cigarettes (e.g. hardware, batteries, rechargers, etc.), regardless of whether it contains nicotine. This would be the unfair equivalent of taxing items such as matches, cigarette lighters, ashtrays, etc. at the same rate as cigarettes.
5. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would devastate brick-and-mortar e-cigarette retailers in MA and destroy e-cigarette companies in MA, as they could no longer compete against out-of-state and international online suppliers.
6. Many smokers who switch to less hazardous electronic cigarettes do so because e-cigarettes are less expensive than cigarettes. Increasing the costs of e-cigarettes to that of cigarettes would discourage many smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. It could also encourage some e-cigarette consumers to go back to cigarette smoking.
Frederick E. Berry (Senate Chair) (D)
Karen Spilka (Senate Vice Chair) (D)
Stephen M. Brewer (D)
Jack Hart (D)
Michael R. Knapik (R)
Richard J. Ross (R)
John J. Binienda (House Chair) (D)
Cory Atkins (House Vice Chair) (D)
Byron Rushing (D)
Thomas M. Petrolati (D)
Ronald Mariano (D)
Ellen Story (D)
Eugene L. O'Flaherty (D)
David M. Nangle (D)
Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D)
Garrett J. Bradley (D)
Patricia A. Haddad (D)
John V. Fernandes (D)
Donald F. Humason, Jr (R)
Paul K. Frost (R)
Geoffrey G. Diehl (R)
Comma-delimited e-mail list:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jack.Hart@masenate.gov , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Semicolon-delimited e-mail list: