Sunday, April 6, 2014

Call to Action! New York State Bills Would Impose a 75% or 95% tax on E-Cigarettes and Raise the Tax on Low-Risk Smokeless Tobacco

UPDATE 6-20-14: New York State vapers and harm reduction advocates can breath a brief, yet deserved, sigh of relief.  The 2014 legislative session has concluded for the year and no anti-vaping legislation has passed.

Although this concludes the NY State Calls to Action (favorably), advocates should remain vigilant in the "off season".  Please continue to make connections with lawmakers (state & local) and help educate them as to the benefits of smoke free products like e-cigarettes.

Thank You!

Please also be sure to take action against other New York bills that would ban the sale of electronic cigarette liquid and ban e-cigarette usage where smoking is banned:


 (last updated 4/5/2014)

If enacted, AB 8594 / SB 6610 would:
  • Redefine "tobacco products" under New York tax law to include any product containing nicotine.
  • As a result, this would impose a 95% tax on the wholesale price of all e-cigarette products containing nicotine. 
  • Raise the tax on smokeless tobacco from 75% to 95%.
If enacted, SB 4365 / AB 7106 would:
  • Redefine "tobacco products" New York tax law to include electronic cigarette cartridges in the State's definition of "tobacco products." (If this bill moves forward, e-liquid will almost undoubtedly be added)
  • As a result, these e-cigarette products would be taxed at 75% of wholesale price.
Please see below for information on how to stop these bills. 

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

Please contact the members of the New York Assembly Health Committee, Senate Health Committee, and other elected officials and let them know:

1. Please protect public health, small businesses, and consumers in New York and OPPOSE AB 8495 & AB 7106 because they would institute new and punitive taxes on vapor products (electronic cigarettes) and other smoke-free alternatives.  
2. Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes has changed your life. (You can stop here -- short and respectful letters are helpful, but if you wish to write more, see below for possible points to discuss)

3. Explain that:
  • Electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to New York State sales tax. As a result, enactment of these bills would result in a tax hike of between 1775% and 2275% on New York businesses and consumers! No other product has gone from being subjected to state sales tax to being taxed at 75% or 95% of wholesale price overnight. 
  • Electronic cigarette brick & mortar stores throughout New York are already competing with online e-cigarette businesses in and outside of New York.  Taxing e-cigarettes at such a high amount will just drive sales to the hundreds of online retailers who sell in all 50 states.  Consumers rely on brick and mortar shops because they have knowledgeable personnel and diverse products.  Having the ability to try different devices and liquids and to get advice and information allow consumers to more effectively make the transition from smoking to e-cigarette use.
  • 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 an extraordinarily burdensome tax.
    • 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.
    • Given the low risk of e-cigarette use, there is no need to impose a punitive tax on their sale.
    • 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.
4. Direct them to the website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information. 
5. Include your name and address at the end of your letter. 


We have provided three Advocacy Options.  You are encouraged to do as many as you are able.

Advocacy Option 1:

Senate Co-President Dean Skelos (R) - (518) 455-3171
Senate Co-President Jeffrey Klein (IDC) -  (518) 455-3595
 Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) -  (518) 455-3791
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D) - (518) 455-5373

CASAA is asking our members in New York to please reach out to these critically important elected officials in the New York State Senate and Assembly.  Ask the operator to pass along a message to the elected officials: you are a New York citizen and you would like to OPPOSE any bills that would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, or ban usage where smoking is banned.  In a couple sentences, tell the operator how e-cigarettes have changed your life, that this issue matters to you as a voter, and thank them for passing along your thoughts

Advocacy Option 2:

Please be sure to also contact your New York State Senator ('Find My Senator') and New York State Assembly representatives.  Ask them to OPPOSE any bills that would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, or ban usage where smoking is banned

Advocacy Option 3

These bills are before several different committees.  At this time, it appears that our best course is to centralize our efforts on the members of the powerful Assembly Ways & Means Committee.  Ways & Means is the committee that tax bills almost always must go through.  They are chiefly concerned with the effect bills have on the economy and the business climate of the State of New York.  Nonetheless, they can be won over with personal stories of New York citizens that highlight how e-cigarette use by smokers should not be discouraged by excessive taxation. 

Please call or e-mail the members of the Assembly Ways & Means Committee below. If making phone calls (which will have a larger impact than e-mails), be sure to pay special attention to what cities / counties the representatives represent. If you can only make a few phone calls, call the representatives nearest to your own district. If you have a favorite vape shop in New York, please ask them to also drive phone calls to the offices of specific members.


