Friday, February 27, 2015

Montana Call to Action: Take action NOW to oppose a 50% wholesale tax on vapor products

(Update - 03/04/15)

We have received word that the hearing for HB 579, scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday 03/05), has been canceled.  We are also being told that the bill’s sponsor plans to withdraw it.  Currently, this update is solely to inform Montana residents that were planning a trip to Helena that they can stay home.  When we receive a more substantial confirmation, we will officially conclude this call to action.

Thank you, Montana advocates.  Your time and effort have clearly made a difference.

(Original post)

Montana House Bill 579 would alter the state’s definition of “tobacco products” to include “vapor products” for the purpose of subjecting them to a 50% wholesale tax.  This bill would also enact a weight-based tax on nicotine of 0.0173¢/mg.  Although the cost is practically negligible, adoption of this language could lead to a higher tax rate in the future and should be removed.  HB 579 has been scheduled for a hearing in the House Taxation Committee on Thursday, March 5th, in room 152 at 10:00AM.

Please take action now by sending a message to the committee and your state representatives urging them to oppose this unjustifiable tax.

Oppose HB 579 - 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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 23, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 23, 2015:

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.




0:50 – CASAA is tracking more than a hundred bills, and more being added every day.

1:20 – Utah Call to Action issued for a possible 86.5% tax on vapor products, and we are expecting other provisions to be included in proposed legislation, including manufacturing standards, packaging, nicotine limits, etc.

5:20 – New Hampshire Call to Action will be issued regarding a bill that deceptively defines vaping as smoking so as to ban e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited. We are expecting additional legislation, including taxes.

6:45 – Washington Call to Action updated. Some bills failed to advance out of committee before the deadline.

7:30 – AZ Call to Action was issued. Bill was originally taken off the agenda for a hearing, and then quietly put on the agenda for a special meeting. 2648 wasn’t actually heard because they ran out of time, but it still may be in play.

9:00 – Ohio Call to Action regarding taxing vapor products will be released this week.

9:28 – A Call to Action for Iowa is anticipated, where a bill has been introduced to tax e-cigarettes.

11:00 – Utah (again), and CASAA’s concern about laws limiting nicotine strength.

17:45 – We’re in the process of updating our website, and CASAA will be issuing some guidance to consumers. (Guidance issued 2/25/15 on the importance of doing business with businesses that support advocacy.)

18:20 – Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project.


Join CASAA so that you receive the most up-to-date information on issues affecting you.

Support Businesses that Support Advocacy

Do You Support Businesses that Support Advocacy?

CASAA members have tremendous power to influence legislation, public perception, and the quality of products on the market. While many consumers  are active in advocating in the legislative arena and working diligently to change public perception, it is shocking how little thought we sometimes give to the businesses where we spend our dollars.

It is vitally important that businesses step up to the plate and advocate for the diverse industry that we, the consumers, rely upon.  And, in turn, we need to exercise the power of our pocketbooks and make our purchases from businesses that support advocacy and do not push for laws and regulations that are bad for consumers.

Advocacy takes many forms and some may not be listed here, but the following are some of the more important actions that CASAA members should insist their vendors be involved in to stand up for the interests of the consumer -- and their own future profits, too. Of course, no business could ever do all or even most of these. But when deciding where to spend your vaping dollars, ask if your vendors do at least some of the following:
  • Does the vendor provide to its customers any information from or about CASAA?
  • Does the vendor participate meaningfully in state and local legislative matters?
  • Is the vendor conducting business in a reputable and professional manner? (Failure to do so seriously undermines advocacy efforts.)
  • Does the vendor belong to a recognized industry organization?

Continue reading below for more details on these questions and how you can make a significant difference just by how and where you choose to spend your money!

Monday, February 23, 2015

New Hampshire Call to Action: Oppose SB 105 which would treat vaping like smoking for the purpose of banning indoor use.

