ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 6, 2014 – A statewide e-cigarette consumer group has joined The American Vaping Association (AVA), a leading advocate for the benefits of vaping products such as electronic cigarettes, in criticizing the New Mexico Tobacco Settlement Revenue Oversight Committee’s favorable vote on a bill that would impose a massive new tax on vaping products.
If enacted by the Legislature in 2015, the proposal by Committee Co-Chair Sen. Cisco McSorley (D – Bernalillo) would impose a tax of 4 cents per milligram of the liquid nicotine that is used in e-cigarette products. Under the bill, a 30 ml bottle of 3.6% strength e-liquid — the highest level used by smokers looking to make the switch — would be taxed at $43.20.
“Sen. McSorley’s proposal to tax e-cigarettes similarly to deadly combustible cigarettes is absurd and reflects a complete lack of understanding about the benefits of vaping products. Smokers attempting to switch to e-cigarettes should be applauded, not hit with taxes that will more than double or triple the cost of many products,” said AVA President Gregory Conley.
“Millions of dollars in new taxes will financially cripple New Mexico small businesses that are occupying previously empty storefronts,” added Conley. “Even worse, it will discourage smokers from making the smarter choice and switching to a smoke-free and tar-free product.”
“This bill should be called the Big Tobacco Protection Act of 2014,” said Chris Croom, a member of the consumer group New Mexico Vapers Alliance (NMVA) and a former smoker who transitioned to e-cigarettes four years ago, while speaking before the committee today. “It is appalling that certain New Mexico legislators are prioritizing tax dollars over the health of its citizens,” Croom stated after the hearing.
The vote in favor of recommending the bill was partisan, with four representatives voting in favor – Sen. McSorley, Rep. Jim R. Trujillo (D – Santa Fe), Sen. Linda Lopez (D – Bernalillo) and Sen. Mary K. Papen (D – Dona Ana).
“We are hopeful that the new House leadership, as well as Gov. Susana Martinez, will take a firm stance against any new taxes on the sale of vaping products,” added Conley.
On Tuesday night, the NMVA and AVA celebrated the defeat of Rep. Liz Thomson, the Co-Chair of the committee who previously pledged to support bills to impose sin taxes and usage bans on e-cigarette products. In the two weeks prior to November 4 th, vapers from New Mexico and across the country made phone calls, knocked on doors, and donated money to see that Liz Thomson would lose her election to Conrad James (R). Thomson did not attend today’s hearing.
You can learn more about AVA and vaping by visiting the AVA website.
The NMVA is a grassroots consumer group consisting of vapers (e-cigarette users) from across the State of New Mexico.
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.