Today, Americans for Tax Reform submitted testimony before the Maine State Legislature imploring them to reject LD 1550, legislation which would restrict access to lifesaving reduced harm tobacco alternatives like flavored electronic cigarettes. Such products are proven to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes and are proven to be the most effective method for smoking cessation.
ATR’s Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, wrote “this anti-science proposal would have a disastrous impact upon not only businesses, but public health throughout the state, and lead to an increase in tobacco-related mortality.”
He noted the potential effects on public health by the bill “Studies have repeatedly shown that flavors, which LD 1550 would prohibit, are critical to helping adult smokers make the switch to vaping. Adults who use flavored vapor products are 43% more likely to quit smoking than an adult who uses un-flavored products.”
Andrews noted that certain provisions in the bill will “prevent entrepreneurial participation, limiting competition and innovation in the industry of reduced harm tobacco alternatives. With decreased competition comes inflated prices, which will keep Maine cigarette smokers from making the lifesaving switch to e-cigarettes. This runs contrary to every principle of sound public health policy.”
Andrews also urged the legislators to consider effects this bill would have on state revenue, writing that “restrictions on certain vaping products will undoubtedly promote black markets for smuggled products, resulting in decreased state tax revenues as consumers abandon legal vape shops in search of their favored product.”
Andrews asserted that LD 1550 would lead to a boon in criminal activity, noting, “most tobacco smuggling is run by multi-million-dollar organized crime syndicates. These networks, who also engage in human trafficking & money laundering, have also been used to fund terrorist and the US State Department has explicitly called tobacco smuggling a “threat to national security”.”
The full letter can be read here.
The key vote alert submitted to the legislature can be read here.