Calls to Action

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Call to Action! Kentucky Bills to Ban E-Cigarette Usage & Impose Excessive Tax

UPDATED 2/21/2014: Great job Kentucky vapers!  The sponsor of the smoking ban bill (HB 173), Rep. Susan Westrom, has filed an amendment to her own bill to remove electronic cigarettes from the definition of "smoking"!  While victory cannot be declared yet, this is an excellent sign. CASAA thanks you for taking action and we especially want to thank Rep. Stan Lee, who put forward the original amendment to remove e-cigarettes.

While victory appears imminent on the "smoking" ban issue, the tax threat remains! With the news that Governor Steve Beshear has endorsed a far reaching "tax reform" plan that would include taxing electronic cigarettes at 20% of value and increasing the tax on smokeless tobacco, Kentucky has become a serious threat to harm reduction in the United States.**

Governor Beshear's plan has not yet been assigned a bill number (i.e. HB ___) nor has the full wording been released. The below summary will be updated when it is available. 


************
 

If enacted, Governor Beshear's proposal would
  • Tax e-cigarette devices and liquids at 20% of wholesale price
  • Tax smokeless tobacco products at 25% (a 65% tax increase)
  • See below for other consequences of taxation...
 
If enacted, HB 173's Amendments #2 and #5 would:
  • Clarify that electronic cigarettes are NOT banned under Kentucky's smoke-free laws. 
  • Ban smoking in thousands of additional workplaces and public places in Kentucky, but NOT electronic cigarette use.

Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts regarding this and other legislation in Kentucky and across the United States. We will alert you when there are other opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the Kentucky State Legislature. 

Please respond to both of the below Call to Actions. 


A BRIEF GUIDE TO STOPPING THESE BILLS
(Updated 2/21/2014)

(1) Kentucky citizens, please call the Kentucky Legislature message line at 1-800-372-7181 (open for calls Monday - Thursday from 7am - 11pm and Friday from 7am to 6pm), and ask that this message be delivered to all the Kentucky State Representatives and Senators: 

"Please oppose Governor Beshear's plan to tax electronic cigarettes and increase the tax on smokeless tobacco because both would harm public health and hurt small businesses in Kentucky. Also, please support Amendments #2 and #5 to HB 173, as they would ensure that smoke-free electronic cigarettes are not included in Kentucky's smoking ban." 


These phone calls may make more of an impact on Kentucky legislators than e-mails. These messages really are delivered on a daily basis and Kentucky legislators take these phone messages seriously. 

(2) Contact your State Representative and Senator to ask them to oppose Governor Beshear's tax reform plan and support Amendments #2 and #5 to HB 173 for the same reasons as outlined above (as well as additional reasons outlined below). Phone calls and in-person meetings are strongly encouraged.

(3) Call or e-mail the members of the Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee and ask them to OPPOSE any new taxes on electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in Governor Beshear's tax proposal.  Tell them your story and let them know that a tax on electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco will both harm public health and hurt small businesses in Kentucky.  Phone calls and in-person meetings are strongly encouraged (see below or phone numbers and extended talking points).


Kentucky residents should know that while e-mails can have an impact, phone calls (even short ones where you only leave a message) will have a much larger impact.

Comma delimited e-mail list (incomplete -- see webform links below):
rick.rand@lrc.ky.gov, dwight.butler@lrc.ky.gov, bob.deweese@lrc.ky.gov, arnold.simpson@lrc.ky.gov, john.carney@lrc.ky.gov, leslie.combs@lrc.ky.gov, ron.crimm@lrc.ky.gov, robert.damron@lrc.ky.gov, myron.dossett@lrc.ky.gov, kelly.flood@lrc.ky.gov, jim.glenn@lrc.ky.gov, richard.henderson@lrc.ky.gov, marthajane.king@lrc.ky.gov, jimmie.lee@lrc.ky.gov, marie.rader@lrc.ky.gov, jody.richards@lrc.ky.gov, sal.santoro@lrc.ky.gov, jim.stewart@lrc.ky.gov, tommy.turner@lrc.ky.gov, david.watkins@lrc.ky.gov, susan.westrom@lrc.ky.gov, jill.york@lrc.ky.gov  


Please see below for extended Call to Actions on these bills

I. STOP GOVERNOR BESHEAR'S E-CIGARETTE TAX
 
Governor Steve Beshear's proposal, described below based off of public statements made about the tax plan, will likely be introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives as a bill in the coming days.  We will update this Call to Action when more concrete details are available.

