Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Call to Action! South Carolina Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes And More -- H. 4074 (UPDATED -- Bill Tabled)

UPDATE (5/28/2013):  Today the South Carolina House Ways & Means Committee met and held a vote on H. 4074.  The committee voted to table the bill, which means they set it aside for consideration at a later date.  South Carolina's 2013 legislative session will wrap in approximately one week, and H. 4074 will carry over to 2014, meaning it will still come back before the House Ways & Means Committee in 2014.

If you are from South Carolina, please be sure to contact your representative and senator in the South Carolina Legislature and tell them you do not want the unnecessary tax hike in H. 4074 to become law. 

 [full text] [legislative tracking]

If enacted, this bill would:

  • Tax sales of e-cigarette products containing nicotine ("vapor products") at 5 cents per milliliter of liquid.
  • Require e-cigarette retailers who import nicotine-containing products from other states to obtain a license to sell tobacco products and abide by lengthy regulations.  
  • Make it a criminal offense for consumers to buy an untaxed e-cigarettes online unless they file a tax return with the South Carolina Department of Revenue by the 20th of each month. 

As recently exposed on the Daily Caller by Matthew Bandyk, bills like H. 4074 are a part of a concerted strategy by tobacco company R.J. Reynolds (RJR) to tax sales of electronic cigarettes.  RJR has its lobbyist(s) out everyday in South Carolina campaigning for this tax, so a swift and heavy response is needed from South Carolina vapers to stop this bill!

If you are from South Carolina, please also contact your representative and senator in the South Carolina Legislature and tell them that you're an e-cigarette user, you vote, and you don't want the unnecessary tax hike in H. 4074 to become law. 

Please contact the members of the South Carolina House Ways & Means Committee below:

1. Please vote NO on H 4074, which would hike taxes on tens of thousands of South Carolina e-cigarette users and treat e-cigarettes like a tobacco product by requiring tobacco licenses.  Alternatively, amend the bill to clarify that there shall be no excise tax on "vapor products,"  and remove all references to "vapor products" in the licensing sections of the bill.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3. Explain that H 4074's provision that claims to cap the "vapor product" tax at 10% the excise tax levied on cigarettes is legislative fiction. In fact, if H 4074 is passed, you could end up paying an additional $1.50 each time you purchase a 30 ml bottle of liquid. 

4. Note that South Carolina citizens and businesses do not support new taxes and burdensome regulations. Further explain that imposing these laws on e-cigarette sales only serves to protect cigarette markets and will hurt small businesses in South Carolina. 

5. Explain that your biggest concern about this legislation is that it is a part of a demonstrated pattern by R.J. Reynolds to get bills introduced in state legislatures (including RI, NC, and OK) that seek to give the e-cigarette industry to large tobacco companies. The three major tobacco companies -- Philip Morris (PM), Reynolds, and Lorillard -- already have contracts with all licensed tobacco retailers for sales, prime display shelf space, discounts, advertisements and promotions -- while very few e-cigarette companies do. 

6. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.


Members of the South Carolina House Ways & Means Committee 

Contacting members of the South Carolina Legislature is difficult because each message must be sent via webform.  Please take the time to contact the members below to express your opposition.  Please do not hesitate to call the members listed, especially if you are in South Carolina and they represent you or in a nearby district.  If you get an answering machine, leave a civil message encouraging them to vote NO on H. 4074 and note some of the reasons listed above.

(H) Indicates home address and telephone numbers.
(C) Indicates Columbia address and telephone numbers (best way to reach out)

Rep. W. Brian White (R) [Committee Chairman] *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 6 – Anderson Co.
(H) PO Box 970, Anderson, 29622
Bus.: (864) 260-4025
(C) 525 Blatt Bldg.Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3144
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1911363407/

Rep. Harry B. "Chip" Limehouse, III (R) [Committee 1st Vice-Chair)
Dist. No. 110 - Charleston County
(H) 22 Menotti St. Charleston, 29401
Bus.: (843) 577-6242 / Home: (843) 577-6242
(C) 326C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2977 / Home: (803) 252-0845
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1089772596

Rep. Michael A. Pitts (R) [Committee 2nd Vice-Chair) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 14 - Greenwood & Laurens Counties
(H) 372 Bucks Point Rd. Laurens, 29360
Bus.: (864) 681-0238 / Home: (864) 923-2925
(C) 327C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2830
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1481533914

Rep. J. Roland Smith (R) [Committee 3rd Vice-Chair] *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 84 - Aiken County
(H) 183 Edgar St. Warrenville, 29851
Bus.: (803) 593-8987 / Home: (803) 593-2359
(C) 522B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3115
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1718181612

Rep. Merita A. "Rita" Allison (R) *BILL SPONSOR* (5/14/13 -- No longer a sponsor!)
Dist. No. 36 - Greenville & Spartanburg Counties
(H) P.O. Box 93 Lyman, 29365
Bus.: (864) 909-1092 / HOme: (864) 439-6255
(C) 402C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 212-6788
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=15909089

