To: Members of the Ohio House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Protect Ohioans from Local Government Bans on Life-Saving Tobacco Products
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Ohio, I commend the House’s passage of protections against local government bans on flavored tobacco products in the budget, a measure that was unfortunately vetoed (Veto Item Number 24). ATR strongly supports a legislative override of this veto.
Protections for businesses and consumers from harmful taxes and regulations imposed by local governments on reduced risk tobacco alternatives, while establishing appropriate licensure and regulations regarding these products, is a pro-taxpayer policy.
Ohioans have seen local governments across the state impose onerous and unjustified bans on consumer products and access to basic, affordable energy options. These bans, whether on natural gas, flavored vapes, or other products, are not based on science. They only make life more expensive and difficult for Ohioans, and crush small businesses while killing jobs.
When cities, like Columbus, ban tobacco alternative products, public health is negatively impacted.
Vaping products have been conclusively demonstrated to be 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes – and they are significantly more effective than any other quit-smoking aide. Research has proven conclusively that flavors are vital to help adults quit smoking. Vaping has been endorsed by over 100 of the world’s leading public health organizations as safer than smoking and an effective way to help smokers quit. Additionally, bans on flavored e-cigarettes lead to increases in black market activity and smoking rates.
Republicans in the state legislature have already demonstrated leadership in defending Ohioans from cities that seek to abuse their power with radical left-wing bans on consumer options.
As legislators know, protecting consumers by preventing local governments from implementing experimental regulations protects individual liberty and prevents localities from creating a patchwork of local ordinances that would make Ohio a harder place to do business, all while decreasing critical state tax revenue.
Preemption laws promote transparency and accountability by restricting local governments from acting without expertise or scrutiny.
Now, the legislature has an opportunity to preempt this type of reckless local ban on reduced-risk alternatives to smoking. Unfortunately, local bans on these products start going into effect on January 1, 2024. Time is short.
ATR urges you to override the Governor’s veto before the year ends. Preemption will protect consumers and businesses across Ohio, ensure state tax collections are not depressed by misguided local taxes and regulations, and would prevent a patchwork of ordinances that would make the state a more expensive place to do business, all while also putting lives at risk.
Americans for Tax Reform