URGENT! Utah Bill to Tax E-Cigarettes and Ban Online Sales — HB372

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

[link to HB372]

[legislative tracking]

If enacted, this bill would:

  • Redefine “tobacco product” in Utah’s tobacco tax code to include e-cigarettes and e-cigarette cartridges.  As a result, e-cigarettes would be taxed at 86% manufacturer’s price. (Section 1)
  • Ban sales through the mail and Internet by requiring face-to-face transactions. (Section 7) 
  • Disallow sampling in e-cigarette stores by prohibiting vendors from giving away products to customers. (Section 8)
The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee will meet Friday, March 6th at 4:10 p.m. at 25 House Building in the Utah State Capitol Complex in Salt Lake City.  CASAA is aware that at least a few vapers will be in attendance to testify against this bill. Utah residents interested in testifying at the hearing must sign up to speak by 3:00 p.m.  Please attend if you can.    

Please call or write the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee below:

What to say:
1. You oppose HB372 because Section 1 would tax e-cigarettes at 86% manufacturer’s price and Section 7 would make the sale of e-cigarettes online or through the mail a criminal offense punishable by a $5,000 fine. 

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or smokeless tobacco has changed your life and how the elimination of online access to electronic cigarette supplies would negatively affect you. Tell them that by switching to a smokefree product, you have greatly reduced your health risks.

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 are 98-99% less hazardous than cigarettes, there is no fiscal or public health justification for such a hefty tax.  

4. E-cigarettes are typically sold at prices equivalent to or far, far above the cost of a taxed pack of cigarettes.  Some e-cigarette products cost upwards of $200. 

5. Sections 1 and 7 also would decimate e-cigarette vendors in Utah who sell via the Internet or prompt them to move out-of-state.  The sections could also empower the Utah Attorney General to prosecute out-of-state e-cigarette vendors for selling online to consumers in Utah, prompting many e-cigarette consumers in Utah to travel out-of-state to purchase the products.  As such, Sections 1 and 7 would harm Utah businesses and reduce state tax revenue.

6. Section 7 may lead to thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of Utah e-cigarette users being unable to purchase anything more than convenience store brand e-cigarettes.  Utah covers over 80,000 square miles and contains less than 15 e-cigarette specialty stores, making storefronts inaccessible or inconvenient to many in the State.

7. 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.

You may also like:  Time to Get your FDA Comments Ready, CASAA Issues Call to Prepare

House Health & Human Services Committee

Rep. Paul Ray, Chair
H: 801-774-0624 / M: 801-725-2719

Rep. LaVar Christensen, Vice Chair 
C: 801-808-5105

Rep. Stewart Barlow

H: 801-544-4708 / C: 801-289-6699

Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck 
M: 801-891-9292 

Rep. Tim Cosgrove
H: 801-685-0673

Rep. Brian M. Greene
C: 801-889-5693

Rep. Michael S. Kennedy
H: 801-763-1376 / C: 801-358-2362 

Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove
H: 435-458-9115

Rep. Edward H. Redd 
H: 435-752-3364 / C: 435-760-3177

Comma delimited list: pray@utah.gov, lavarchristensen@le.utah.gov, rchouck@le.utah.gov, sbarlow@le.utah.gov, tcosgrove@le.utah.gov, bgreene@le.utah.gov, rmenlove@utah.gov, mikekennedy@le.utah.gov, eredd@le.utah.gov

Steve K

Hello and welcome to Steve K