MA – Stop the Legislature Making Flavor Ban Permanent and 75% Tax!
At a morning press conference, on Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law H.4196, a flavor ban and 75% wholesale tax on vapor products, recently passed by the legislature.
Governor Baker’s flavor ban by executive order will remain in place until December 11. Between now and then, the Department of Public Health is being directed to enact regulations banning the sale of flavored vapor products, permanently. This means that the ban on sales of flavored vapor products remains in place without a lapse in enforcement.
Other provisions enacted by H.4196, including a ban on sales of menthol cigarettes and enacting the 75% tax on whatever vapor products are left, take effect on June 1, 2020.
- H.4196 – Bill page.
- Are you registered to vote? Visit THRvoter.org
- Bill signing press conference, 11.27.19 – Western Mass News (FB)
(Update – 11.21.19)
H.4196 (formerly known as H 4183), which bans the sale of flavored vapor products and, among other things, enacts a 75% wholesale tax on any vapor products that are left, was passed by the Senate last night. The bill is on its way to Governor Baker’s desk for his signature.
At the same time, a hearing is scheduled by the Department of Public Health regarding regulations needed to enforce Governor Baker’s existing ban on sales of any vapor product in Massachusetts. The legislation that was passed on Thursday morning does not take effect until June 2020. Stopping the Dept. of Health regulation would give retailers time to sell through their remaining products AND give all of use more time to mount a more effective resistance, possibly by introducing legislation to repeal the new law enacted by H.4196. The public hearing is scheduled for
Friday, November 22, 2019
Public Health Council Room, Second Floor
Department of Public Health
250 Washington St.
Even though legislation that makes Governor Baker’s flavor ban almost permanent is being enacted, this hearing is a valuable opportunity to demonstrate how many people are being negatively affected by the flavor ban and what the toll on public health will be. Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not plan to speak, your presence is vital.
Those wishing to speak are encouraged to send written testimony to Reg.Testimony@state.ma.us.
- Include written testimony in the body of the email or as an attached Word document.
- Your email subject line should be “Vaping products regulation.”
- Include your full name and address.
- These details and other information is available in the hearing announcement, here.
Points to include in your emails, phone calls, and spoken comments:
- Briefly, share your story about switching to vaping and what role that flavors played in helping you switch.
- Note any health changes you’ve experienced.
- Briefly, discuss what losing access to local vape shops will mean for you (Will you shop out-of-state, in neighboring cities, or online? Will you make your own e-liquid at home or purchase products on an underground market?).
- Additional talking points for testimony and emails are available here.
- Watch these comments from San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar – YouTube
(Update – 11.15.19)
H.4183, which would, among other things (listed below), ban flavored nicotine and tobacco products, enact a %75 tax, and authorize drug war style asset forfeiture of untaxed vapor products and the vehicles containing them is moving to the Senate after a 127 to 31 vote to pass the bill in the Massachusetts House.
This bill is expected to move quickly so that the new law will be approved before the legislature’s break begins on November 20.
Please TAKE ACTION today by sending a message to your officials urging them to reject this dangerous bill.
CASAA is aware that a rally is being planned for next week at the Massachusetts State House to demonstrate strong opposition to H. 4183 and any legislation that would implement these draconian and reckless laws. This alert will be updated as details become available.
(Original Post – 11.12.19)
As of November 12, several proposals to severely restrict the sale of vapor products are being combined into H.4183. This bill would enact a 75% wholesale tax on all vapor products (devices and liquids), ban flavored products (including short-fills and DIY supplies), and enact a ban on the sale of vapor products with a nicotine content higher than 20mg/ml (with a useless vape shop/tobacco shop exemption).
This bill would impose the following restrictions on vapor retailers, distributors, and people who vape:
Imposes a 75% wholesale tax on vapor products which includes liquids, devices, component parts, and accessories.
- Consumers who purchase vapor products outside of the state (in an effort to avoid paying this excessive and unreasonable tax) can be held liable for paying the state’s tax on any vapor products in their possession for which they are unable to produce a receipt demonstrating that the tax has been paid.
A ban on sales of flavors other than tobacco.
- Note: While it appears there is an exemption for “smoking bars,” this does not apply to what we commonly refer to as “vape shops.” Massachusetts defines a “smoking bar” as “an establishment that: (i) exclusively occupies an enclosed indoor space and is primarily engaged in the retail sale of tobacco products as defined in section 6 for consumption by customers on the premises . . .”
- Sales of “tobacco product flavor enhancers” which are defined as “any product designed, manufactured, produced, marketed or sold to produce a characterizing flavor when added to any tobacco product would also be banned.
- This is a ban on DIY as well as brick and mortar and online sales of flavored products.
Enact a 20 milligram per milliliter cap on nicotine content.
- This provision has an exemption for vape shops (“retail tobacco stores”) and “smoking bars” . . . which is odd because vape shops will be kept closed by this legislation.
- Moreover, the 20mg/ml cap is not based on any science suggesting that this is a meaningful or productive nicotine limit. It is simply deferring to a European standard which is also not based on any credible science.