Rep. Liston D. Barfield (R)
Dist. No. 58 - Horry County
(H) P.O. Box 1734 Conway, 29528
Bus.: (843) 365-2049 / Home: (843) 365-2049
(C) 503A Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3107 / Home: (803) 771-8711
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=109090896

Rep. William "Bill" Clyburn (D)
Dist. No. 82 - Aiken, Edgefield & Saluda Counties
(H) 664 Edrie St. Aiken, 29801
Home: (803) 649-6167
(C) 416C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3033
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=363636320

Rep. Tracy R. Edge (R)
Dist. No. 104 - Horry County
(H) P.O. Box 2095 Myrtle Beach, 29578
Bus.: (843) 448-5123 / Home: (843) 361-2827
(C) 503B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3013
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=521590847

Rep. William G. "Bill" Herbkersman (R) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 118 - Beaufort & Jasper Counties
(H) 896 May River Rd. Bluffton, 29910-5833
Bus.: (843) 757-7900 / Home: (843) 757-5424
(C) 308B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3063
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=832954446

Rep. Chip Huggins (R)
Dist. No. 85 - Lexington County
(H) 308 Wayworth Court Columbia, 29212
Bus.: (803) 732-2000 / Home: (803) 732-4418
(C) 323B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2971 / Cellphone: (803) 331-8468
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=897727165

Rep. James H. Merrill (R)
Dist. No. 99 - Berkeley & Charleston Counties
(H) 2401 Daniel Island Dr. Charleston, 29492
Bus.: (843) 849-7307 / Home: (843) 849-7306
(C) 308C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3072
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1323863478

Rep. Harry L. Ott, Jr. (D) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 93 - Calhoun, Lexington & Orangeburg Counties
(H) 141 Ott Farm Trail St. Matthews, 29135
Home: (803) 874-1042
(C) 335B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2998
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1432954374

Rep. B. R. Skelton (R)
Dist. No. 3 - Pickens County
(H) 2962 Walhalla Hwy. Six Mile, 29682
Home: (864) 868-3495
(C) 418C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3036 / Home: (864) 868-3495
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1698579342

Rep. Garry R. Smith (R)
Dist. No. 27 - Greenville County
(H) 210 Foxhound Rd. Simpsonville, 29680
Bus.: (864) 963-0337 / Home: (864) 963-0337
(C) 534 Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3141
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1703977069

Rep. William R. "Bill" Whitmire (R)
Dist. No. 1 - Oconee County
(H) P.O. Box 157 Walhalla, 29691
Bus.: (864) 638-2970 / Home: (864) 638-2970
(C) 436C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3068
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1914204316

Rep. J. Roland Smith (R)
Dist. No. 84 - Aiken County
(H) 183 Edgar St. Warrenville, 29851
Bus.: (803) 593-8987 / Home: (803) 593-2359
(C) 522B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3115
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1718181612

Rep. Michael A. "Mike" Anthony (D)
Dist. No. 42 - Laurens & Union Counties
(H) 322 Mt. Vernon Rd. Union, 29379
Home: (864) 427-3023
(C) 432D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3060
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=38636359

Rep. Kenneth A. "Kenny" Bingham (R) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 89 - Lexington County
(H) P.O. Box 2025 Cayce, 29171
Bus.: (803) 796-9300 / Home: (803) 796-3582
(C) 519B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3114
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=143181801

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 66 - Orangeburg County
(H) 4188 Five Chop Rd. Orangeburg, 29115
Bus.: (803) 534-2448 / Home: (803) 531-1257
(C) 309C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2809
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=372727228

Rep. Jackie E. "Coach" Hayes (D)
Dist. No. 55 - Darlington, Dillon, Horry & Marlboro Counties
(H) 240 Bermuda Rd. Dillon, 29536
Bus.: (843) 841-3679 / Home: (843) 774-6125
(C) 333D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3099
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=802272631

Rep. Lonnie Hosey (D)
Dist. No. 91 - Allendale, Barnwell & Orangeburg Counties
(H) P.O. Box 423 Barnwell, 29812
Home: (803) 259-1178
(C) 404B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-2829
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=874999895

Rep. Dwight A. Loftis (R)
Dist. No. 19 - Greenville County
(H) P.O. Box 14784 Greenville, 29610
Home: (864) 834-5760
(C) 522C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3101
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1111363503

Rep. Joseph H. "Joe" Neal (D)
Dist. No. 70 - Richland & Sumter Counties
(H) P.O. Box 5 Hopkins, 29061
Home: (803) 776-0353
(C) 309B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Home: (803) 734-2804
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1402272559