New Hampshire SB 105, a bill that would include the use of e-cigarettes in the state’s indoor smoking act and prohibit vaping in thousands of NH businesses and workplaces, has been scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 in Room 101, Legislative Office Building, at 1:20 PM.  

Please take this opportunity to send a message to your senator and the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee expressing opposition to this bill.


We are also anticipating a tax on e-liquid to be introduced as part of the 2016 state budget.  As soon as language is available and we’ve had time to review it, we will update this call to action.



(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.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Utah Call to Action: Take action now to oppose excessive and punitive taxes on vapor products!

UPDATE 2/26/15: While a potential tax threat is never truly "dead," we have been informed by credible sources that it appears unlikely that a bill taxing vapor products will be introduced this legislative session. We do, however, expect legislation to be introduced on other issues impacting e-cigarettes, and we will update this Call to Action and/or issue new Call(s) to Action as appropriate. It sounds as if our voices were heard loud and clear, and so, at least for now, we are considering this Call to Action successfully concluded.

Vapers are facing an immense tax threat in the State of Utah.  At the request of Governor Gary Herbert, who is seeking to plug holes in his state budget for 2016, State Representative Paul Ray is expected to introduce a bill this week that would impose an excessive and punitive tax on e-cigarettes.  He has also stated publicly that his bill will enact regulations similar to what the Weber-Morgan Board of Health adopted last October.  If implemented at the state level, these regulations could make Utah a regulatory island and cut consumers off from a variety of products.  One section, in particular, would set a dangerous precedent in regards to acceptable levels of nicotine contained in bottled e-liquid that could easily be exploited to make them less effective.


Please take action now and send an email expressing opposition to punitive vapor taxes in Utah.




As mentioned, Representative Ray is expected to introduce his bill this week.  There is a short window between deadlines for introducing bills and having them heard in committee in Utah so timing and participation is crucial to defeating this bill.  We will update this call to action as details arise.  You can also follow developments via Utah Smoke-Free Association here.




(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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arizona Call to Action: Take Action NOW to oppose HB 2648 which threatens access to and variety of vapor products.

A dangerously vague and ambiguous bill has been introduced in the Arizona State House of Representatives.  Enactment of HB 2648 would give state enforcement agencies the power to harass and prosecute retailers merely for selling products in flavors other than tobacco and menthol.  Please act now to stop it!


Specifically, HB 2648 would:
  • Prohibit any marketing or advertising or vapor products “in a manner that specifically appeals to children.”  
  • Prohibit the manufacture or sale of a vapor product with a label or packaging that “attempts to confuse the vapor product with a toy or candy.”
  • Require state-specific labeling language about the dangers of vapor product usage for youth


The House Government and Education Committee will hold a special meeting Thursday, February 19th at 10:00AM in Room HHR 1 at the State House in Phoenix (1700 W Washington St).  Committee members need to hear about the dramatic unintended consequences of this bill -- including retailers choosing not to sell flavors for fear of being cited for violating this law -- from vapers, business owners, and other harm reduction advocates!  


Please take action now to oppose this bill!

New Mexico Call to Action: Take Action NOW to oppose a damaging tax on e-liquid

SB 65 would impose a massive tax on e-liquid and cartridges of 4 cents per mg of nicotine contained in the product. At first glance, this may not sound like much, but it would double or triple the cost of most vapor products in New Mexico.

This bill will be heard in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee TODAY (2/18/15) at 2:00PM (MST).

Taxation under SB 65
  • 30 ml bottle, 3.6% (36 mg/ml) - $43.20
  • 30 ml bottle, 2.4% (24 mg/ml) - $28.80
  • 30 ml bottle, 1.8% (18 mg/ml) - $21.60
  • 30 ml bottle, 1.2% (12 mg/ml) - $14.40
  • 30 ml bottle, 0.6% (6 mg/ml) - $7.20

Please take action now to oppose this attack on vapor products!


Please note, we are following other bills in NM that we will need your help to oppose.  There are also other common sense bills that may be worthy of support.  We will issue an updated call to action as we learn more.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 16, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 9, 2015:

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.




