UPDATE 5/10/14: THIS CALL TO ACTION HAS BEEN CONCLUDED FAVORABLY, WITH THE E-CIGARETTE TAX BEING REMOVED FROM HB 884 BEFORE PASSAGE.
UPDATE 5/6/14: HB 884 is now pending before the Revenue Committee (joint committee with members of both the Vermont House and Senate). Members of the Vermont House are strongly in favor of the tax, but both the Senate and Governor Peter Shumlin have stated that they are concerned that the tax is a bad idea.
We need vapers to immediately contact the below members and Governor.
Members of the Vermont Revenue Conference Committee need to hear true life stories about vaping from Vermont residents. As a consumer of electronic cigarettes, you know better than most that these products are NOTHING like combustible cigarettes and that cost and full access to them are important to you. YOUR story must be heard by the legislators to make positive change, so make sure your voice is heard!
Please consider taking a few minutes to reach out to the members of the Vermont Legislature and the Governor by phone or e-mail. Please RESPECTFULLY but firmly tell the members in these or your own words that:
- Please vote NO on any tax on vapor products (such as electronic cigarettes), especially the massive 92% tax proposed in HB 884
- Vapor products are only currently subject to Vermont sales tax, and therefore enactment of this bill would constitute a 1500% tax hike.
- Passage of such a huge tax will just lead people in Vermont to purchase their vapor products online or out-of-state, where neither the sales tax nor the tobacco tax will be paid.
- Electronic cigarettes are smoke-free, and often nicotine-free, and are approximately 99% less hazardous than smoking. There is absolutely no justification for subjecting them to a "sin tax."
- Tell your personal story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life or the life of someone you love.
- This tax will discourage smokers from switching to electronic cigarettes and decimate small electronic cigarette businesses in Vermont that are growing and creating jobs.
- Let them know where in Vermont you live.
Comma delimited email list (be sure to call Governor Shumlin as well): email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Governor Peter Shumlin, 802-828-3333, contact form
Senator Tim Ashe (Chittenden District), Senate Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Mark A. MacDonald (Orange District), Vice-Chair, email@example.com
Senator Kevin Mullin (Rutland District), firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate President John Campbell, 802-828-3806, JCampbell@leg.state.vt.us
Rep. Shap Smith, 802-828-2245, email@example.com
Rep. Janet Ancel (Plainfield, Marshfield, Calais), House Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Sharp (Bristol), 802-828-2231, email@example.com
Rep. Bill Johnson (Essex, Caledonia, Orleans), 802-277-8329
Remember: An effective letter or phone call is short and to the point. Legislators receive many emails and phone calls each day. The most important thing is to respectfully communicate your opposition to e-cigarette taxes and overbearing sales regulations.
UPDATE 4/5/14: H 884 has been set for a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 at 3:00 P.M., 115 State Street Montpelier, VT 05633-5301 (Room 6) Link to Agenda - Sections 25-27 Please (1) plan on attending and offering testimony, (2) continue to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee, and (3) contact the members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which will also be considering e-cigarettes in connection with the tax proposal . As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping in the State Capitol building. Contact information for both Committees can be found below in the full Call to Action.
From the Committee's website: ATTENTION WITNESSES- Please email handouts to the committee assistant before your scheduled meeting date and bring 15 hard copies. Please write your name, organization, date and title on each document. With few exceptions, any documents you hand out to a committee, or send to a committee assistant, are open to the public and may be posted to the committee’s webpage.
UPDATE 3/28/14: As expected, the Vermont House passed the Miscellaneous Tax Bill (H.884). This bill will now move onto the Senate Finance Committee. It is IMPERATIVE that vapers and harm reduction advocates make their voices heard NOW.
Vermont is under a major attack. With no notice to the public, the Vermont House Ways & Means Committee voted yesterday (Monday, March 24th) to amend the proposed Miscellaneous Tax Bill to add an outrageous 92% of wholesale tax on "tobacco substitutes" (electronic cigarette products containing nicotine). This excessive and unjustified tax must be stopped.