Rep. J. Gary Simrill (R) *BILL SPONSOR*
Dist. No. 46 - York County
(H) 1515 Alexander Rd. Rock Hill, 29732
Bus.: (803) 366-0445 / Home: (803) 328-8089
(C) 518C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3040
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1697727069

Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr. (R) *BILL SPONSOR*
District 67 - Sumter County
(H) P.O. Box 580 Sumter, 29151
Bus.: (803) 778-2471 / Home:(803) 469-4416
(C) 420B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3042
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1703408887

Leonidas E. "Leon" Stavrinakis (D)
District 119 - Charleston County
(H) P.O. Box 30099 Charleston, 29417
Bus.: (843) 724-1060 / Home: (843) 573-0491
(C) 420C Blatt Bldg. Columbia, 29201
Bus.: (803) 734-3039
Contact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1747727063

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Call to Action! New York Bill to Impose 95% Tax on E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco -- A.B. 7106 (UPDATED)

UPDATE (5/22/2013): A hearing on A.B. 7106 was held on May 22, 2013 before the Assembly Health Committee.  CASAA has received word that A.B. 7106 was not brought up for a vote.  However, the committee chairman is free to bring the bill back up at a later date with minimal notice.

Continued vigilance is needed to ensure that A.B. 7106 does not become law.  Please continue to mobilize New York vapers to respond to the below Call to Action.  If you are in New York and could possibly attend a future meeting of the Assembly Health Committee in Albany, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org.  

If this bill does pass the Health Committee, this battle is far from over.  In 2010 and 2011, the Health Committee voted to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to adults.  Neither became law, and that was thanks in part to the hundreds or thousands of comments these legislators received in opposition. 

----

New York: Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes & Smokeless Tobacco at 95% of Wholesale Price -- A.B. 7106


[full text + legislative tracking]

If enacted, this bill wold:
  1. Define electronic cigarette products containing nicotine to be "tobacco products" under New York law by redefining the term to mean any product "containing tobacco or nicotine that is intended or expected to be consumed." 
  2. Impose a 95% wholesale tax on e-cigarette sales.
  3. Increase New York's tax on smokeless tobacco from 75% to 95%, a 27% increase.
  4. Require e-cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e-cigarettes. (see N.Y. TAX LAW § 480-A)

If you are from New York, you must also contact your representative in the New York General Assembly and Senate and tell them that you're an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco user, you vote, and you don't want the unnecessary tax hike in A.B. 7106 to become law.  

Please call, write, or fax the members of the New York General Assembly Health Committee below:

1. You oppose A.B. 7106 because it would impose a new, unwarranted tax on smoke-free electronic cigarettes. Further note that A.B. 7106 would result in e-cigarettes costing more than cigarettes!  

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smoke-free tobacco product 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, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvables are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.

4. Tell them that this year, committees in the Maine and New Mexico legislatures rejected bill with similar broad redefinitions of "tobacco products." 

5. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would negatively impact businesses in New York that sell e-cigarettes, as many consumers would choose to use 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.


Members of the New York General Assembly Health Committee 

Comma delimited e-mail list:  gottfriedr@assembly.state.ny.us, barroni@assembly.state.ny.us, borellij@assembly.state.ny.us, cahillk@assembly.state.ny.us, clarkb@assembly.state.ny.us, cymbros@assembly.state.ny.us, dinowij@assembly.state.ny.us, dipietrod@assembly.state.ny.us, galefs@assembly.state.ny.us, goodella@assembly.state.ny.us, gunthea@assembly.state.ny.us, hevesia@assembly.state.ny.us, jacobsr@assembly.state.ny.us, lavinec@assembly.state.ny.us, mcdonod@assembly.state.ny.us, paulina@assembly.state.ny.us, peoplec@assembly.state.ny.us, rae@assembly.state.ny.us, raiaa@assembly.state.ny.us, rodriguezrj@assembly.state.ny.us, rosentl@assembly.state.ny.us, schimmr@assembly.state.ny.us, ortizf@assembly.state.ny.us, titonem@assembly.state.ny.us, walterr@assembly.state.ny.us


