Thursday, March 27, 2014

Call to Action! Ohio's Governor Kasich is Proposing a Tax on E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco at an Outrageous 49% of Wholesale



In search of revenue to fill gaps in a proposal he calls a 'tax reform' package, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) has proposed taxing electronic cigarettes (including devices) at an excessive 49% of wholesale and raising the tax on other low-risk smoke-free products.  Please take action to stop this proposal!

If enacted, Gov. Kasich's proposal would:
  • Tax electronic cigarette devices, components, and liquids at 49% of wholesale (a 750% tax increase from 5.75% sales tax now collected on sales)
  • Raise the tax on smokeless tobacco from 17% to 49% (a 188% tax increase)
  • Declare e-cigarettes to be tobacco products and subject to the same licensing restrictions
  • Raise the tax on cigarettes from $1.25 to $1.85 a pack (CASAA takes no position on cigarette taxes)
Currently, this tax proposal is found in HB 472, a massive bill hundreds of pages in length that, in the near future, will likely be split into 10-15 different bills.  We need to start fighting now and continue to even if the public is told the plan may be delayed.

Below you will find contact information for the members of the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee, which is the first committee that will hear the e-cigarette tax. 

Of course, in addition to contacting the members of the House Ways &  Means Committee, you should also make personal contact with your own State Representative and Senator (look them up at the bottom left hand corner here).  Those in Ohio can call 1-800-282-0253 to reach your House Representative's office Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Let them know that you are in their district and want them to oppose this unfair and punitive tax hike. Educate them about how e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes are so different.

Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts regarding this and other legislation in Ohio and across the United States. We will alert you when there are other opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the Ohio State Legislature. You can also join the Ohio Vapers Advocacy League on Facebook.  See below for further information on how to take action!    

Important: 2014 is an election year, and Ohio vapers needs to respectfully make it known that they vote and that they care about this important public health issue.  




STOP THE 49% OHIO E-CIGARETTE & SMOKELESS TAX
(last updated 3/26/2014)

 What to say when opposing Gov. John Kasich's tax plan:
  1. You are an Ohio resident, and you would like them to please protect public health, consumers, and small businesses in Ohio and OPPOSE Governor John Kasich's brand new sin tax on electronic cigarettes and tax increase on smokeless tobacco.   (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to Ohio on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)
  2. Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products has changed your life.
  3. Explain that because electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to Ohio sales tax, enactment of a 49% excise tax would constitute a 750% tax hike on Ohio's overwhelmingly low-income tobacco and nicotine users. The tax on smokeless tobacco is being hiked 188%.   
  4. Explain that Governor Kasich's proposal would actually tax batteries and other components in the device.  Electronic cigarettes are technology, not tobacco, and should not be classified as tobacco products under Ohio law.
  5. Explain that the purpose of states imposing high cigarette taxes is ostensibly to cover governmental healthcare expenditures caused by smoking and to discourage smoking.  However, e-cigarettes are estimated to pose approximately 1% of the risk of that from smoking.  Therefore, there is absolutely no financial or public health justification for such a hefty tax.
  6. Supporters of this legislation claim that punitive taxes should be imposed on all tobacco products for public health reasons.  However, the truth is that there is absolutely no public health benefit to excessively taxing products that pose an estimated 1% of the risk of that of smoking.  In fact, imposing high taxes on low-risk products will work against the interests of public health by discouraging smokers from using a far, far safer alternative to smoking.
  7. Given the low risk of e-cigarette use (and smokeless tobacco use), there is no need to impose a punitive tax on e-cigarettes.

    The low risks of e-cigarettes is supported by research done by Dr. Siegel of Boston University, Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth, Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. 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 the vapor.