If enacted, Governor Beshear's proposal would
  • Tax e-cigarette devices and liquids at 20% of wholesale price
  • Tax smokeless tobacco products at 25% (a tax increase of over 65%)
  • Increase the cigarette tax from $0.60 to $1.00 (CASAA takes no position, but notes that most disposable electronic cigarettes would be taxed higher than cigarettes under this plan!)
  • Require e-cigarette retailers to be licensed to sell 'tobacco products'
  • Mandate that e-cigarette retailers may only purchase e-cigarette devices from tobacco distributors licensed by the State of Kentucky

Please call or write the members of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee below and tell them:
  1. You would like them to OPPOSE Governor Beshear's "tax reform" plan because it would needlessly impose a 20% tax on the sale of electronic cigarette devices and liquids, as well as hike the tax on smokeless tobacco by over 65%.
  2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or another smoke-free product has changed your life.
  3. Explain that while high cigarette taxes are justified by many as necessary to cover governmental healthcare expenditures caused by smoking and encourage smokers to quit smoking, trying to impose similar levels of tax on reduced risk products like e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco does not make sense.
    • E-cigarettes are estimated to pose approximately 1% of the risk of that from smoking. Moreover, decades of evidence confirm that smokeless tobacco poses similar minute risks. Given the low risks of these products, there is no need to impose a punitive tax on either product category.
    • The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Thomas Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand, Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, and by the fact that the 2009 FDA testing, in spite of its press statement, failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in e-cigarette vapor.
      4.  Explain:
    • Imposing such taxes on e-cigarettes could have devastating effects on Kentucky small businesses. Moreover, many Kentucky consumers will avoid the tax by buying online, and the costs to the Kentucky government to collect taxes from these citizens could outweigh the revenue the tax will bring the State.
    • Smokers who switch to less hazardous e-cigarettes instead of continuing to smoke do so because e-cigarettes are less expensive than cigarettes.  Increasing the cost of e-cigarettes with punitive taxes would discourage many smokers from switching to e-cigarettes.  It could also encourage some e-cigarette consumers to go back to cigarette smoking.
      5.  Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.  

Comma delimited e-mail list (incomplete -- see webform links):
rick.rand@lrc.ky.gov, dwight.butler@lrc.ky.gov, bob.deweese@lrc.ky.gov, arnold.simpson@lrc.ky.gov, john.carney@lrc.ky.gov, leslie.combs@lrc.ky.gov, ron.crimm@lrc.ky.gov, robert.damron@lrc.ky.gov, myron.dossett@lrc.ky.gov, kelly.flood@lrc.ky.gov, jim.glenn@lrc.ky.gov, richard.henderson@lrc.ky.gov, marthajane.king@lrc.ky.gov, jimmie.lee@lrc.ky.gov, marie.rader@lrc.ky.gov, jody.richards@lrc.ky.gov, sal.santoro@lrc.ky.gov, jim.stewart@lrc.ky.gov, tommy.turner@lrc.ky.gov, david.watkins@lrc.ky.gov, susan.westrom@lrc.ky.gov, jill.york@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Rick Rand (D -- District 47) 
Work: (502) 255 - 3286 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 ext. 619 
Fax: (502) 255-9911 / Home: (502) 255 - 3392
Rick.Rand@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Dwight D. Butler (R -- District 18) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 640 
Home: (270) 756-0100 
Dwight.Butler@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Bob M. DeWeese (R -- District 48) 
Annex: (502) 564-4334 
Capitol: (502) 564-5391 / Home: (502) 426-5565 
Bob.DeWeese@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Arnold Simpson (D -- District 65) 
Work: (859) 261-6577 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 695 
Fax: (859) 261-6582 / Home: (859) 581-6521 
Arnold.Simpson@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. John Carney (R -- District 51) 
Annex: (502) 564-5855
Capitol: (502) 564-5855 / Home: (270) 465-5400 
John.Carney@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Leslie Combs (D -- District 94) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 669 
Home: (606) 444-6672
Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Jesse Crenshaw (D -- District 77) 
Work: (859) 259-1402 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 620 
Fax: (859) 259-1441 / Home: (859) 252-6967 
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H077.aspx

