Hawaii Must Reject Proposed Legislation That Would Increase Tobacco Related Deaths, Destroy Small Businesses

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021, 7:00 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform  submitted testimony today in opposition to Hawaii’s HB 598 and HB 476, which would increase taxes on life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes. 

ATR Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, wrote: "These anti-science bills would have a disastrous impact on public health throughout the State, and lead to an increase in tobacco-related deaths. Further, aside from the public health harm caused by increasing taxes on a product proven to save lives, this bill would also cause considerable economic harm, particularly given the present pandemic-related economic downturn." 

Andrews noted the ever-growing body of research showing vapor products are an effective harm reduction tool for adults looking to quit smoking: "Extrapolating from a large-scale analysis by the US's leading cancer researchers and coordinated by Georgetown University Medical Centre, if a majority of smokers in the state of Hawaii made the switch to vaping, over 40,000 lives would be saved. In seeking to tax these life-saving products, these bills place lives in jeopardy. 

HB 598 and HB 476 fail to incentivize smokers to move away from deadly combustible cigarettes. Andrews noted that "As the price of a product increases, at its use decreases. In previous instances, levying taxes on vaping products has been proven to increase smoking rates as people shift back to deadly combustible cigarettes. Minnesota is serving as a case study on this already. After the state imposed a tax on vaping products, it was determined that it prevented 32,400 additional adult smokers from quitting smoking. Small increases in projected revenue should never come at the expense of human lives.” 

The full testimony can be found here

 

Photo Credit: Cord Cardinal

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