Currently, the Miscellaneous Tax Bill is pending before the full House of Representatives. A vote is likely on Thursday or Friday. Indications from the ground in Vermont are that getting the e-cigarette tax removed by the House is unlikely. As a result, we are encouraging vapers to focus your phone calls, e-mails, and in-person meetings to those on the Senate Finance Committee.
If you are a Vermont resident, in addition to contacting the members of the Senate Finance Committee, you should contact your own State Representatives and Senators (a total of four contacts). Make personal contact. 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 products are so different.
Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts regarding this and other legislation in Vermont and across the United States. We will alert you when there are other opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the Vermont State Legislature.
Tell your story and state why you oppose this bill!
STOP THE 92% VERMONT E-CIGARETTE TAX
(last updated 3/25/2014)
(last updated 3/25/2014)
What to say when opposing the Miscellaneous Tax Bill:
- You are a Vermont resident, and you would like them to please protect public health and OPPOSE the Miscellaneous Tax Bill unless the unfair and punitive 92% wholesale tax on vapor products of is eliminated. (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 Vermont on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)
- Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes has changed your life.
- Explain that because electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to Vermont sales tax, enactment of this bill would constitute a 1500% tax hike.
- 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.
- Let them know that according to the Burlington Free Press, the House Ways & Means Committee could have supported an amendment by a Democrat legislator to tax combustible cigarettes at an additional 6 cents rather than tax e-cigarettes at 92% of wholesale. Considering that e-cigarettes are used by smokers looking to quit smoking, it makes no sense to choose a massive e-cigarette tax over a small increase in the cigarette tax.
- Given the low risk of e-cigarette 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 a Drexel University professor 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.
- 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.
- Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.
I. THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE (meets in Room 6)
Email list for the Senate Finance Committee: 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
Sen. Timothy Ashe (Prog / D), Chair, 45 Lakeview Terrace, Burlington, VT 05401, (802) 318-0903 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Mark MacDonald (D), Vice Chair, 404 MacDonald Rd., Williamstown, VT 05679, (802) 433-5867 - email@example.com
Sen. Christopher Bray (D), 829 South Street, New Haven VT 05472, (802) 453-4424 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Peter Galbraith (D), P.O. Box 335, Townshend, VT 05353, (802) 365-7633 - email@example.com
Sen. Robert Hartwell (D), Box 1105 Manchester Center, VT 05255, (802) 365-7808 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D), 241 White Birch La., Williston, VT 05495, (802) 863-6129 - email@example.com
Sen. Kevin Mullin (R), 118 Oxyoke Dr., Rutland, VT 05701, (802) 353-6770-cell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee Assistant: Barbara Dall, email@example.com
II. Senate Health and Welfare Committee (main number 802-828-2231)
Email list for the Senate Health and Welfare Committee: 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
Tim Ashe (D/P) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-318-0903
Claire Ayer (D) email@example.com, 802-759-2748
Philip Baruth (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-503-5266, 802-656-3298
Joe Benning (R) email@example.com, 802-626-3600
Christopher Bray (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-453-4424; Fax: 802-329-2256
John F. Campbell (D) email@example.com, 802-295-6238, 802-295-1111; Fax: 802-295-6344
Eldred French (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-492-3304
Peter W. Galbraith (D) email@example.com, 802-365-7633, 802-365-7808
Robert M. Hartwell (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-345-1552
Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D) email@example.com, 802-863-6129
Mark A. MacDonald (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-433-5867; Fax: 802-433-1035
Norm McAllister (R) email@example.com, 802-285-6363; Fax: 802-285-6363
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W) firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-229-5809, 802-223-6767
Dick Sears (D) email@example.com, 802-442-9139
Michael Sirotkin (D) firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 999-4360
Robert Starr (D) email@example.com, 802-988-2877