0:45 – Indiana hearing on SB 539 Tuesday, 2/17/15.

2:45 – Texas Call to Action (SB 97 and House companion bill) affecting internet sales likely to be issued early part of this week.

4:40 – Hawaii – 9 bills addressed in most recent Call to Action. Hawaii Vapers United is doing a good job of organizing people on the ground, and Hawaii residents should see that group for most up-to-date information on legislative issues affecting Hawaii. 

5:50 – Ohio – p. 2099 - 2118 of Ohio budget (HB 64) includes a tax on e-cigarettes. They consider 2 ml of liquid to be equivalent to a pack of cigarettes, and seek to impose a tax to equalize rates between e-cigarettes and traditional combustibles, resulting in a possible tax of $18.75 (or $33.75 if the cigarette tax hike is approved) for a 30 ml bottle of liquid. Strategy meetings are being held this week, and a Call to Action is expected to be released soon.

6:50 – New Mexico – considering a tax (SB 65) and also banning smoking and vaping in cars with children (HB 148).

7:30 – New York City – flavor ban still in play.

7:40 – Vermont and Connecticut – expecting Calls to Action to be issued shortly. Connecticut bills are right now placeholders, so introduced with no actual language.

9:50 – Kentucky – possible bill regarding manufacturing standards is on our radar.

10:00 - Maine - on radar.


10:10 – Tennessee – some of the bills looked fairly benign, but anytime something gets in the pipeline, there’s the possibility for unfavorable amendments. Tennessee Smoke-Free Association is actively engaged in Tennessee and their Facebook group and website will be a good source of information. 

11:00 - Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project.

11:20 - Join CASAA so that you receive the most up-to-date information on issues affecting you.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

North Dakota Call to Action: Two bills threaten to hike wholesale taxes on OTP and impose taxes on E-cigarettes.



(Update 02/14/15)


We have received word that SB 2322 -- a 50% tax on OTP that has been expanded to include e-cigarette devices and liquid -- has likely been scheduled for a hearing on MONDAY, 2/16/15 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Even if this bill fails in the committee, it will still advance to the full senate on TUESDAY.


Please take action NOW to oppose this bill!  It is crucial that North Dakota advocates make phone calls and send emails to their senators.



If you plan to attend the hearings, please see here for tips on testifying in ND Committee hearings.




(Original Post - 01/31/15)


Two bills, HB 1421 & SB 2322, have been introduced into the North Dakota Legislature that would raise the tax on “other tobacco products” (OTP) to a punitive 43.5% and 50% on wholesale, respectively. There is arguably some ambiguity as to whether e-cigarettes are included in these bills by altering the state’s OTP definition to include “any product which is made up or composed of tobacco, in whole or in part”, however, we expect amendments will be offered to ensure that e-cigarettes are indeed included.  This issue was debated in the Assembly this past week in relation to another tax-related bill.


At this week’s hearings, it is likely that amendments will be offered to specifically tax vapor products. We need to not only fight against any amendments to include e-cigarettes in the OTP sin tax, but we also need to fight the bills themselves, which nearly double the tax on low-risk, smoke-free OTP products like snus.  In short, we need North Dakota vapers and harm reduction advocates to take action and educate these members on the public health benefits of vapor products and low-risk alternatives to smoking.


  • HB 1421 will be heard in the House Finance & Taxation Committee on TUESDAY, Feb. 2nd


  • SB 2322 will be heard in the Senate Finance & Taxation Committee on WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3rd.


Please take action NOW to oppose these bills:


  • Oppose HB 1421 - Send an Email
  • Oppose SB 2322 - Send an Email
  • If you plan to attend the hearings, please see here for tips on testifying in ND Committee hearings.

If you plan to attend the hearings, please see here for tips on testifying in ND Committee hearings.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Arkansas Call to Action: Oppose HB 1156 - A bill that would enact a sin tax on e-cigarettes


A bill, HB 1156, has been introduced in the Arkansas Legislature that would enact a 7.5¢/ml tax on e-liquid.  Although this is a small tax, CASAA is opposed to any tax on vapor products beyond state sales tax.

This bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Rules Committee TODAY, 02.11.15, 
at 12:00PM in Room B, MAC.


Please take action now to oppose this bill!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 9, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update February 9, 2015:

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Julie Woessner discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.




1:00 – Alex Clark, representing consumer interests, attended a meeting in California where members of SoCal SFATA discussed strategy and committed funds to battle against lies and propaganda being spread by governmental agencies.

1:40 – Rundown of the most recent Calls to Action (which we expect to be updating to include additional legislation):

  • Nevada (30% wholesale tax).
  • Maryland (hearing Wednesday, 2/11/15, on including e-cigarettes in the smoking ban.
  • Indiana - several bills, and a shout-out to the Indiana vapers and vendors who have stepped up to the plate to battle against anti-e-cigarette legislation.
  • Vermont (flavor ban).
  • Oregon - several bills, including a bill that would include e-cigarettes in the smoking ban (hearing 2/10/15).
  • Alaska recently updated to note that there is a hearing on Wednesday, 2/11/15, regarding where e-cigarettes can be used.
If you live in one of these states and have not received an email from CASAA, it's either because you have not become a CASAA member or the email might be inappropriately being labeled as spam by your spam filter.

Expect to issue Calls to Action for Hawaii, Connecticut, Washington, New Hampshire, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, and California. 

5:30 - Unconfirmed report that a proposed tax hike on smokeless tobacco in Wyoming failed in committee. (CASAA is a THR organization, representing consumers of ALL low-risk alternatives to smoking, and we advocate for users of smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other noncombustible nicotine products.)

6:40 - HuffPost Live 2/9/15 interview with Michael Siegel, Julie Woessner, and Christian Warren.

8:30 - Discussion on advertising issues and why consumers should not agree to advertising restrictions similar to those currently in place for tobacco products.

10:45 - Discussion of general ANTZ issues, followed by an explanation of why some of the more "technical" Calls to Action (e.g., opposing legislation that would require vendors to obtain tobacco licenses or permits) matter.  For example, in Iowa, the Attorney General has taken the position that permits/licenses cannot be granted for online sales since there is no mechanism to grant a permit/license for online sales for tobacco products. This is in spite of the fact that e-cigarettes are NOT classified as a tobacco product for state-law purposes.

15:00 - Discussion of taxes, Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), and revenue-seeking legislators.

1:00 - Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project

Monday, February 9, 2015

Nevada Call to Action! SB 79 would impose a 30% wholesale tax on vapor products

Please take action now to tell your representatives in the Nevada State Legislature that taxing life saving vapor products is bad policy!

A new bill (SB 79) would tax all products containing “liquid nicotine” at 30% of wholesale price, the same rate that Nevada applies to combustible tobacco products like cigars and loose tobacco.  By raising the price of these smoke-free products, enactment of SB 79 would send a confusing message to Nevada’s 400,000+ current smokers that vaping is as harmful as combustible products taxed at a similar rate.  As a result, less smokers will be inclined to try these low-risk alternatives and will continue to smoke.

The Senate Committee on Revenue & Economic Development has been scheduled for a hearing on SB 79 for Thursday, February 12th at 3:30 pm. There are two ways that you can attend and/or testify at the hearing:
  1. Room 1214 of the State Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St. in Carson City; or
  2. Via video conference in Room 4412E of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., in Las Vegas.  
CASAA strongly encourages its Nevada members to participate in this hearing.

Please take action NOW to oppose this bill. We recommend sending an email through our engagement system, and then submitting the text of that email as a formal comment on the Legislature’s website.


We expect additional bills to be introduced this year, including bills to tax vapor products like cigarettes, to add vaping to Nevada’s smoking prohibitions, and a bill dealing with youth access. CASAA will update its Nevada members when these bills are ready for action.