Monday, December 7, 2015

Pennsylvania Call to Action: Oppose the Governor's unjustifiable 40% wholesale tax on Vapor Products and Smokeless Tobacco.

Update - 12.07.15
Update - 12.04.15

The Pennsylvania Vapor Tax is back and more threatening than ever.

Bad ideas never seem to go away, especially when legislators are rather desperately trying to balance state budgets. This is exactly what is happening in Pennsylvania right now.

A tax on vapor products that the lawmakers naively expect to raise $20 million is being seriously considered once again as budget talks drag on into extra overtime.

Please take action NOW to demand that Pennsylvania lawmakers reject ANY proposal to unfairly tax vapor products.

Take Action!

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In addition to sending an email and making a phone call to your Representative, please also call:

  • Dave Reed (Majority Leader): (717) 705-7173
  • Jake Corman (Floor Leader): (717) 787-1377


Talking Points for Your Calls:

1) You are calling to oppose ANY extra taxes on e-cigarettes and vapor products.

2) It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.

3) If you feel passionately enough about this issue to base your vote on it, please share that.

4) Ostensibly, taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. However, due to the fact that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be approximately 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.

5) Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).

6) Taxing e-cigarettes in a manner similar to how cigarettes are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks.  The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.






Update - 11.12.15


Pennsylvania lawmakers are desperate for a quick fix to the state’s budget impasse. This means a cash grab by enacting a tax on vapor products.


Please take action today by calling your State Representative and urging them to oppose any tax on vapor products.


Oppose PA Vapor Taxes - Make A Call

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SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS


1) Ostensibly, taxes on traditional cigarettes are intended to discourage use. However, due to the fact that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free tobacco products are estimated to be 98 - 99% less harmful than smoking, discouraging use is counter to goals of reducing smoking rates.


2) Other governments are taking exactly the opposite approach; Public Health England (the government public health agency) recently explicitly endorsed a policy of encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update).


3) Sin taxes are regressive. The smoking population, those switching to vaping, is disproportionately made up of poor and low income people. Sin taxes place unnecessary burdens on an already financially challenged group.


4) Imposing a tax on these products will drive consumers to shop in neighboring cities that do not have a similar tax. Concurrently, consumers will be encouraged to shop online for better deals, sending even more money out of the community. Local businesses will not be able to compete, be forced to close their doors, and jobs will be lost. This is bad for the City and will result in less revenue, not more.


5) It is important to note that vapor products are already subject to a general sales tax.


6) Taxing e-cigarettes in a manner similar to how cigarettes are taxed sends a confusing and inaccurate message to would-be adopters that these two very different products present similar risks.  The result of this message is that more people, those that otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.





Update - 10.21.15


A damaging 40% wholesale tax on vapor products is still on the lips of many lawmakers in Harrisburg as Pennsylvania’s budget continues to be discussed. Even if you have participated in our earlier call to action, PA lawmakers need to be reminded just how awful this tax proposal will be to consumers and public health in Pennsylvania.


Oppose vapor taxes in Pennsylvania - Send an Email




(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.


(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.



Update - 08.13.15


After the first round of Pennsylvania budget talks, it was clear that many in the state assembly are listening to the concerns of vaping advocates which is why we provided an opportunity to send a “thank you” message to your PA lawmakers in our last update. However, despite the voices of consumers, Governor Wolf is still pushing for a punitive and unjustifiable 40% tax on vapor products as part of his state budget proposal.



Please also (if you haven’t already) send a “thank you” message to your Representative in the PA House.




Update - 07.09.15


Although the PA State Assembly passed a budget bill in June that did not include a damaging tax on vapor products, the budget was promptly vetoed by Governor Wolf. As a result, the assembly will return to budget negotiations in order to hammer out an acceptable plan. These meetings could begin as soon as next week (week of 7/13).




Please take a moment now to send a fully editable, pre-written thank you letter to your Pennsylvania lawmakers. Please also include your personal story about how switching to low-risk, smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and snus has changed your life. If you need a little inspiration, please visit our testimonials project. And if you haven’t already submitted your story, please take a moment to add it to our collection. Personal stories are incredibly powerful and help legislators understand why we are so passionate about ensuring that vapor products remain accessible, affordable, and effective.




Original Post - 03.14.15

PA Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for FY 2016 would enact a 40% wholesale tax on both vapor products and smokeless tobacco.  This is certainly not the first time that Pennsylvania has sought to enact a tax on smokeless tobacco, and thanks to the tireless efforts of Bill Godshall of Smokefree Pennsylvania, it has been defeated every time.  This year, Governor Wolf is adding e-cigarettes to the mix and hopes to raise $80+ million.


The PA State Budget hearings are typically by invitation only.  If PA residents hope to offer input on items in this proposal, they should take this opportunity to reach out to lawmakers.


Please take action NOW and send a message to your PA Lawmakers.
  • Oppose Vapor taxes in PA - Send an Email


In addition to sending a fully editable, pre-written email, please also make a call to your Representative and Senator.


  • Oppose Vapor taxes in PA - Make a Call




(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

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