Opposition to changing the current tax and definitions for electronic cigarettes
Dear [Decision Maker],
Legislation has been introduced in the House to roll back the current tax on e-cigarettes. We oppose House Bill 1477 because it would lower the tax on e-cigarettes from 40 percent of the wholesale price to a 5 cents/mL tax and inaccurately redefine these products by eliminating the terms "tobacco" and "electronic cigarettes." As players in the e-cigarette market, the tobacco industry has proactively promoted definitions that avoid the terms "tobacco" and "electronic cigarette." This is a tactic that has been promoted by tobacco companies to avoid being subject to laws that control tobacco products. Both the FDA and ACS CAN define electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.According to the PA Department of Revenue, as of May 3, 2017, the total amount of tax revenue collected on e-cigarettes was $11,438,049. This total includes all tax collected from the floor tax as well as the monthly tax collected by licensees and remitted to the department. This figure will be higher when annualized.
E-cigarettes have NOT been approved as smoking cessation devices by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cessation claims by the industry are not based on a foundation of sound science. Higher tobacco prices discourage kids from using these addictive products. Pennsylvania chose kids over the tobacco industry by voting for tobacco tax increases as part of the FY 2016-2017 revenue package. A first-time tax on smokeless and roll-your-own tobacco products, and a tax on e-cigarettes at 40 percent of the wholesale price, took effect in 2016 alongside the $1.00 per pack increase in the tax on cigarettes. Together these taxes are saving lives and generating much-needed revenue for the commonwealth. Maintaining the new tax on e-cigarettes at 40 percent of wholesale will discourage youth from using these products. Other jurisdictions have higher e-cigarette taxes than Pennsylvania, with Minnesota taxing e-cigarettes at 95% of wholesale and DC taxing them at 65% of wholesale. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 24.1% of Pennsylvania High School students had used e-cigarettes during the last 30 days and 40.8% had ever tried the products. Maintaining the new tax on e-cigarettes at 40 percent of wholesale will discourage youth from using these products.E-cigarettes are tobacco products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asserted its authority over e-cigarettes as tobacco products and will regulate them as such. The FDA has not approved any e-cigarettes as tobacco cessation products. E-cigarettes can cause public health harm if they lead to use of nicotine and/or other tobacco products by youth and non-tobacco users, lead former smokers to relapse to nicotine use or use of other tobacco products, or delay complete smoking cessation among current smokers. The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless and can contain potentially harmful chemicals and toxins including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diacetyl. Some studies show that non-smoking youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try conventional cigarettes in the future than non-smoking youth who do not use e-cigarettes. And among high school students and young adults who use tobacco, more use both e-cigarettes and burned tobacco products than use e-cigarettes alone. Higher taxes on tobacco products are proven to reduce youth use. Many of the world's largest tobacco companies, including Reynolds American Inc., Philip Morris International Inc. (an Altria Company), Imperial Brands, and British American Tobacco own e-cigarette brands.E-cigarettes typically deliver nicotine. E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, a derivative of tobacco. Several studies, including one by the FDA, have found nicotine in products claiming to contain no nicotine. Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes. During 2011 to 2015, current e-cigarette use among U.S. high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 16 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent. According to the CDC, when exposed at a young age, nicotine may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.
We urge you to support the tobacco tax package as passed in July 2016 by opposing efforts to alter the revenue package, change product definitions, or lower the price of any tobacco products including e-cigarettes. Vote NO on HB 1477. Vote NO on lowering the e-cigarette tax.Thank you for the opportunity to provide this statement. Please let us know if we can assist you in your fact finding.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]