    A comprehensive review by Dr. Igor Burstyn of  Drexel University, 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. 
  8. Imposing such taxes on e-cigarettes could have devastating effects on Ohio small businesses. Moreover, many Ohio consumers will avoid the tax by buying online, and the costs to the Ohio government to collect taxes from these citizens could outweigh the revenue the tax will bring the State.  
  9. Ohio small businesses, burdened with excessive taxes, will be unable to compete with out-of-state companies, reducing the number of brick and mortar shops available for Ohio consumers.  E-cigarette shops are more than simply stores. They provide an important resource for smokers looking to dramatically reduce their health risks by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that poses an estimated 99% less risk than smoking.   These stores offer knowledgeable employees and diverse products to allow adult smokers to make a successful transition from smoking to e-cigarette use.  Any state action that has the result of reducing the number of brick and mortar specialty e-cigarette shops would have devastating results for adult consumers.
  10. Many 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. 
  11.  Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.

How to Contact the Members of the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee:

Note: Next to each Representatives' name is their party affiliation, city of residence (i.e., what general area they represent), and district number. Find district maps here.

Rep. Jeff McClain (R - Upper Sandusky, D 87)
Phone: (614) 644-6265 / Fax: (614) 719-6982
Email Representative McClain
Twitter: @RepJeffMcClain

Rep. Gary Scherer (R - Circleville, D 92)
Phone: (614) 644-7928 / Fax: (614) 719-6985
Email Representative Gary Scherer
Twitter: @RepGaryScherer  

Rep. Tom Letson (D - Warren, D 64)
Phone: (614) 466-5358 / Fax: (614) 719-3964
Email Representative Tom Letson

Rep. John Adams (R - Sidney, D 85)
Phone: (614) 466-1507 / Fax: (614) 719-3978
Email Representative John Adams

Rep. Ron Amstutz (R - Wooster, D 1)
Phone: (614) 466-1474 / Fax: (614) 719-0003
Email Representative Ron Amstutz
Twitter: @repamstutz 

Rep. Nan A. Baker (R - Westlake, D 16)
Phone: (614) 466-0961 / Fax: (614) 719-3998
Email Representative Nan A. Baker

Rep. John Barnes, Jr (R - Westlake, D 16)
Phone: (614) 466-1408 / Fax: (614) 719-3912
Email Representative John Barnes, Jr
Twitter: @Barnes0658 

Rep. Peter Beck, Jr (R - Mason, D 54)
Phone: (614) 644-6027 / Fax: (614) 719-3967
Email Representative Peter Beck, Jr
Twitter: @PeteBeckOhioRep

Rep. John Becker, Jr (R - Union Township , D 65)
Phone: (614) 466-8134 / Fax: (614) 719-3966
Email Representative John Becker, Jr
Twitter: @BeckerGOP 

Rep. Terry Blair, Jr (R - Washington Township, D 42)
Phone: (614) 466-6504 / Fax: (614) 719-6966
Email Representative Terry Blair, Jr

Rep. Jack Cera, Jr (D - Bellaire, D 96)
Phone: (614) 466-3735 / Fax: (614) 719-6995
Email Representative Jack Cera, Jr
Twitter: @jackbellaire 

Rep. Mike Foley, Jr (D - Cleveland, D 14)
Phone: (614) 466-3350 / Fax: (614) 719-3910
Email Representative Mike Foley, Jr

Rep. Doug Green, Jr (R - Mount Orab, D 66)
Phone: (614) 644-6034 / Fax: (614) 719-6988
Email Representative Doug Green, Jr

Rep. Brian Hill, Jr (R - Zanesville, D 97)
Phone: (614) 644-6014 / Fax: (614) 719-6994
Email Representative Brian Hill, Jr
Twitter: @RepBrianHill

Rep. Bill Patmon (D - Cleveland, D 10)
Phone: (614) 466-7954 / Fax: (614) 719-0010
Email Representative Bill Patmon, Jr
Twitter: @RepBillPatmon 

Rep. John M. Rogers (D - Mentor On The Lake, D 60)
Phone: (614) 466-7251 / Fax: (614) 719-3962
Email Representative John M. Rogers, Jr
Twitter: @Rep_Rogers60 

Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D - Canton, D 49)
Phone: (614) 466-8030 / Fax: (614) 719-6952
Email Representative Stephen Slesnick, Jr
Twitter: @stephenslesnick 

Rep. Gerald L. Stebelton (R - Lancaster, D 77)
Phone: (614) 466-8100 / Fax: (614) 719-0005
Email Representative Gerald L. Stebelton, Jr

