We are three weeks into the 2023 legislative session and it has already been busy. We are closely monitoring a number of bills; including one that would cap taxes on cigars (SB 122). We signed in against the bill when it was heard in the Senate Taxation Committee on January 18th. As it's currently drafted it would limit the tax on cigars- including flavored cigars and cigarillos. We urged a "no" vote on the bill as we know taxes are a proven way to deter usage of tobacco. The has been discussion of amendments to the bill and as of the writing of this the committee has not voted on the bill but we’ll be sure to let you know the results when they do!
On Thursday, January 19th Heart also testified in support of funding the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program (MTUPP). The program is funded through the Montana Department of Health and Human Services’(DPHHS) budget under the Public Health and Safety Division. The head of DPHHS was in the Section B Health & Human Services Budget Subcommittee to present the division’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. We testified asking for continued funding of MTUPP. With the tobacco industry spending an estimated $30 million annually on marketing in Montana alone, MTUPP is a program that is incredibly effective in promoting tobacco prevention & cessation efforts when funded properly.
That is our update for now but we will continue to update you as things move. Please keep an close eye on your email because there will come a time when we need you to reach out to legislators in support of legislation that we are tracking. Thank you for your support.
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