Coalition urges lawmakers to implement a high tax on e-cigs and use funding for tobacco prevention.
The Senate Finance Committee is considering a broad revenue bill that contains a tax on e-cigarettes for the first time, however, its about half the amount of the current tax on cigarettes. Advocates are calling on the committee to bump it up to deter kids from getting hooked on the product and to use the revenue it raises to fund tobacco prevention.
Use of e-cigarettes product by kids in Vermont and nationally has skyrocketed.
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth now. In Vermont, 15% of 9-12th graders use e-cigarettes compared to 11% who smoke cigarettes.
Over the past few years, the JUUL e-cigarette has become the top seller among e-cigarette brands. It looks like a flash drive, which allows kids to discreetly use it. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont recently heard from community coalition directors that schools are sending letters home to parents expressing their concern over the use of the devices.
Excerpt from a letter to South Burlington High School parents from the school’s prevention coordinator and school resource officer, January 2018
....“We are concerned that students are developing nicotine addiction through peer pressure to have a Juul or similar product for the “cool” factor.”
H.922 would tax e-cigarettes at 46% of their whole sale price and raises $385,000. We are urging a doubling of that tax and to put the more than $700,000 that could be raised towards Vermont’s tobacco control program to gain an even greater return on investment, especially if the funds were used for media.
Additional media spending is necessary. Tobacco companies spend $17 million marketing their products in Vermont each year.
But hard-hitting media campaigns to counter tobacco advertising work. The Vermont Department of Health has seen calls to the quitline increase by 33% when media campaigns are running. And, according to the CDC, if Vermont invested the minimum recommended amount of $1.1 million into media and counter-marketing, the result of would be a decrease in adult smoking rates from 17% to 15%.
Click here to contact Senate Finance Committee members to tell them you support increasing the tax on e-cigarettes to fund tobacco prevention. https://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2018/25