Hon. Richard N. Gottfried (D - Manhattan)
242 West 27th Street 
New York, NY 10001  
Office Phone: 518-455-5939  
In-District Phone: 212-807-7900  
GottfriedR@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Inez D. Barron (D - Brooklyn).
669 Vermont St.
Brooklyn, NY 11207
Office Phone: 518-455-5912
In-District Phone: 718-257-5824
BarronI@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Joseph Borelli (R - Staten Island)
101 Tyrellan Avenue, Suite 200
Staten Island, NY  10309
Office Phone: 518-455-4495
In-District Phone: 718-967-5194
BorelliJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Kevin A. Cahill (D- Kingston)
Governor Clinton Bldg. Suite G-4, 1 Albany Ave.
Kingston, NY 12401
Office Phone: 518-455-4436
In-District Phone: 845-338-9610
CahillK@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Barbara M. Clark (D – Ithaca)
97-01 Springfield Boulevard
Queens Village, NY 11429
Office Phone: 518-455-4711
In-District Phone: 718-479-2333
ClarkB@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Steven Cymbrowitz (D - Brooklyn)
1800 Sheepshead Bay Road
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Office Phone: 518-455-5214
In-District Phone: 716-743-4078
CymbroS@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Jeffrey Dinowitz (D - The Bronx)
3107 Kingsbridge Avenue
Bronx, NY 10463
Office Phone: 518-455-5965
In-District Phone: 718-796-5345
DinowiJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. David DiPietro (R – East Aurora)
2371 North Main Street
Warsaw, NY 14569
Office Phone: 518-455-5314
In-District Phone: 585-786-0180
DiPietroD@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Sandy Galef (D – Ossining)
2 Church Street
Ossining, NY 10562
Office Phone: 518-455-5348
In-District Phone: 914-941-1111
GalefS@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Andrew Goodell (R – Jamestown)
Fenton Building 2 E. 2nd St. Ste.320
Jamestown
Office Phone: 518-455-4511
In-District Phone: 716-664-7773
goodella@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Aileen Gunther (D – Aileen)
Middletown City Hall, 3rd Flr., 16 James Street
Middletown, NY 10940
Office Phone: 518-455-5355
In-District Phone: 845-342-9304
GuntheA@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Andrew Hevesi (D - Forest Hills)
70-50 Austin Street, Suite 110
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Office Phone: 518-455-4926
In-District Phone: 718-263-5595
HevesiA@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Rhoda Jacobs (D – Brooklyn)
2294 Nostrand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Office Phone: 518-455-5385
In-District Phone: 718-434-0446
JacobsR@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Charles Lavine (D - Glen Cove)
70 Glen St., Suite 100
Glen Cove, NY 11542
Office Phone: 518-455-5467
In-District Phone: 516-676-0071
LavineC@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. David McDonough (R – Merrick)
404 Bedford Ave.
Bellmore, NY 11710
Office Phone: 518-455-4633
In-District Phone: 516-409-2070
McDonoD@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Amy Paulin (D – Scarsdale)
700 White Plains Rd., Suite 252
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Office Phone: 518-455-5585
In-District Phone: 914-723-1115
PaulinA@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D - Buffalo)
792 E. Delavan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14215
Office Phone: 518-455-5005
In-District Phone: 716-897-9714
PeopleC@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Edward Ra (R - Franklin Square)
Chase Bldg. 925 Hempstead Tnpk. Rm.350
Franklin Square, NY 11010
Office Phone: 518-455-4627
In-District Phone: 516-437-5577
rae@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Andrew Raia (R - East Northport)
75 Woodbine Avenue
Northport, NY 11768
Office Phone: 518-455-5952
In-District Phone: 631-261-4151
RaiaA@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Robert Rodriguez (D - Manhattan)
55 East 115th St.
NewYork, NY 10029
Office Phone: 518-455-4781
In-District Phone: 212-828-3953
rodriguezrj@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Linda Rosenthal (D - Manhattan)
230 W. 72 St, Ste. 2F
New York, NY 10023
Office Phone: 518-455-5802
In-District Phone: 212-873-6368
RosentL@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Robin Schimminger (D - Kenmore)
3514 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
Office Phone: 518-455-4767
In-District Phone: 716-873-2540
SchimmR@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Eric Stevenson (D - The Bronx)
3215 3rd Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Office Phone: 518-455-3821
In-District Phone: 718-492-6334
OrtizF@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Matthew Titone (D - Staten Island)
853 Forest Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310
Office Phone: 518-455-4677
In-District Phone: 718-442-9932
TitoneM@assembly.state.ny.us

Hon. Raymond Walter (R - East Amherst)
5555 Main St. 
Williamsville, NY 14221
Office Phone: 518-455-4618
In-District Phone: 716-634-1895
walterr@assembly.state.ny.us

Friday, May 17, 2013

Call to Action! SUPPORT New Version of Oklahoma Bill to Ban E-Cigarette Sales to Minors - HB 2097 (UPDATED)

***URGENT***

CASAA urges its Oklahoma members to contact members of the Oklahoma House and Senate, as well as Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, to SUPPORT the Conference Committee Substitute for Engrossed HB 2097.

The committee substitute for HB 2097 would NOT tax e-cigarettes, would NOT require licensing, and would NOT ban online sales. 
[legislative tracking for HB 2097]
[full text of HB 2097 Committee Substitute]
[CASAA letter in support of HB 2097]


If enacted, this bill would:
  • Ban sales of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) to minors
  • NOT tax e-cigarettes
  • NOT require a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes
  • NOT criminalize consumers who purchase e-cigarettes online online 
  • NOT define e-cigarettes to be a "tobacco product." 
  • Reduce Oklahoma's tax on "tobacco-derived" products like snus and dissolvable tobacco.  

