Saturday, February 21st, 2015
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The Call to Action regarding taxation has expired. We received confirmation from Representative Ray that he will not be including taxes on his bill thus no further action is required. Please do NOT email your legislators any further on the topic of taxation. The next Call to Action (if needed) will be released as soon as possible regarding the regulatory portion of the bill.
This will be one of at least 2 Calls to Action for the 2015 Legislative session. A House Bill to be introduced this week by Representative Paul Ray which is supported by Governor Gary Herbert, threatens to nearly DOUBLE THE PRICE of every product sold by our B&M locations statewide and if enacted, will protect the tobacco companies by making cigarettes cheaper, will force over 50 retail and liquid manufacturers to close down and file bankruptcy and push over 10,000 consumers back to smoking deadly combustible cigarettes. This bill will: Introduce an 86.5% tax on every product sold by the vapor industry in Utah to raise between $10-35 million dollars which amounts to an estimated $1500-3000 per consumer. This is generally more per year per consumer than we pay for property taxes on our individual homes. The bill will also introduce regulatory language not yet known however we are only addressing the taxation at this time. A separate CTA will be issued once the bill has been published and we have assessed the regulatory language. The actions and statements made by the Governor and Representative Ray show they are addicted to the tax money and demonstrate a lack of compassion for the health of Utah residents. We believe this will force the consumers back to smoking deadly tobacco cigarettes affecting the lives of every family member through direct exposure to second-hand smoke. Furthermore, this bill supports Big Tobacco interests and threatens to close over 50 main street businesses placing over 500 people on the unemployment line. While this bill has not been assigned to committee yet, we are asking everyone to email and call your representatives and ask them to oppose any punitive tax on products that have helped over 10,000 Utahans successfully move away from toxic cigarettes. If they truly care about the health of Utahans and youth access, they will explore world class technologies that control distribution of the product at the point of sale rather than a punitive tax that supports the tobacco industry over Utah main street businesses. To contact your Senator and Representative, Libertas Utah has a tool to locate them. Go to http://libertasutah.org/sponsor/ (bottom of page) and click on “How do I contact my Senator and Representative” and enter your street address and zip code. To contact Governor Gary Herbert to educate him and request him to retract his support for a bill that will close Utah businesses and force vapers back to smoking, use the contact form here: http://governor.utah.gov/goca/form_governor.html You can also tweet to everyone using the hashtag #utvaportax Utah House Democrats: @utahhousedems Utah House Republicans: @utahhousegop Utah Senate Democrats: @UTSenateDems Utah Senate Republicans: @UtahSenateGOP Utah Senate: @utahsenate Governor Gary R Herbert: @GovHerbert Suggested talking points: Important: Be courteous and respectful at all times. You should assume they know very little about vapor products and also that they generally they want good information so they can do the right thing for Utah citizens. So, educate them on how these products have changed your life and ask them to support your position politely, for best results. As a consumer of vapor products, you know better than most that these products are NOT tobacco, are NOTHING like combustible cigarettes, and that cost and full access to them are important to you. But, YOUR story is the one missing in this discussion as well organized anti-vapor groups have sent their high-dollar lobbyists into Utah to persuade your own legislative representatives to tax and regulate your products just like tobacco. If you care about cost and access of your e-cigarettes, make sure your voice is heard. You really CAN make a difference! Tell them how the switch to vapor products has helped you personally and how it has affected your family. Ask them to oppose any punitive tax on products that have helped over 10,000 Utahans successfully move away from toxic cigarettes. Let them know this will remove any financial benefit there is to NOT smoke. Tell them taxation of combustible tobacco products is to offset the health and social costs of smoking. Vapor is not smoke and contains no tobacco and the identified health risks associated with smoking do not exist with vapor products.