Rep. Louis Terhar (R - Cincinnati , D 30)
Phone: (614) 466-8258 / Fax: (614) 719-3584
Email Representative Louis Terhar, Jr

Rep. Roland Winburn (D - Dayton, D 43)
Phone: (614) 466-2960 / Fax: (614) 719-6940
Email Representative Roland Winburn, Jr
Twitter: @RolandWinburn 

22 comments:

  1. I called and spoke to a polite lady. I told her I oppose the e cigarette and smokeless tobacco tax proposed by Governor Kasich. She took my information down, and added me to the list of people against the tax. I then sent this information to my local Vape Store Legend Vapors asking them to post a banner in their store asking people to call in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm confused. Ohio HB144 defines electronic cigarettes as "alternative nicotine products" not tobacco products. HB144 has already been signed into law by the Governor. How can HB472 impose a tax on e-cigs as a tobacco product when they've already been defined in Ohio law as not being tobacco products?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because they do what they want to in their own arrogant way. They no longer are representatives of the electorate, they represent lobbyists. Money talks, voter squawks!

      Delete
    2. well,said...plus sales tax went up again...and gas is still high

      Delete
  3. Jeff H, that is a very legitimate question.. I am interested in what the law makers are going to do about this. I smoked for 36 yrs b4 quitting using a vaporizer. I was on oxygen for lung disease from smoking cigarettes. I know first hand the incredibly wonderful benefits of using a different way to get nicotine. I tried all forms of quitting smoking and thank god for "E CIGARETTES"! Or else I would be dead today!

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    Replies
    1. Same here Theresa D. I can't understand why there is such a push to demonize electronic cigarettes when they are helping so many people! It just doesn't make sense!

      Delete
    2. I was a pack a day smoker for 25years. I went without of voice for close to a year due to smoking cigarettes. Since I have used a vapor I quit smoking totally. This is helping people. Don't understand. Guess its something else to cry about!

      Delete
    3. It is about greed, plain and simple. It is about tobacco and big pharma lobbyists (like the makers of nicorette) being upset that they are losing money to a new industry which they have no control over. They use their powerful ties in politics (like many rich companies do in this country) for there own financial benefit rather than what is best for the people and that goes for the politicians too. Cigarette smokers have already shown that despite the ridiculous prices/taxes of cigarettes they will continue to buy because they are addicted. E-cigs is pulling people away from both the cigarette market and the nicotine replacement therapy market. In raising the taxes to a ridiculous amount on e-cigs they hope people will give up and return to buying their products.

      And if this tax includes batteries, mods and other accessories that is even worse. Cigarette rolling machines, lighters, and etc. only have regular sales tax added, not the inflated cigarette tax. But our e-cig hardware will be unfairly taxed. When I used to roll my own the loose tobacco was never taxed as much as a pack of cigarettes.

      The increase in cigarette tax was said to be to get more people to quit yet when we find a healthier alternative to cigarettes they want to tax the hell out of it. It doesn't make any logical sense. I conclude that greed is the culprit. All that matters is how fat their pocket books can get, not the health and well being of their constituents.

      Delete
    4. Separation from church and state lol. It is considered a "sin tax" but what of its not a sin in my religion? I still pay the sin tax. If they were worried about children using these as a gateway to smoking real cigarettes they would not allow real cigarettes to be sold. It's always about money these people our government are metaphorical "vampires" we are born to make these people rich on our blood sweat and backs. But if enough of us stand up and practice our right to stand up and tell them we are not going stand for this and I am willing to fight for my choices. If you wanna be rich off my back I have the right to do what I want for me and also my fellow "normal's" too.

      Delete
  4. Is there a list of emails we can contact rather than by the forms? The forms are horribly short, and character content limited, and touching on the full list of topics is nearly impossibly short area allowed by the form.

