MN's SF 961 Would Double Down On Failure, Increase Tobacco Deaths

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Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2021, 2:57 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform today submitted testimony in opposition to Minnesota's SF 961, which would increase taxes on life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes, as well as increase taxes on conventional tobacco.

ATR Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, wrote: "This bill would have a disastrous impact on public health throughout the State, and lead to a clear increase in tobacco-related deaths in Minnesota. Evidence shows that when Minnesota previously imposed an e-cigarette tax, it prevented 32,400 additional adult smokers from quitting smoking. Doubling down on this failed policy would be an absolute disaster.

Andrews noted the 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, vapor products would save over 52,000 lives if a majority of Minnesota smokers made the switch to vaping. This bill places lives in jeopardy by reducing access to these life-saving products."

SF 961 would also increase taxes on conventional tobacco, already the highest in the region. Andrews noted that "Evidence shows that increasing the tobacco tax further would have no impact on smoking rates, hurts struggling families and businesses and would be a boon to black market criminal syndicates. Smuggled tobacco already accounts for 35% of all sales in Minnesota, and this would increase even higher. As families and businesses struggle during the Covid-induced economic downturn, it is simply unconscionable to burden them with further tax increases that would benefit no-one except for criminal syndicates."

The full testimony can be found here.

Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

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