Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hawaii - Call to Action! Take Action to oppose taxes on vapor products!


Update - 03.12.16


Three bills that affect your access to vapor products are scheduled to be heard in committee on:


2:15 PM
House Committee on Health (HLT)
House conference room 329
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street


Please make plans to attend this hearing!


Please take action NOW to oppose ALL THREE of these bills by sending emails to members of the committee. You can also submit testimony on each of the bill pages on the state’s website. We have provided a brief digest of each bill below.


Oppose Vapor Taxes in Hawaii - Send a Message


Oppose Disruptive Labeling Requirements - Send a Message


Oppose Tobacco Classification - Send a Message




Digest:


SB 2691 would enact a yet to be determined tax on vapor products. At this time, an 80% wholesale tax has been proposed.


SB 2689 would clean up the tobacco tax section of the Hawaii Code in anticipation of the tax bill passing. Although this bill will have no effect on vapor taxes without passage of SB 2691, it is still problematic as it treats vapor products the same as tobacco products for the purposes of licensing and any future tax proposals.


SB 2688 would enact labeling requirements for bottled e-liquid. The language proposed for these labels is exclusive to the state of Hawaii and lengthy. Labeling requirements are best established as a national standard so as to not disrupt or impede interstate commerce. The language of such labels should be simple, clear, and accurate to encourage responsible handling of the product. Warning labels that make exaggerated claims of potential harm -- or promote the notion of harm where none exists -- generally breed mistrust of safety warnings from officials and may increase the risk of accidental exposure.




(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 INCLUDE YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.



Update - 02.24.15

SB 2961 advanced from the CPH committee with a recommendation that the tax imposed on vapor products be set at 80%. This bill has been scheduled for a hearing on:

Thursday, February 25, 2016
9:30 a.m.
Ways and Means Committee (WAM)
Conference Room 211

Please take action NOW by Making a Call, Sending an Email, and submitting opposition testimony through the legislature’s website (see instructions in our original post below).

Make a Call: Please find your city on the list below and call your representative. We have provided talking points and contact information below.

Send an Email: We have updated our call to action to send emails to members of the Ways and Means Committee.

HI - Senate Ways and Means Committee (WAM)
Senator
Email
Phone
Cities Represented
Jill N. Tokuda
sentokuda@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-587-7215
- Kane‘ohe
- Kane‘ohe MCAB
- Kailua
- He‘eia
- ‘Ahuimanu
Suzanne Chun Oakland
senchunoakland@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-6130
- Liliha
- Palama
- Iwilei
- Kalihi
- Nu‘uanu
- Pacific Heights
- Pauoa
- Lower Tantalus
- Downtown
Donovan M. Dela Cruz
sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-6090
- Mililani Mauka
- Waipi‘o Acres
- Wheeler
- Wahiawa
- Whitmore Village
- portion of Poamoho
J. Kalani English
senenglish@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-587-7225
- Hana
- East and Upcountry Maui
- Moloka‘i
- Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe
Brickwood Galuteria
sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-6740
- Waikiki
- Ala Moana
- Kaka‘ako
- McCully
- Mo‘ili‘ili
Breene Harimoto
senharimoto@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-6230
- Pearl City
- Momilani
- Pearlridge
- ‘Aiea
- Royal Summit
- ‘Aiea Heights
- Newtown
- Waimalu
- Halawa
- Pearl Harbor
Lorraine R. Inouye
seninouye@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-7335
- Hilo
- Hāmākua
- Kohala
- Waimea
- Waikoloa
- Kona
Gil Riviere
senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-7330
- Kunia
- Schofield Barracks
- Mokulē‘ia
- Waialua
- Hale‘iwa
- Kawailoa
- Waimea
- Pūpūkea
- Kawela
- Kahuku
- La‘ie
- Hau‘ula
- Punalu‘u
- Ka‘a‘awa
- Kualoa
- Waikane
- Waiahole
- Kāne‘ohe
Glenn Wakai
senwakai@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-8585
- Kalihi
- Mapunapuna
- Airport
- Salt Lake
- Aliamanu
- Foster Village
- Hickam
- Pearl Harbor
Sam Slom
senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-8420
- Hawai‘i Kai
- Kuli‘ou‘ou
- Niu
- ‘Aina Haina
- Wai‘alae-Kahala
- Diamond Head
Brian T. Taniguchi
sentaniguchi@capitol.hawaii.gov
808-586-6460
- Manoa
- Makiki
- Punchbowl
- Papakolea

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
(Be sure to include your story)

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 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 state 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.

Original Post - 02.03.16

SB 2961 would enact a yet-to-be-determined excise tax on e-cigarette cartridges and a per-milliliter tax on e-liquids containing nicotine. Just as concerning, this tax would be tied to the rate imposed on traditional cigarettes, which means that any hike in the tax on cigarettes will automatically raise the tax on vapor products.


This bill is scheduled to be heard in committee on:


9:00am
Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, And Health (CPH)
Conference Room 229
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street


There are two ways to participate.


  1. Submit testimony through the legislature’s website here. We have provided talking points below to help you compose your message. You will need to create an account with the Hawaii legislature site before you submit your testimony. The process is simple and quick.
HI - SB2961 - Submit Testimony.jpg


  1. Send an email to members of the committee - Take Action!


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SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS (Pick a Few)


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 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) Tell your story about how vaping has helped you.
4) 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.


5) Imposing an extra sin tax on these products will encourage consumers 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 state and will result in less revenue, not more.


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


7) 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 who otherwise would have switched to a smoke-free product, will be encouraged to continue smoking.




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