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

CASAA Wrote:

URGENT! Utah: 86% tax on e-cigarettes & online sales ban (HB372)

link to HB372

legislative tracking

our testimony in opposition

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)

UPDATE (3/6/2013): This evening the Utah House Health and Human Services Committee voted to pass HB372 out of committee with minor amendments.  The bill would still tax e-cigarette products containing nicotine at an exorbitant 86% of manufacturer’s price.

Action is needed by vapers in Utah and beyond to stop this bill from passing the House of Representatives. This bill must be voted on by March 11, 2013 for it to be possible to go to the Senate.

Please write the members of the House of Representatives and Senate 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.

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. 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.
5. Section 7 may lead to thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of Utah e-cigarette users being unable to purchase anything more than a small number of e-cigarette brands.  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.

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.

West Coast Vape Supply

Members of the Utah House of Representatives:

Utah members should make special care to contact their own representative and representatives from nearby areas by telephone.

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Members of the Utah Senate:
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About the author

Blake Brown

Blake is the owner and creator of the Guide To Vaping blog. He has expressed his passion for the vaping industry through his deeply rooted and highly informative content. Being a writer and content provider for the vaping industry for year's, Blake has also gained experience from working with multiple blogs and well respected companies.

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