Sunday, May 4, 2014

Call to Action! Vermont Bill Would Impose Massive 92% E-Cigarette Tax


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):,,,,,,

Governor Peter Shumlin, 802-828-3333, contact form
Senator Tim Ashe (Chittenden District), Senate Chair,
Senator Mark A. MacDonald (Orange District), Vice-Chair,
Senator Kevin Mullin (Rutland District),
Senate President John Campbell, 802-828-3806,
Rep. Shap Smith, 802-828-2245,
Rep. Janet Ancel (Plainfield, Marshfield, Calais), House Chair,
Rep. David Sharp (Bristol), 802-828-2231,
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!

(last updated 3/25/2014)

What to say when opposing the Miscellaneous Tax Bill:

  1. 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.)
  2. Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes has changed your life.
  3. Explain that because electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to Vermont sales tax, enactment of this bill would constitute a 1500% tax hike.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

    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. 
  7. 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.
  8. Direct them to the website for more information.
Who to Contact: 


Email list for the Senate Finance Committee:,,,,,,,

Sen. Timothy Ashe (Prog / D), Chair, 45 Lakeview Terrace, Burlington, VT 05401, (802) 318-0903 -

Sen. Mark MacDonald (D), Vice Chair, 404 MacDonald Rd., Williamstown, VT 05679, (802) 433-5867 -

Sen. Christopher Bray (D), 829 South Street, New Haven VT 05472, (802) 453-4424 -

Sen. Peter Galbraith (D), P.O. Box 335, Townshend, VT 05353, (802) 365-7633 -

Sen. Robert Hartwell (D), Box 1105 Manchester Center, VT 05255, (802) 365-7808

Sen. Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D), 241 White Birch La., Williston, VT 05495, (802) 863-6129 -

Sen. Kevin Mullin (R), 118 Oxyoke Dr., Rutland, VT 05701, (802) 353-6770-cell -

Committee Assistant: Barbara Dall,

II.  Senate Health and Welfare Committee (main number 802-828-2231)

Email list for the Senate Health and Welfare Committee:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Tim Ashe (D/P), 802-318-0903

Claire Ayer (D),  802-759-2748

Philip Baruth (D), 802-503-5266, 802-656-3298

Joe Benning (R), 802-626-3600

Christopher Bray (D), 802-453-4424; Fax: 802-329-2256

John F. Campbell (D), 802-295-6238, 802-295-1111; Fax: 802-295-6344

Eldred French (D), 802-492-3304

Peter W. Galbraith (D), 802-365-7633, 802-365-7808

Robert M. Hartwell (D), 802-345-1552

Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D), 802-863-6129

Mark A. MacDonald (D), 802-433-5867; Fax: 802-433-1035

Norm McAllister (R), 802-285-6363; Fax: 802-285-6363

Anthony Pollina (P/D/W), 802-229-5809, 802-223-6767

Dick Sears (D), 802-442-9139

Michael Sirotkin (D), (802) 999-4360

Robert Starr (D), 802-988-2877


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Kristen Merrow said...

Thank you for taking a minute to read this.
I am writing to oppose the e cig tax to be voted on this week.
I am outraged by the proposed 92% tax!!

I stopped drinking almost 12 years ago and although that has been a blessing in my life,
It sometimes leaves me looking for trouble. I am an addict and always will be.
I was able to quit smoking while pregnant and remain smoke free for 5 years following my sons birth.
I recently picked up smoking again as it fills a need to be bad, but is a lesser evil then drugs or drinking.
Although, I am not so sure these days and the cigs are just so addictive and disgusting.
Recently I was turned on to ecigs and although the research is not complete, I am so grateful!!
My children are happier that I have switched and the entire family is hopeful I will continue to
use the e cig rather then a traditional cig. Although there is still nicotine in the ecig, the second hand
smoke and other chemicals do not exist. I can feel better about not poisoning others with my habit.
With the ecig I am truly only hurting myself.

All of this may sound strange as most people do not admit to their weakness or dirty secrets.
But I feel the need to put this out to you, people will die from cigs. They will never stop buying cigs.
They will continue to pollute the world with the smoke and increase health risks for their children.
Being a recovering alcoholic and drug addict means my body and mind are wired a little different
then someone who is not addicted. I crave trouble unfortunately. Others like me do as well.

Does it make sense to make another helpful tool unaffordable to the average person?
The ecig is a healthier alternative not only to the user but to others around them.
Don’t price it out of the market. Let people who need it use it, let it be affordable.

You can be the voice for change here, let the world be free of harmful second hand smoke,
let the world vape and find pleasure in the ecig alternative.
there will always be people who need to smoke, who are smoking to avoid other dangerous habits.
It is a reality. Let them have a choice!!

Tax someone else's bad habit... rich people who have the money to hide their dirty secrets!
Let the struggling addicts continue on a path of recovery, don’t put yet another obstacle in our way!!

linda barker said...

Thank you for responding to this....we need all the help we can get here in Vermont. I pass out flyers at our store with contact info, I've written to 2 local doctors who send people our way to see if they'd be willing to weigh in on the subject of e-cigs with the Senate committee, I've sent numerous emails, made phone calls....I'm just feeling so frustrated.....

JazzyJag said...

My Dream to be 100% smoke free has begun !!!

Well that day finally came after 25+ yrs of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day when i finally decided it was time to try to quit one more time. Yes i said one more time, because i tried numerous times before with no success with the help of various nicotine replacement aides. No matter how hard i tried, i never made it past a couple days without going crazy and being totally miserable. Before i knew it i had a smoke in my mouth again. Well that was my past experience whenever i tried to quit smoking until i decided to try vaporizing. A good friend of mine told me to give it a try because it's helped him to quit smoking for the past 2 yrs. He also advised me with what equipment to get, and where to get it. I'm very grateful to have a friend that was able to guide me in the right direction, because 99% of the people that claim that vaporizing doesn't or didn't work for them or they just didn't like the experience, or any other reason why they were not able to stay with vaporizing. I can tell you that they were either not informed or were misguided into what equipment to get, or were not shown how to use the equipment properly, or they used the wrong nicotine level.These are the majority of reasons why vaporizing didn't work for them. I can almost promise you a 100% successful vaporizing experience if you are willing to do a little bit of research online about vaporizing, how to get started, and what you will need to get started. And of course the will and the want to quit smoking cigarettes. I'm so glad i was able to give it a try, except i only wished i tried this a long time ago because i have been 100% cigarette / smoke free from the very first day of vaporizing all natural flavored nicotine juices. Immediately after my first puff i tasted these flavors that were amazing. Cigarettes have never came close to tasting so dam good. And thats just the beginning because there are so many excellent tasting e-juices available. Even my son thats 15 yrs old that has been asking me to please quit smoking for a very long time is so excited that i have been smoke free, and that he doesn't have to be subjected to second hand smoke, the smell, etc... Vaporizing has been nothing but a positive experience since the day i started. I can now breathe especially knowing that there's nothing harmful that i'm inhaling into my lungs. I can now taste my food the way it should taste. My body, clothes, etc.. now smell nice and fruity. Another excellent reason why i started to vape is that it's so much cheaper to vaporize than it is to smoke cigarettes. You save as much as 70% after the initial investment to get started vaporizing. I could go on and on with all the good that vaporizing is and has been to me, my family, friends, and the general public. I had nothing to lose when i started to vaporize, but i sure have gained a helluva lot since i started. Do yourself a big favor, pick a flavor and Vaporize !!

AB3 said...

What is wrong with you sanam arzoo? This is a serious situation being dealt with here...and you stick an advertizement in the middle of it? Shame on you and go back to the pit you crawled out of.