October 23, 2019
To: Members of the Ohio General Assembly
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Reject HB 346
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Ohio, I urge you to preserve access to life-saving alternatives to cigarettes for the Ohioans who rely on electronic cigarettes and vaping products to quit smoking by rejecting HB 346.
The bill would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and fluid, risking disastrous health consequences, and shuttering job-creating small businesses in Ohio. The result would be bad for consumers, businesses, and the health of Ohioans who use these products to quit smoking combustible cigarettes.
Vaping contributes $900 million to the Ohio economy, boosting state revenues as well. Since an estimated 90% of industry consumers use flavored products, a flavor ban is tantamount to an outright ban on vaping.
Vape Shops are comprised of mostly small, independent businesses with many owners who have risked their own personal capital to invest in the industry. A flavor ban would shut down 650 standalone brick and mortar stores which primarily sell liquids and devices. Thirty manufacturers would be pushed out of state, and 700,000 Ohioans would lose employment.
The vaping scare we see in the news is not caused by proper use of legal products, but rather misuse of illegal drugs – the Mayo Clinic investigated the cause of vaping related sicknesses and found patients were overwhelmingly suffering from exposure to chemicals in illicit THC products.
In 2018, more than 80% of adult vapers used fruit, dessert, and sweet flavors to stay away from cigarettes. Tobacco and menthol e-cigarette flavors ranked as the fifth and sixth most popular flavor before one company dominated the traditional convenience store market.
Eliminating all but one or two of these options for adults would destroy Ohio small businesses, force many adult vapers to return to smoking, and force some to seek out products on the black market – which in turn could fund illegal activities.
Nearly a half-million people a year die in the United States from tobacco-related illnesses. E-cigarettes, according to a study conducted by the British Journal of Family Medicine, are 95% safer than cigarettes.
Rather than causing a real health crisis, destroying Ohio jobs, businesses, and lives in the process, lawmakers should reject a ban on flavored vaping.
ATR opposes HB 346, and urges you reject this legislation. If you have any questions, or if ATR can be of any assistance, please contact me, or State Projects Director Doug Kellogg at [email protected] or 2020-785-0266.
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform