SALT LAKE CITY, U.T. – Today, the consumer advocacy and trade group the Utah Smoke Free Association joined with the American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, to issue a response to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s plan to implement a new $10 million tax on small vapor product businesses in his forthcoming budget proposal.
Aaron Frazier, President of the Utah Smoke-Free Association, issued the following statement:
“Despite Gov. Herbert’s public promise to not raise taxes in 2015, his proposed budget includes a brand new tobacco-style tax on tobacco-free vapor products. His logic in pushing for this tax is that it’s not a new tax, but merely an adjustment of a definition. Gov. Herbert’s language is as transparent and flimsy as one can get in politics.
“Gov. Herbert should undertake a serious review of tobacco harm reduction opportunities and consider the health of the current 230,000 long-term adult smokers and their loved ones before setting a tax policy that could have devastating impacts. Taxing ex-smokers to recoup excise tax losses is not just bad tax policy, but bad public health policy well.
“Since vapor products first came to Utah in 2009, over 60 main street businesses have opened. These businesses have brought with them jobs and tax revenue. This tax would directly harm these businesses and discourage smokers from switching. We urge the Utah Legislature to reject it.”
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement:
“Utah may have the nation’s lowest smoking rate, but there are still over 200,000 Utah adults who continue to consume nicotine through the most harmful means possible — the burning cigarette. Smokers who cannot or will not quit using traditional methods deserve support from the government and public health officials, not scorn. Enactment of this tax will hurt rather than help the state in its well-intentioned campaign to encourage its citizens to make smarter choices.
“In the United Kingdom, where public health officials have taken a balanced approach to harm reduction, British smokers have felt comfortable switching to vaping. This has been an enormous public health success, as quit attempts and successful quitting have both steadily risen in the country since vaping took off in early-2013.”
You can learn more about AVA and vaping by visiting the AVA website.
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.