Rep. Ron Crimm (R -- District 33) 
Work: (502) 400-3838 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 706 
Home: (502) 245-8905
Ron.Crimm@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Robert R. Damron (D -- District 39) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 614 
Home: (859) 887-1744
Robert.Damron@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Mike Denham (D -- District 70) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 696 
Home: (606) 759-5167
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H070.aspx

Rep. Myron Dossett (R -- District 9) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 657 
Home: (270) 475-9503
Myron.Dossett@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Kelly Flood (D -- District 75) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 675 
Cell: (859) 221-3107 
Kelly.Flood@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Jim Glenn (D -- District 13) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 705 
Home: (270) 686-8760 
Jim.Glenn@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Richard Henderson (D -- District 74) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 642 
Home: (859) 585-0886
Richard.Henderson@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Martha Jane King (D -- District 16) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 618 
Fax: (270) 657-2755 / Home: (270) 657-2707 
MarthaJane.King@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Jimmie Lee (D -- District 25) 
Work: (270) 765-6222 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 650 
Fax: (270) 765-2312 / Home: (270) 737-8889
Jimmie.Lee@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Reginald Meeks (D -- District 42) 
Work: (502) 741-7464 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 653 
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H042.aspx

Rep. Marie Rader (R -- District 89) 
Work: (606) 287-3300 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 720 
Fax: (606) 287-3300 / Home: (606) 287-7303
Marie.Rader@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Jody Richards (D -- District 20) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 699 
Home: (270) 842-6731
Jody.Richards@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Steven Rudy (R -- District 1) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 637 
Home: (270) 744-8137
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H001.aspx

Rep. Sal Santoro (R -- District 60) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 691 
Fax: (859) 371-4060 / Home: (859) 371-8840
Sal.Santoro@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Rita Smart (D -- District 81) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 607 
Home: (859) 623-7876
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H081.aspx

Rep. John Will Stacy (D -- District 71) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 693
Fax: (606) 743-1516 / Home: (606) 743-1516
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H071.aspx

Rep. Fitz Steele (D -- District 84) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 697 
Fax: (606) 439-0556 / Home: (606) 439-0556
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H084.aspx

Rep. Jim Stewart III (R -- District 86) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 690 
Home: (606) 542-5210
Jim.Stewart@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Tommy Turner (R -- District 85) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 716 
Home: (606) 274-5175
Tommy.Turner@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. David Watkins (D -- District 11) 
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 700 
Fax: (270) 826-3338 / Home: (270) 826-0952 
David.Watkins@lrc.ky.gov 

Rep. Jim Wayne (D -- District 35) 
Work: (502) 451-8262 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 616 
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H035.aspx

Rep. Susan Westrom (D -- District 79) 
Work: (859) 266-7581 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 740 
Susan.Westrom@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Addia Wuchner (R -- District 66) 
Work: (859) 525-6698 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 707 
Webform: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Messages/H066.aspx

Rep. Jill York (R -- District 96) 
Work: (606) 474-7263 / Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 602 
Fax: (606) 474-7638 
Jill.York@lrc.ky.gov

II. STOP THE KENTUCKY E-CIGARETTE USAGE BAN (HB 173)

[full text and tracking of HB 173]


As noted above, the sponsor of the HB 173, Rep. Susan Westrom, has filed an amendment that would remove the prohibition on electronic cigarette usage! Rep. Stan Lee has also filed a similar amendment. Please see above on how to SUPPORT enactment of either amendment.

If enacted, HB 173 would:

  • Ban smoking in thousands of additional workplaces and public places in Kentucky, but would also deceptively redefine "smoking" to include the use of electronic cigarettes and prohibit their use anywhere smoking is prohibited (including retail e-cigarette stores).

UPDATE 2/9/2014: As expected, the House Committee on Health and Welfare passed HB 173 out of committee. We will update this Call to Action when it is assigned to a new committee.

