Putnam Connecticut.jpg by ML.Nature.Photo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) yesterday testified to oppose SB 367 in the state of Connecticut, which seeks to ban all flavored reduced risk tobacco alternatives.  

ATR Consumer Affairs Manager Tim Andrews urged the Connecticut legislature to reject this regressive bill, calling it “an anti-science bill that evidence shows has the potential to cost tens of thousands of lives in the Constitution State”  

Andrews’ testimony warned that the law could reverse decades of progress in the fight to reduce smoking nationwide. “Efforts by public officials to restrict access to this technology are extremely dangerous. All evidence shows that electronic cigarettes are the single most effective method for helping adults quit smoking. Hysteria surrounding the “danger” of these products is not bounded in fact. Electronic cigarettes have been proven to be less harmful than traditional tobacco products by orders of magnitude.” 

SB 367 would also have a significant impact on the health of high schoolers. Andrews noted that “In San Francisco, a city-wide ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vapor products, as proposed in SB 367, had no effect on usage among youths. To the contrary, after nearly a decade of steady decline in youth use of combustible cigarettes, there has been an increase in cigarette smoking among youths in San Francisco since the flavor ban was enacted. In cities that have maintained looser regulations regarding reduced harm tobacco products, youth combustible cigarette use has continued to decline.” 

Tim Andrews expanded on the wider implications of SB 367: “Connecticut lawmakers should expect to see crime to explode statewide if this bill passes…Massachusetts should serve as a warning to lawmakers nationwide.” 

In 2020, Massachusetts passed similar legislation. As a result, tobacco smuggling into the state experienced a surge as it provides a lucrative revenue stream for organized crime syndicates 

Andrews concluded that in the interest of public health, state business, and crime reduction the proposed legislation does not pass. Millions of dollars and thousands of lives could be put at risk should this misguided bill be enacted. 

The full testimony can be read here