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Massachusetts: Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes & Smokeless Tobacco at 45% — HB 2593
If enacted, this bill wold:
- Tax electronic cigarettes (including those that do not contain nicotine) by redefining “smokeless tobacco” under Massachusetts tax law to include any product “containing, made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption . . . or any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product.”
- Impose a wholesale tax on all smoke-free products (e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, dissolvable tobacco) of 45%. E-cigarettes are not currently taxed under Massachusetts law, but enactment of this bill would constitute an 80 % increase for adult smokeless tobacco consumers. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue will be given the power to decide whether this tax would be applied to e-cigarette disposables, liquid, mods, cartomizers, atomizers, batteries, etc.
- Require e-cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e-cigarettes and comply with the same regulations that apply to a seller of real cigarette. Retailers who mix their own e-liquid may also need to acquire a manufacturers license.
- Provide that if Massachusetts raises its tax on cigarettes, then the tax on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco will automatically be raised as well.
Please call, write, or fax the members of the Massachusetts Joint Revenue Committee below:
1. You oppose HB 2593 because it would impose a new, unwarranted tax on smoke-free electronic cigarettes. Further note that HB 2593 would tax not only e-cigarette disposables and liquid that contains nicotine, but also permits the taxation of hundreds of “components, parts, [and] accessories” like kits, mods, atomizers, cartomizers, and even batteries.
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smoke-free tobacco product has changed your life.
3. Explain that the purpose of increasing cigarette taxes has been to cover governmental healthcare expenditure caused by smoking and to discourage smoking. But since electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvables are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.
4. Tell them that this year, committees in the Maine, New Mexico, and Delaware legislatures soundly rejected bills with similar broad redefinitions of “tobacco products.”
5. Since many/most e-cigarette sales are made online, enactment of this legislation would negatively impact businesses in Massachusetts that sell e-cigarettes, as many consumers would choose to use out-of-state and international online suppliers.
6. Many smokers who switch to less hazardous electronic cigarettes do so because e-cigarettes are less expensive than cigarettes. Increasing the costs of e-cigarettes to that of cigarettes would discourage many smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. It could also encourage some e-cigarette consumers to go back to cigarette smoking.
Members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue
Comma delimited e-mail list:
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (D) (parts of Plymouth and Bristol)
Sen. Michael R. Knapik (R) (parts of Hampden and Hampshire)