Nebraska's LB459 Would Increase Taxes on Life-Saving Products, Lead To Increase In Tobacco-Related Deaths

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021, 5:20 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform submitted testimony today in opposition to Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 459, which would increase taxes on life-saving reduced risk tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes and increase the highly regressive tax on tobacco. 

ATR Director of Consumer Issues, Tim Andrews, wrote: "These anti-science provisions would have a disastrous impact upon not only businesses, but public health throughout the State, and lead to an increase in tobacco-related deaths. LB 459 also seeks to increase the highly regressive tax on tobacco, disproportionately harming the state’s most vulnerable populations at a time when they can least afford it, while doing nothing to reduce smoking rates."  

Andrews noted the ever-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, if a majority of smokers in the state of Nebraska made the switch to vaping, over 40,000 lives would be saved. In seeking to tax these life-saving products, this bill would place these in jeopardy.” 

LB 459 fails to incentivize smokers to move away from deadly combustible cigarettes. Andrews noted that "As the price of a product increases, its use decreases. In previous instances, levying taxes on vaping products has been proven to increase smoking rates as people shift back to deadly combustible cigarettes. Minnesota is serving as a case study on this already. After the state imposed a tax on vaping products, it was determined that it prevented 32,400 additional adult smokers from quitting smoking. Small increases in projected revenue should never come at the expense of human lives.

The full testimony can be found here.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson

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