Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) sent a letter today to Arizona’s Senate Republican Caucus, urging members to support and vote in favor of HB 2682. This bill would reform state licensing and regulatory provisions to protect Arizona businesses and consumers from harmful taxes and regulations imposed by localities on reduced harm tobacco alternatives like e-cigarettes and vaping products.
ATR Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, wrote, “It is simply good governance that matters of this magnitude be decided at the state level, due to both the level of increased scrutiny, transparency and accountability it provides, but also the direct impact it has on state tax revenue should a product be banned.”
Andrews explained that, “It is the fundamental responsibility of state governments to protect their citizens. At times, these threats can come from local government officials. In the instance of tobacco harm reduction policies, local government officials, acting without the degree of scrutiny and accountability found at the state level, may impose punitive taxes on the most vulnerable in their communities without thinking of the hardship this may cause for both employers and consumers, or the effect this would have on the state itself.”
The letter implores Arizona lawmakers to acknowledge the growing body of scientific research illustrating the benefits and effectiveness of e-cigarettes as tools for adult smoking cessation. Proven to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are more than twice as effective at helping adults quit the deadly habit of cigarette smoking as traditional nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches or gum. Extrapolating from a Georgetown University Medical Centre analysis, more than 145,000 lives in Arizona would be saved if a majority of Grand Canyon State smokers made the switch to e-cigarettes.
Andrews concluded, “SB 2682 would protect consumers and business across Arizona, ensure state tax collections are not depressed by misguided local taxes and regulations, and would prevent a patchwork of ordinances that would make Arizona a more expensive place to do business, all while also damaging public health. It is imperative for state lawmakers to use their power to safeguard their constituents from harmful policies. As such, I urge you to vote YES on Senate Bill 2682.”
The full letter can be read here.