NYC Burroughs

Assm. Carl Heastie (D – Bronx), 518-455-4800 / 518-455-5103,

Assm. Michael Benedetto (D – Bronx), 518-455-5296 / 518-455-4641,

Assm. Nick Perry (D – Brooklyn), 518-455-4166 / 518-455-5478,

Assm. Helene Weinstein (D – Brooklyn), CO-SPONSOR, 518-455-5462 / 518-455-5752,

Assm. Felix Ortiz (D – Brooklyn), 518-455-3821 / 518-455-3828,

Assm. William Colton (D – Brooklyn), 518-455-5828 / 518-455-5706,

Assm. Joan Millman (D – Brooklyn) CO-SPONSOR, 518-455-5426 / 518-455-4787,

Assm. Joseph Lentol (D – Brooklyn), 518-455-4477 / 518-455-4599

Assm. Deborah Glick (D – Manhattan), 518-455-4841 / 518-455-4649,

Assm. Keith Wright (D – Manhattan), 518-455-4793 / 518-455-3890,

Assm. Catherine Nolan (D – Queens), 518-455-4851 / 518-455-3847,

Assm. Jeffrion Aubry (D – Queens), 518-455-4561 / 518-455-4565,

Assm. Margaret Markey (D – Queens), 518-455-4755 / 518-455-5032,

Assm. Vivian Cook (D – Queens), CO-SPONSOR, 518-455-4203 / 518-455-3606,

Assm. William Scarborough (D - Queens), 518-455-4451 / 518-455-5522,

Assm. Michael Cusick (D – Staten Island), 518-455-5526 / 518-455-4760,

Assm. Nicole Malliotakis (R – Staten Island), 518-455-5716 / 518-455-5970,  


Assm. Earlene Hooper (D – Hempstead), 518-455-5861 / 518-455-4329,

Assm. J. Gary Pretlow (D – Mount Vernon), 518-455-5291 / 518-455-5447,

Assm. Kevin Cahill (D – Kingston), CO-SPONSOR, 518-455-44361 / 518-455-5576,

Assm. Michael Fizpatrick (R – Smithtown), 518-455-5021 / 518-455-4394,

Assm. Fred Thiele, Jr. (Ind. – Southampton, East Hampton), 518-455-5997 / 518-455-5963,

Rochester / Buffalo area

Assm. Raymond Walter (R – East Amherst), 518-455-4618 / 518-455-5023,

Assm. Robin Schimminger (D – Kenmore), 518-455-4767 / 518-455-4724,

Assm. Jane Corwin (R – Clarence), 518-455-4601 / 518-455-5257,

Assm. Stephen Hawley (R – Batavia), 518-455-5811 / 518-455-5558,

Assm. Bob Oaks (R - Macedon), 518-455-5655 / 518-455-5407,

Assm. David Gantt (D – Rochester), 518-455-5606 / 518-455-5419,

Other Areas of New York

Assm. Clifford Crouch (R – Guilford), 518-455-5741 / 518-455-5864,

Assm. Janet Duprey (R – Peru), 518-455-4242 / 518-455-4935, NO EMAIL

Assm. Joseph Saladino (R – Massapequa), 518-455-5305 / 518-455-5024,

Assm. William Barclay (R – Pulaski), 518-455-5841 / 518-455-5362,


Feral Grounds said...

I contacted my area representatives on these bills and the other ones that would ban them in the same places as smoking. I doubt they will listen as they only care about the revenue they are missing out on as cigarette sales decline. I just can't believe they are trying to included these under "tobacco product" when they aren't even made from tobacco. To me that seems like an easy argument to get it thrown out of court if these bills pass. This state (and many others) is out of control.

Rhea Weigand said...

New York just blows my mind!!! I've only lived here for 2 months and already want to leave. There are so many laws here and now this. This is the greediest state I have ever experienced. Instead of supporting this lower risk smoking and making it healthier AND eliminating 2nd and 3rd hand smoke, they are wanting to raise taxes. My neurologist even supports ecigs vs traditional cigs. New York is greedy and out of control!!!!! I feel like I am living in a different country.

garyo said...

Interestingly enough if they raise taxes so e-cigs are no longer appealing then people would likely continue to smoke. Wouldn't that be considered murder?

Louis Cioffi said...

I've been living here all my life, and I agree with you!

Louis Cioffi said...

Like Rhea implied, all they want is the money their missing out on.

myke said...

All it ever is about is MONEY. Anyone who thinks government is in place for our well being...

Chris Carlson said...

It just comes down to Power...The legislators feel if you enjoy something you should be taxed. It is crazy to think that we are already paying sales tax on our purchases but because we chose to move to a safer alternative that now because the movement is gaining ground, they feel they should win. F-Them...They steal enough of our money, now we should fight back!!!

Justin Hassebrock said...

Does this mean potatoes will be included as tobacco products since they contain nicotine?

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richardfg7 said...

Politics today is is the new mafia. It doesn't matter that e-juice and tobacco are totally apart from each other. What matters is being able to get the money. Period. It's not a health issue , has nothing to do with protecting the public. Just get the money. If a dollar is going to be made these gangsters want a dollar fifty of it.

richardfg7 said...

State of Washington has jumped on the "money train" over the last 10 years too. When Christine Gregoire took the throne we had a 9 billion surplus. That was gone in no time and they developed a taste for easy money.

Louis Cioffi said...

I couldn't agree more!

Louis Cioffi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.