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Call to Action! Ohio's Governor Kasich is Proposing a Tax on E-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco at an Outrageous 49% of Wholesale


In search of revenue to fill gaps in a proposal he calls a 'tax reform' package, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) has proposed taxing electronic cigarettes (including devices) at an excessive 49% of wholesale and raising the tax on other low-risk smoke-free products.  Please take action to stop this proposal!

If enacted, Gov. Kasich's proposal would:

Tax electronic cigarette devices, components, and liquids at 49% of wholesale (a 750% tax increase from 5.75% sales tax now collected on sales) Raise the tax on smokeless tobacco from 17% to 49% (a 188% tax increase) Declare e-cigarettes to be tobacco products and subject to the same licensing restrictions Raise the tax on cigarettes from $1.25 to $1.85 a pack (CASAA takes no position on cigarette taxes) Currently, this tax proposal is found in HB 472, a massive bill hundreds of pages in length that, in the near future, will likely be split into 10-15 different bills.  We need to start fighting now and continue to even if the public is told the plan may be delayed.

Below you will find contact information for the members of the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee, which is the first committee that will hear the e-cigarette tax. 

Of course, in addition to contacting the members of the House Ways &  Means Committee, you should also make personal contact with your own State Representative and Senator (look them up at the bottom left hand corner here).  Those in Ohio can call 1-800-282-0253 to reach your House Representative's office Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 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 cigarettes are so different.

Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts regarding this and other legislation in Ohio and across the United States. We will alert you when there are other opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the Ohio State Legislature. You can also join the Ohio Vapers Advocacy League on Facebook.  See below for further information on how to take action!    

Important: 2014 is an election year, and Ohio vapers needs to respectfully make it known that they vote and that they care about this important public health issue.  

(last updated 3/26/2014)

 What to say when opposing Gov. John Kasich's tax plan:
You are an Ohio resident, and you would like them to please protect public health, consumers, and small businesses in Ohio and OPPOSE Governor John Kasich's brand new sin tax on electronic cigarettes and tax increase on smokeless tobacco.   (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 Ohio on vacation or have friends/family in the area.) Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products has changed your life. Explain that because electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to Ohio sales tax, enactment of a 49% excise tax would constitute a 750% tax hike on Ohio's overwhelmingly low-income tobacco and nicotine users. The tax on smokeless tobacco is being hiked 188%.    Explain that Governor Kasich's proposal would actually tax batteries and other components in the device.  Electronic cigarettes are technology, not tobacco, and should not be classified as tobacco products under Ohio law. 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. Supporters of this legislation claim that punitive taxes should be imposed on all tobacco products for public health reasons.  However, the truth is that there is absolutely no public health benefit to excessively taxing products that pose an estimated 1% of the risk of that of smoking.  In fact, imposing high taxes on low-risk products will work against the interests of public health by discouraging smokers from using a far, far safer alternative to smoking. Given the low risk of e-cigarette use (and smokeless tobacco 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.A comprehensive review by Dr. Igor Burstyn of  Drexel University, 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.  Imposing such taxes on e-cigarettes could have devastating effects on Ohio small businesses. Moreover, many Ohio consumers will avoid the tax by buying online, and the costs to the Ohio government to collect taxes from these citizens could outweigh the revenue the tax will bring the State.   Ohio small businesses, burdened with excessive taxes, will be unable to compete with out-of-state companies, reducing the number of brick and mortar shops available for Ohio consumers.  E-cigarette shops are more than simply stores. They provide an important resource for smokers looking to dramatically reduce their health risks by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that poses an estimated 99% less risk than smoking.   These stores offer knowledgeable employees and diverse products to allow adult smokers to make a successful transition from smoking to e-cigarette use.  Any state action that has the result of reducing the number of brick and mortar specialty e-cigarette shops would have devastating results for adult consumers. 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.   Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.
How to Contact the Members of the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee:

Note: Next to each Representatives' name is their party affiliation, city of residence (i.e., what general area they represent), and district number. Find district maps here.

