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Call to Action! Vermont Bill Would Impose Massive 92% E-Cigarette Tax

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UPDATE 4/5/14:  H 884 has been set for a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 at 3:00 P.M., 115 State Street Montpelier, VT 05633-5301 (Room 6)  Link to Agenda - Sections 25-27  Please (1) plan on attending and offering testimony,  (2) continue to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee, and (3) contact the members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which will also be considering e-cigarettes in connection with the tax proposal .  As a sign of respect, we request that you refrain from vaping in the State Capitol building.  Contact information for both Committees can be found below in the full Call to Action.

From the Committee's website:  ATTENTION WITNESSES- Please email handouts to the committee assistant before your scheduled meeting date and bring 15 hard copies. Please write your name, organization, date and title on each document. With few exceptions, any documents you hand out to a committee, or send to a committee assistant, are open to the public and may be posted to the committee’s webpage.

UPDATE 3/28/14: As expected, the Vermont House passed the Miscellaneous Tax Bill (H.884).  This bill will now move onto the Senate Finance Committee. It is IMPERATIVE that vapers and harm reduction advocates make their voices heard NOW.


Vermont is under a major attack.  With no notice to the public, the Vermont House Ways & Means Committee voted yesterday (Monday, March 24th) to amend the proposed Miscellaneous Tax Bill to add an outrageous 92% of wholesale tax on "tobacco substitutes" (electronic cigarette products containing nicotine). This excessive and unjustified tax must be stopped.

Currently, the Miscellaneous Tax Bill is pending before the full House of Representatives.  A vote is likely on Thursday or Friday.  Indications from the ground in Vermont are that getting the e-cigarette tax removed by the House is unlikely.  As a result, we are encouraging vapers to focus your phone calls, e-mails, and in-person meetings to those on the Senate Finance Committee.

If you are a Vermont resident,  in addition to contacting the members of the Senate Finance Committee, you should contact your own State Representatives and Senators (a total of four contacts).  Make personal contact. 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 products are so different.

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

Tell your story and state why you oppose this bill!



STOP THE 92% VERMONT E-CIGARETTE TAX
(last updated 3/25/2014)


What to say when opposing the Miscellaneous Tax Bill:

You are a Vermont resident, and you would like them to please protect public health and OPPOSE the Miscellaneous Tax Bill unless the unfair and punitive 92% wholesale tax on vapor products of is eliminated.  (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 Vermont on vacation or have friends/family in the area.) Tell your story on how switching to e-cigarettes has changed your life. Explain that because electronic cigarettes are only currently subject to Vermont sales tax, enactment of this bill would constitute a 1500% tax hike. 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. Let them know that according to the Burlington Free Press, the House Ways & Means Committee could have supported an amendment by a Democrat legislator to tax combustible cigarettes at an additional 6 cents rather than tax e-cigarettes at 92% of wholesale. Considering that e-cigarettes are used by smokers looking to quit smoking, it makes no sense to choose a massive e-cigarette tax over a small increase in the cigarette tax. Given the low risk of e-cigarette 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.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. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.
Who to Contact: 

I.  THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE (meets in Room 6)

Email list for the Senate Finance Committee: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Timothy Ashe (Prog / D), Chair, 45 Lakeview Terrace, Burlington, VT 05401, (802) 318-0903 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Mark MacDonald (D), Vice Chair, 404 MacDonald Rd., Williamstown, VT 05679, (802) 433-5867 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Christopher Bray (D), 829 South Street, New Haven VT 05472, (802) 453-4424 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Peter Galbraith (D), P.O. Box 335, Townshend, VT 05353, (802) 365-7633 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Robert Hartwell (D), Box 1105 Manchester Center, VT 05255, (802) 365-7808  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D), 241 White Birch La., Williston, VT 05495, (802) 863-6129 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sen. Kevin Mullin (R), 118 Oxyoke Dr., Rutland, VT 05701, (802) 353-6770-cell - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Committee Assistant: Barbara Dall, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

II.  Senate Health and Welfare Committee (main number 802-828-2231)

Email list for the Senate Health and Welfare Committee:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tim Ashe (D/P) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-318-0903

Claire Ayer (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  802-759-2748

Philip Baruth (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-503-5266, 802-656-3298

Joe Benning (R) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-626-3600

Christopher Bray (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-453-4424; Fax: 802-329-2256

John F. Campbell (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-295-6238, 802-295-1111; Fax: 802-295-6344

Eldred French (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-492-3304

Peter W. Galbraith (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-365-7633, 802-365-7808

Robert M. Hartwell (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-345-1552

Virginia "Ginny" Lyons (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-863-6129

Mark A. MacDonald (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-433-5867; Fax: 802-433-1035

Norm McAllister (R) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-285-6363; Fax: 802-285-6363

Anthony Pollina (P/D/W) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-229-5809, 802-223-6767

Dick Sears (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-442-9139

Michael Sirotkin (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (802) 999-4360

Robert Starr (D) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 802-988-2877




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