Previously, CASAA has urged vigorous opposition to HB 2097 (previously SB 802), which would have applied taxed sales of e-cigarettes, required tobacco licensing for vendors, and could have been interpreted to ban consumers from buying e-cigarettes online.  These provisions have been removed from the bill. 

CASAA would like to thank Senator Rob Johnson, who is perhaps the most knowledgeable state legislator in the United States on the subject of tobacco harm reduction, for his tireless work to amend HB 2097 to ensure that its passage would not negatively impact Oklahoma e-cigarette consumers and small businesses. 

Passage of HB 2097 would be a major positive for the public health of Oklahoma smokers and ex-smokers, and thus we strongly urge you to SUPPORT its passage.  



Please call or write the members of the Oklahoma House and Senate, as well as Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, below 

1. Inform them you SUPPORT Conference Committee Substitute for Engrossed HB 2097 because it would wisely ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would NOT tax e-cigarettes, require a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes, or ban consumers from buying e-cigarettes online.

2. Briefly tell your story about how e-cigarettes have changed your life. 


3. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.

STEP #1: Oklahoma House of Representatives -- Who to Contact

Please e-mail the members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and ask them to vote YES on HB 2097.  Explain that the conference committee substitute for HB 2097 would *not* tax e-cigarettes, would *not* require tobacco licensing, and would *not* unduly burden online sales of e-cigarettes.  Tell your story about how e-cigarettes changed your life.  

You can also contact your own State Rep using the 'Find My Legislator' tool in the bottom right hand corner of the Oklahoma Legislature's website.  

When writing letters to legislators, be sure to include your full name and address (or at least city). 
 
Comma delimited list: donarmes@okhouse.gov, garybanz@okhouse.gov, john.bennett@okhouse.gov, scott.biggs@okhouse.gov, lisajbilly@okhouse.gov, gusblackwell@okhouse.gov, mikebrown@okhouse.gov, david.brumbaugh@okhouse.gov, ed.cannaday@okhouse.gov, dennis.casey@okhouse.gov, mike.christian@okhouse.gov, bob.cleveland@okhouse.gov, josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov, donnie.condit@okhouse.gov, anncoody@okhouse.gov, mariancooksey@okhouse.gov, dougcox@okhouse.gov, david.dank@okhouse.gov, leedenney@okhouse.gov, david.derby@okhouse.gov, daledewitt@okhouse.gov, joedorman@okhouse.gov, jon.echols@okhouse.gov, john.enns@okhouse.gov, dan.fisher@okhouse.gov, kay.floyd@okhouse.gov, will.fourkiller@okhouse.gov, larryglenn@okhouse.gov, randy.grau@okhouse.gov, elise.hall@okhouse.gov, rebeccahamilton@okhouse.gov, tommy.hardin@okhouse.gov, katie.henke@okhouse.gov, jwhickman@okhouse.gov, chuck.hoskin@okhouse.gov, arthur.hulbert@okhouse.gov, scott.inman@okhouse.gov, mikejackson@okhouse.gov, dennis.johnson@okhouse.gov, fred.jordan@okhouse.gov, charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov, sallykern@okhouse.gov, dan.kirby@okhouse.gov, steve.kouplen@okhouse.gov, james.lockhart@okhouse.gov, scott.martin@okhouse.gov, stevemartin@okhouse.gov, kevin.matthews@okhouse.gov, mark.mcbride@okhouse.gov, charles.mccall@okhouse.gov, mark.mccullough@okhouse.gov, curtis.mcdaniel@okhouse.gov, jeanniemcdaniel@okhouse.gov, randy.mcdaniel@okhouse.gov, skye.mcniel@okhouse.gov, jerrymcpeak@okhouse.gov, lewis.moore@okhouse.gov, richardmorrissette@okhouse.gov, glen.mulready@okhouse.gov, jason.murphey@okhouse.gov, jason.nelson@okhouse.gov, tom.newell@okhouse.gov, jadine.nollan@okhouse.gov, terry.odonnell@okhouse.gov, charles.ortega@okhouse.gov, leslie.osborn@okhouse.gov, pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov, david.perryman@okhouse.gov, pampeterson@okhouse.gov, anastasia.pittman@okhouse.gov, eric.proctor@okhouse.gov, rcpruett@okhouse.gov, marty.quinn@okhouse.gov, brian.renegar@okhouse.gov, mikereynolds@okhouse.gov, mike.ritze@okhouse.gov, dustin.roberts@okhouse.gov, sean.roberts@okhouse.gov, waderousselot@okhouse.gov, todd.russ@okhouse.gov, mike.sanders@okhouse.gov, colby.schwartz@okhouse.gov, seneca.scott@okhouse.gov, earl.sears@okhouse.gov, tw.shannon@okhouse.gov, mikeshelton@okhouse.gov, bensherrer@okhouse.gov, jerryshoemake@okhouse.gov, jason.smalley@okhouse.gov, aaron.stiles@okhouse.gov, todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov, johntrebilcock@okhouse.gov, mike.turner@okhouse.gov, steve.vaughan@okhouse.gov, emily.virgin@okhouse.gov, ken.walker@okhouse.gov, weldon.watson@okhouse.gov, paulwesselhoft@okhouse.gov, cory.williams@okhouse.gov, justin.wood@okhouse.gov, harold.wright@okhouse.gov