    ReplyDelete
  5. first line of HB144 (1) "Cigarette," "alternative nicotine product," and "tobacco product" have the same meanings as in section 2927.02 of the
    Revised Code.
    I tried to warn everyone before but everyone insisted that it was just a bill to keep it out of the hands of children. This is what happens when we do not read every word and listen to what others say is okay

    ReplyDelete
  6. It would be nice FrawgzDezignz but I have searched as you probably have and only come up with the form for contacting them.
    On the technical legality issue mention by Jeff H I wonder if that would null and void the whole thing. You can't classify them as two different things at least to my limited understanding it doesn't seem sensible to me either. HELP WE NEED A WAY TO CONTACT THEM, and it may be snail mail only... shite!

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  7. More info on the contact form. 2000 character limit.

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  8. Is there an online template that can be submitted? I question whether those taking the messages are really conveying them in their entirity. Additionally, has anyone considered a class action approach to forcing vapers (non smokers) to vape in close proximity to smokers, where secondhand smoke is prevelant, and a confirmed cancer causing agent?

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  9. That 2000 character limit is rough. Spent a good hour writing a nice 2 page letter for this and had to cut it down to more just bullet points.

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  10. So HB472 has nothing to do with tobacco products or alternative tobacco products- http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_472

    Also, how does Issue 7 fit in with the current legislation that is being proposed here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa

      HB 472 is a HUGE piece of legislation that deal with hundreds of different, mostly unrelated issues. The tobacco and alternative tobacco product pieces are about 3 pages long out of hundreds. That is one of the scary parts as I know that no one is going to even read the entire bill before they vote for or against. They are going to hear TAX CUT and jump on the bandwagon.

      Delete
  11. It is about greed, plain and simple. It is about tobacco and big pharma lobbyists (like the makers of nicorette) being upset that they are losing money to a new industry which they have no control over. They use their powerful ties in politics (like many rich companies do in this country) for there own financial benefit rather than what is best for the people and that goes for the politicians too. Cigarette smokers have already shown that despite the ridiculous prices/taxes of cigarettes they will continue to buy because they are addicted. E-cigs is pulling people away from both the cigarette market and the nicotine replacement therapy market. In raising the taxes to a ridiculous amount on e-cigs they hope people will give up and return to buying their products.

    And if this tax includes batteries, mods and other accessories that is even worse. Cigarette rolling machines, lighters, and etc. only have regular sales tax added, not the inflated cigarette tax. But our e-cig hardware will be unfairly taxed. When I used to roll my own the loose tobacco was never taxed as much as a pack of cigarettes.

    The increase in cigarette tax was said to be to get more people to quit yet when we find a healthier alternative to cigarettes they want to tax the hell out of it. It doesn't make any logical sense. I conclude that greed is the culprit. All that matters is how fat their pocket books can get, not the health and well being of their constituents.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Unfortunately the proposed legislation was crafted by someone who knew what they were doing as far as closing any potential loopholes. My interpretation (and it could be wrong) is that any liquid intended for vaping, whether it includes nicotine or not would be subject to the tax. Any hardware designed to be used or that could be used to vape would be taxed.

    I don't think this is a big pharma or big tobacco play. This is governor Kasich trying to get through a revenue neutral "tax cut" in Ohio. He's going to make a majority of the people very happy with a significant state income tax cut and only upset a pretty small minority of the voters that vape, smoke, chew and dip.

    While I hate the legislation (I am a vendor and a vaper), I think that how he has positioned it, there is a good chance of passing. The majority of the population, the people that elect our representatives and governor, could care less about electronic cigarettes.

    I am still trying to determine whether the excise tax would have to be applied by Ohio-based vendors when selling out of state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you believe that big money interests being hurt by E-cig sales is not behind every pc of legislation proposed in all the states they are showing up, you had better think again. Does the new tax increase the sales cost of tobacco or nicotine containing products? No? Don't you wonder why?

      Delete
  13. To post more than 2000 characters to your Ohio representative, when you hit the limit, just submit, click Back on your browser, delete contents, type some more, and submit again! I added "part 2" and "part 3" to the subject of my additional submits so it's clear they go together.

    You can find your Ohio representative here:
    http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/district-map

    ReplyDelete
  14. just posted message to my rep in district 66
    easy way to post is just open new tab then paste relevent talking points in message area at the reps website from the csaa website

    ReplyDelete