HB 173 is currently before the House Committee on Health and Welfare.  Last year, this committee rubber stamped a similar version of this bill with little to no discussion of the e-cigarette issue. This year, we need to ramp up our pressure so that the legislators are forced to explain why they are including a smoke-free product in a smoking ban.

Please call or write your State Representative and Senator and say:
  1. You would like them to OPPOSE HB173, which would ban smoke-free e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited.
  2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.
  3. Explain:
    • Smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been shown to cause harm to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless nicotine products.
    • A published comprehensive review by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found "no apparent concern" for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under "worst case" assumptions about exposure.
    • 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. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor ("discreet vaping"). With so little evidence of use, enforcing indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible.
    • 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 and estimated 99%.
    • By switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.
     4.  Direct them to the CASAA.org website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information.

** The fact that Governor Beshear is pushing for his own electronic cigarette tax makes HB 220 (40% e-cigarette device tax) and HB 319 (15% e-cigarette device and component tax) highly unlikely to move.  We will continue to monitor these two bills, but we urge you to focus on the significant threat of Beshear's tax plan and the e-cigarette usage ban. 

3 comments:

  1. I sent the names above the below email and i encourage you to send them your own story!!

    Please do not let these bills pass! Banning electronic cigarettes or making them to expensive to buy is not going to stop smoking. It will only stop people from finding a healthier alternative and making their lives better. Facts: Smoking bans are enacted to protect the public from the harm of secondhand smoke, but e-cigarettes have not been shown to cause harm to bystanders. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with e-cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless nicotine products. 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. Additionally, e-cigarette users can decide whether to release any vapor ("discreet vaping"). With so little evidence of use, enforcing indoor use bans on electronic cigarettes would be nearly impossible. 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%. By switching to a smokeless product, you have greatly reduced your health risks. Electronic cigarettes changed my life in more ways than just to help me quit smoking. My name is Ashley Workman, I am 22 and I smoked a pack or more a day for 6 years. I admitted to parents that I was addicted to cigarettes when I was 16 years old. By 22, I coughed constantly. When I woke up in the morning I could barely breathe and would cough like I had pneumonia for the first 2 hours of my day. I have now been vaping for 7 months, and I can feel the difference everyday. By 2 months I could breathe. No more coughing! Everything smells better and food tastes better. By 4 months I felt like a whole new person. Which then prompted me to make other changes. I figured if making that one change could make me feel this good, making bigger changes would make me feel even better! I changed the way I eat, the things I drink, and I started exercising. In three months I have lost 27lbs! I couldn't/wouldn't have made these changes as a smoker. Electronic cigarettes are not the be all, end all solution to nicotine addiction. But they are the best first step! They save lives! Please do not take away this opportunity for the members of your community to make their lives better! You will not regret making the right decision and removing electronic cigarettes from this and future bans! Thank you for taking the time to read my story. You can find thousands of stories just like mine on CASAA.ORG. You should also visit their research library for more great facts and studies showing the reduced harm of electronics cigarettes. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If these laws are passed, I would recommend all ecig stores and shops ignore the new laws. Donate to your local ecig shops for legal fees and persuade them to ignore the new law if enacted. If these small businesses stand up to these over reaches, perhaps they will repeal or ignore enforcement of the law.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ban e-cigarettes.... Really?!! Yeah, that's intelligent.. With all the problems that we have in this world and their "Priority" is to ban e-cigarettes.... Lol!!! Excuse me while I laugh a moment..... I have a solution.. Let's say that half of the people that live in Kentucky smoke. That's 50/50, easy math. Gov. Breshear wants to raise taxes on e-cigarette to 20%. Ok, I could see that. I could also it to being a little discriminating.. I could also see it being a problem for the 50% that has to pay a tax that the other 50% doesn't. So here's the solution.. If it is determined that we are to pay "ANOTHER" tax, then raise taxes on toilet paper 10%.... That way everyone pays.. Why? Because everybody needs toilet paper.... It might sound petty, but it's not any less petty than raising taxes on e-cigarettes! It isn't our fault they can't balance their check book! Here's an idea! Stop spending our money on things that doesn't matter!

    ReplyDelete

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