Call to Action! Rhode Island AGAIN Proposes Strangling Online Sales of E-Cigarettes — HB 5876

This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at CASAA.  View original post.

Rhode Island: Another Bill to Severely Restrict Online Sales of E-Cigarettes  — HB5876

History: Thanks in part to testimony given on April 9th, 2013 by CASAA members, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to hold SB 622 in committee. HB 5876 is an identical bill introduced to the House Committee on Finance, that will be discussed on April 23rd, 2013. 

Ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would also greatly restrict online sales of nicotine-containing products by treating e-cigarettes the same as traditional tobacco products.  

This bill would:
Specifically, the bill would require a retailer conducting an online sale to: (1) Obtain a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license; (2) Obtain a statement from the buyer affirming that they are the person pictured; and (3) Send the package through a service that checks the ID of the buyer at delivery. Retailers would be required to perform this check every time a consumer places an order.

HB 5876 would also require e-cigarette retailers in Rhode Island to obtain a tobacco license and only buy their e-cigarettes from licensed wholesalers or distributors. 

HB 5876 has been scheduled for a hearing before the House Committee on Finance on Tuesday, April 23rd in Room 35 of the State House in Providence, Rhode Island at 1:00 pm.  If you are in or around Rhode Island and can attend and speak at the hearing, please e-mail us at with the subject line “Rhode Island Testimony.” Please help out in any way you can.  

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Please call, write or fax the members of the House Committee on Finance below

What to say:
1. You support supports prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products to minors, but do not support HB 5876 in its current form.

2.  Express your concern about Section 11-9-13.11 of the bill, which would restrict the online sales of vapor products.

3.  Explain that the restrictions would place Rhode Island e-cigarette vendors at a competitive disadvantage by:

  • Instituting a system that will impose significant costs for compliance.
  • Imposing restrictions on consumers (i.e., requiring signature confirmed delivery and age/identity proof with every subsequent sale to the same purchaser) that will cause consumers to purchase their products from out-of-state vendors.

4.  Note that the legislation would also overly burden consumers by requiring all shipments to repeat customers to be sent via a method that requires an in-person signature upon delivery.  This adds cost and is inconvenient for those who are not home to receive the delivery.

5. Tell the legislators that restrictions on online sales were instituted for two reasons: (1) Cigarette companies blatantly marketed to kids; and (2) Online sales were being used to evade taxes.  Because there is no evidence that a single child has been sold an e-cigarette online and e-cigarettes are not taxed in Rhode Island, there is no reason to implement such an onerous provision.

6. Explain that online sales bans only serve to protect the market share of cigarette companies.

House Committee on Finance — Who to Contact

Rhode Island citizens are encouraged to contact the members of the finance Committee AND their own representative and express their opposition to the online sales restrictions.

Rep.Helio Melo, Chairperson (D)
(401) 222-2738

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Rep.Raymond E. Gallison Jr. , Co Vice Chairperson (D)
(401) 253-1852

Rep.Agostinho F. Silva, Co Vice Chairperson (D)
(401) 728-5473

Rep.Eileen S. Naughton, Deputy Chairperson (D)
(401) 222-7904

Rep.William San Bento Jr., Secretary (D)
(401) 723-7210

Rep.John M. Carnevale (D)
(401) 274-1353

Rep.Frank Ferri (D)

Rep.Joy Hearn (D)
(401) 247-9867

Rep.Raymond A. Hull (D)
(401) 272-4026

Rep.Robert B. Jacquard (D)
(401) 419-9915

Rep.Jan Malik (D)
(401) 247-1733

Rep.Patricia L. Morgan (R)
(401) 222-2259

 Rep.Deborah Ruggiero (D)
(401) 423-0444

Rep.Scott Slater (D)
(401) 741-7641

Rep.Larry Valencia (D)
(401) 539-3420

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Steve K

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