February 11, 2021
To: Members of the North Dakota House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: ATR Key Vote Alert – Oppose HB 1403 & 1422
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across North Dakota, I urge you to oppose House Bills 1403 & 1422. If implemented, these bills would increase the highly regressive excise on conventional and smokeless tobacco products, disproportionately harming the state’s most vulnerable populations at a time when they can least afford it, while doing nothing to reduce smoking rates.
Data from the National Adult Tobacco Surveys has consistently demonstrated that tobacco tax increases have no statistically significant impact on the prevalence of smoking among those with household incomes of less than $25,000. Seventy-two percent of smokers are from low-income communities, and to increase taxes on people unable to quit as they are struggling with the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic will put unnecessary hardship upon families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
In 2016 voters rejected a similar initiative to raise the excise tax at the ballot.
In addition, more than tripling the tax on smokeless tobacco products such as snus would do irreparable harm to public health and the effort and objective of reducing smoking rates in Indiana. The FDA has authorized manufacturers to market their product stating that using “snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.” To increase taxes on a product authorized by the FDA as a reduced risk product – leading to more people continuing to smoke combustible cigarettes – is bad public health policy.
Small increases in projected revenue should never come at the expense of human lives.
ATR opposes HB 1403 and 1422 and urges you to vote NO.
Americans for Tax Reform