STEP #2: Oklahoma Senate -- Who to Contact

Please e-mail the members of the Oklahoma Senate and ask them to vote YES on HB 2097.  Explain that the conference committee substitute for HB 2097 would *not* tax e-cigarettes, would *not* require tobacco licensing, and would *not* unduly burden online sales of e-cigarettes.  Tell your story about how e-cigarettes changed your life.     

Comma delimited list:
aldridge@oksenate.gov, allen@oksenate.gov, anderson@oksenate.gov, ballenger@oksenate.gov, barrington@oksenate.gov, bass@oksenate.gov, bingman@oksenate.gov, boggs@oksenate.gov, branan@oksenate.gov, brecheen@oksenate.gov, brinkley@oksenate.gov, brooks@oksenate.gov, brownb@oksenate.gov, burrage@oksenate.gov, coates@oksenate.gov, crain@oksenate.gov, dahm@oksenate.gov, david@oksenate.gov, ellis@oksenate.gov, efields@oksenate.gov, fordj@oksenate.gov, garrisone@oksenate.gov, griffin@oksenate.gov, halligan@oksenate.gov, holt@oksenate.gov, ivester@oksenate.gov, johnsonc@oksenate.gov, johnsonr@oksenate.gov, jolley@oksenate.gov, justice@oksenate.gov, loveless@oksenate.gov, marlatt@oksenate.gov, mazzei@oksenate.gov, mcaffrey@oksenate.gov, newberry@oksenate.gov, paddack@oksenate.gov, schulz@oksenate.gov, sharp@oksenate.gov, shaw@oksenate.gov, shortey@oksenate.gov, shumate@oksenate.gov, simpson@oksenate.gov, sparks@oksenate.gov, standridge@oksenate.gov, stanislawski@oksenate.gov, lewis@oksenate.gov, treat@oksenate.gov, wyrick@oksenate.gov

STEP #3: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin -- How to Contact (VERY IMPORTANT)

Please e-mail Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and urge her to sign HB 2097 if it makes it to her desk.  Tell your story about how e-cigarettes changed your life and note that you vigorously support banning e-cigarette sales to minors.

E-mail her here.  

--------------------

Please note that the comments that appear below this post refer to a previous version of HB 2097.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Call to Action! Maine Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes At Same Rate as Cigarettes -- HP 950 (UPDATED)

UPDATE: (5/15/2013): On  May 15, 2013, the Joint Committee on Taxation gave a Do Not Pass Recommendation to HP 950.  The bill is no longer a substantial threat, but action from Maine vapers is still important to ensure it is not brought back. 

UPDATE (5/11/2013): A public hearing was held on HP 950 (also referred to as LD 1326) on May 6, 2013 in Augusta, Maine. No action was taken on the bill, but a work session on the bill has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at the State House (230 State Street in Augusta).

CASAA has had the opportunity to correspond with HP 950's sponsor, Rep. Megan Rochelo. Rep. Rochelo has indicated that it was not her intention in introducing HP 950 to tax sales of electronic cigarettes, and that she will be seeking out ways to amend her bill to ensure that e-cigarettes remain a non-tobacco product, and thus untaxed.

While still in opposition to the bill because of its effect on smokeless and dissolvable tobacco, CASAA is encouraged by Rep. Rochelo's forwardness. CASAA has suggested that Rochelo amend her bill to define "vapor products" as a non-tobacco product.  We will update this page when more information is available.

Maine: Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes, Smokeless Tobacco, and Dissolvables at the Same Rate as Cigarettes (HP 950)



[full text of HP 950] [legislative tracking]

If enacted, this bill would:

  1. Tax electronic cigarettes by redefining "tobacco products" under Maine tax law to include "products containing, made or derived from tobacco that are intended for human consumption by any means, or any components, parts or accessories of tobacco products." 
  2. Impose a wholesale tax on all smoke-free products (including e-cigarettes) that will be equivalent to the tax on a pack of cigarettes (currently $2.00). The Maine State Tax Assessor will be given the power to decide how this tax would be applied to e-cigarette disposables, liquid, mods, cartomizers, atomizers, batteries, etc. 
  3. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine citizen to import more than one pound of e-cigarette products (see Title 36, §4404-A
  4. Require e-cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e-cigarettes (see Title 36, §4402
  5. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine e-cigarette vendor to sell products to any retailer who does not hold a Maine retail tobacco license. (see Title 36, §4404-B)  
  6. Give law enforcement authorities the authority to seize e-cigarette products from citizens if they believe it to be contraband (i.e., it was obtained without paying the Maine tax). (see Title 36, §4404-B)
HP 950 has been referred to the Committee on Taxation, which is comprised of members of both the Maine Senate and House. No hearing has been scheduled. If you can attend the hearing or are in Maine and would like to offer your assistance in stopping this bill, please e-mail us board@casaa.org.  
 