Rep. Jeff McClain (R - Upper Sandusky, D 87)
Phone: (614) 644-6265 / Fax: (614) 719-6982
Email Representative McClain
Twitter: @RepJeffMcClain

Rep. Gary Scherer (R - Circleville, D 92)
Phone: (614) 644-7928 / Fax: (614) 719-6985
Email Representative Gary Scherer
Twitter: @RepGaryScherer  

Rep. Tom Letson (D - Warren, D 64)
Phone: (614) 466-5358 / Fax: (614) 719-3964
Email Representative Tom Letson

Rep. John Adams (R - Sidney, D 85)
Phone: (614) 466-1507 / Fax: (614) 719-3978
Email Representative John Adams

Rep. Ron Amstutz (R - Wooster, D 1)
Phone: (614) 466-1474 / Fax: (614) 719-0003
Email Representative Ron Amstutz
Twitter: @repamstutz 

Rep. Nan A. Baker (R - Westlake, D 16)
Phone: (614) 466-0961 / Fax: (614) 719-3998
Email Representative Nan A. Baker

Rep. John Barnes, Jr (R - Westlake, D 16)
Phone: (614) 466-1408 / Fax: (614) 719-3912
Email Representative John Barnes, Jr
Twitter: @Barnes0658 

Rep. Peter Beck, Jr (R - Mason, D 54)
Phone: (614) 644-6027 / Fax: (614) 719-3967
Email Representative Peter Beck, Jr
Twitter: @PeteBeckOhioRep

Rep. John Becker, Jr (R - Union Township , D 65)
Phone: (614) 466-8134 / Fax: (614) 719-3966
Email Representative John Becker, Jr
Twitter: @BeckerGOP 

Rep. Terry Blair, Jr (R - Washington Township, D 42)
Phone: (614) 466-6504 / Fax: (614) 719-6966
Email Representative Terry Blair, Jr

Rep. Jack Cera, Jr (D - Bellaire, D 96)
Phone: (614) 466-3735 / Fax: (614) 719-6995
Email Representative Jack Cera, Jr
Twitter: @jackbellaire 

Rep. Mike Foley, Jr (D - Cleveland, D 14)
Phone: (614) 466-3350 / Fax: (614) 719-3910
Email Representative Mike Foley, Jr

Rep. Doug Green, Jr (R - Mount Orab, D 66)
Phone: (614) 644-6034 / Fax: (614) 719-6988
Email Representative Doug Green, Jr

Rep. Brian Hill, Jr (R - Zanesville, D 97)
Phone: (614) 644-6014 / Fax: (614) 719-6994
Email Representative Brian Hill, Jr
Twitter: @RepBrianHill

Rep. Bill Patmon (D - Cleveland, D 10)
Phone: (614) 466-7954 / Fax: (614) 719-0010
Email Representative Bill Patmon, Jr
Twitter: @RepBillPatmon 

Rep. John M. Rogers (D - Mentor On The Lake, D 60)
Phone: (614) 466-7251 / Fax: (614) 719-3962
Email Representative John M. Rogers, Jr
Twitter: @Rep_Rogers60 

Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D - Canton, D 49)
Phone: (614) 466-8030 / Fax: (614) 719-6952
Email Representative Stephen Slesnick, Jr
Twitter: @stephenslesnick 

Rep. Gerald L. Stebelton (R - Lancaster, D 77)
Phone: (614) 466-8100 / Fax: (614) 719-0005
Email Representative Gerald L. Stebelton, Jr

Rep. Louis Terhar (R - Cincinnati , D 30)
Phone: (614) 466-8258 / Fax: (614) 719-3584
Email Representative Louis Terhar, Jr

Rep. Roland Winburn (D - Dayton, D 43)
Phone: (614) 466-2960 / Fax: (614) 719-6940
Email Representative Roland Winburn, Jr
Twitter: @RolandWinburn 

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