Maine Citizens: In addition to contacting the below legislators, it is extremely important that you also speak to your own representatives.  Click here to find out who represents you in the Maine Legislature here.   

Please call or write the members of the Committee on Taxation below:

What to say:
1. You oppose HP 950 because it would impose a new, unwarranted tax on smoke-free electronic cigarettes.  Further note that HP 950 would tax not only e-cigarette disposables and liquid that contains nicotine, but also hundreds of "components, parts, [and] accessories" like kits, mods, atomizers, cartomizers, and even batteries.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco has changed your life.

3. The purpose of increasing cigarette taxes has been to cover governmental healthcare expenditure caused by smoking and to discourage smoking. But since electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvables are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.

4. HP 950 turns over substantial legislative authority to the State Tax Assessor without providing any guidance on how to tax "other tobacco products" the same as cigarettes.  How much tax would be charged on a $17 30 ml bottle of e-liquid?  A $50 e-cigarette kit?  A $200 e-cigarette kit?  A $5 cartomizer?  An $8 disposable?  No one knows, and it will be entirely up to the State Tax Assessor to make this choice.  

5. Tens of thousands of Maine consumers purchase e-cigarettes through online suppliers each year.  Under HP 950, the importation of any e-cigarette products that collectively weigh more than a pound would be a crime punishable by up to six months in jail.  This is bad public policy.

6. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would negatively impact businesses in Maine that sell e-cigarettes, as many consumers would choose to use out-of-state and international online suppliers.

7. 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.

Members of the Maine Legislature Committee on Taxation:

Comma delimited email list:
heather.macklin@legislature.maine.gov, annehask@maine.rr.com, senrebeccamillett@gmail.com, firewood@tds.net, repadam.goode@legislature.maine.gov, stanleyss@pioneercable.net, repnathan.libby@legislature.maine.gov, repmatt.moonen@legislature.maine.gov, oronoryan@gmail.com, repgary.knight@legislature.maine.gov, reppaul.bennett@legislature.maine.gov, repdon.marean@legislature.maine.gov, reproger.jackson@legislature.maine.gov, repjoe.brooks@legislature.maine.gov, repmegan.rochelo@legislature.maine.gov
  
Heather Macklin (Committee Clerk)
Room 127, State House 
(207) 287-1552 

Senator Anne M. Haskell (D-Cumberland), Chair
31 Higgins Street
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 871-5808
annehask@maine.rr.com   

Senator Rebecca J. Millett (D-Cumberland)
12 Waumbek Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
senrebeccamillett@gmail.com

Senator Douglas A. Thomas (R-Somerset)
306 Stream Road Ripley, ME 04930
(207) 277-3017
firewood@tds.net

Rep. Adam A. Goode (D-Bangor) (Cosponsor)
P. O. Box 2681
Bangor, ME 04402
(207) 991-7000
RepAdam.Goode@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Stephen S. Stanley (D-Medway)
614 Pattagumpus Road
Medway, ME 04460
(207) 746-5371
stanleyss@pioneercable.net

Rep. Nathan L. Libby (D-Lewiston)
12 Orange Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
(207) 399-7993
RepNathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Matthew W. Moonen (D-Portland)
17 Pine Street #2
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 332-7823
RepMatt.Moonen@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Ryan D. Tipping-Spitz (D-Orono) (Cosponsor)
279 Main St
Orono, ME 04473
(207) 866-4333
oronoryan@gmail.com

Rep. L. Gary Knight (R-Livermore Falls)*, Ranking Minority Member (Cosponsor)
453 Moose Hill Road
Livermore Falls, ME 04254
(207) 897-2489
RepGary.Knight@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Paul Edward Bennett (R-Kennebunk)
6 Woodside Drive
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 985-6269
RepPaul.Bennett@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Donald G. Marean (R-Hollis)
233 Bonny Eagle Road
Hollis, ME 04042
(207) 727-5527
RepDon.Marean@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Roger A. Jackson (R-Oxford) (Cosponsor)
50 Hebron Road
Oxford, ME 04270
(207) 539-4613
reproger.jackson@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Joseph E. Brooks (U-Winterport)
325 Stream Road
Winterport, ME 04496
(207) 223-5041
RepJoe.Brooks@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Megan Rochelo (D-Biddeford) (Bill Sponsor -- Not a Taxation Committee member)
P. O. Box 2433
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 929-0110 
RepMegan.Rochelo@legislature.maine.gov

Monday, May 13, 2013

Call to Action! Kitsap County, Washington E-Cigarette Usage Ban

Kitsap County, WA: Attempt to Add Smoke-Free Electronic Cigarettes to "Smoking" Ban

According to a report in the Kitsap Sun, Kitsap County's Public Health Board appears to be gearing up to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is banned. As stated by members of the Health Board, the ban would be so draconian that it would not even permit vaping in e-cigarette stores.  

If you are from the Kitsap County area and could attend the hearing when it is scheduled, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org with the subject line "Kitsap County Testimony."  In the meantime, please attempt to make contact (phone calls and letters preferred to e-mails, but any communication is good communication) with all the members of the Public Health Board. 

When Seattle-King County, Washington proposed banning e-cigarette usage in public places in 2010, very few vapers showed up to testify.  The ban was passed.  When Tacoma-Pierce County tried the same thing in 2011, well over 50 vapers attended and the issue garnered some significant local media attention.  A far less harsh 'compromise' bill was then passed.  

What will the response be like in 2013?  We're anticipating far more this time around.  But  before the hearing, civic engagement with members of the Public Health Board is needed


What to say:

1. You would like them to vote NO on any ordinance that would ban the use of smoke free electronic cigarettes
wherever smoking is banned.

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.

3. Explain how electronic cigarette use is easy to distinguish from actual smoking. Although some e-cigarettes resemble real cigarettes, many do not. It is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette, from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless, and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke.

4. Refer them to the recent study, "Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapour from electronic cigarettes," which was funded in part by the U.S. National Institute of Health. The study tested 12 different e-cigarettes, as well as a medicinal nicotine inhaler, and found that the levels of toxicants in the e-cigarette products were "9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product [nicotine inhaler]." This study, as well as others, show that there is no threat to bystanders from e-cigarette use.

5. If you are a Kitsap County resident and currently vape in public, talk your experience. Do businesses you frequent allow you to vape? What about your office?

6. Inform them that the ability to use electronic cigarettes in public spaces will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch. Surveys of thousands of users indicate that the majority of those who switch, completely replace tobacco cigarettes with the electronic cigarettes, reducing their health risks by 98-99%.

7. Tell them that by switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

8. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.


Members of the Kitsap County Public Health Board 

Kitsap County residents are strongly encouraged to make one-on-one contact with the members of the Public Health Board.  Please note that the Call to Action includes the names of the cities that these legislators represent. 


Comma delimited list: mayor@ci.bremerton.wa.us, berickson@cityofpoulsbo.com, tmatthes@cityofportorchard.us, sblossom@bainbridgewa.gov,
jwbrown@co.kitsap.wa.us, rgelder@co.kitsap.wa.us, cgarrido@co.kitsap.wa.us 

Mayor Patty Lent (Mayor of Bremerton)
Norm Dicks Government Center
345 6th Street, Suite 600
Bremerton, WA 98337
Phone: (360) 473-5266
Fax: (360) 473-5883
mayor@ci.bremerton.wa.us

Mayor Becky Erickson (Mayor of Poulsbo)
City of Poulsbo
P.O. Box 98
Poulsbo, WA 98370
Phone: (360) 394 9700
berickson@cityofpoulsbo.com

Mayor Tim Mathes (Mayor of Port Orchard)
City of Port Orchard
216 Prospect Street
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone: (360) 876-4407
Fax: (360) 895-9029
tmatthes@cityofportorchard.us

Councilwoman Sarah Blossom (Bainbridge Island City Council)
280 Madison Avenue North
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: (206) 715-3204
sblossom@bainbridgewa.gov

Commissioner Josh Brown (Kitsap County Board of Commissioners)
(Silverdale, Tracyton, Seabeck, Illahee, Brownsville, Crosby, Holly, Rocky Point, majority of Bremerton) 
Kitsap County Courthouse
614 Division Street, MS-4
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone: (360) 337-7146
Fax: (360) 337-4632
jwbrown@co.kitsap.wa.us

Commissioner Robert Gelder (Kitsap County Board of Commissioners) 
(Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Bangor, Keyport, Kingston, Navy Yard City, Port Gamble)
Kitsap County Courthouse
614 Division Street, MS-4
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone: (360) 337-7146
Fax: (360) 337-4632
rgelder@co.kitsap.wa.us

Commissioner Charlotte Garrido (Kitsap County Board of Commissioners) 
(Port Orchard, Bethel, Burley, Chico, Manchester, Parkwood)
Kitsap County Courthouse
614 Division Street, MS-4
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone: (360) 337-7146
Fax: (360) 337-4632
cgarrido@co.kitsap.wa.us