CCAGW Urges Ways and Means Members to Oppose H.R. 4742 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Ways and Means Members to Oppose H.R. 4742

October 22, 2019

Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative,

On Oct 18, 2019, H.R. 4742, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, was introduced to “impose a tax on nicotine used in vaping, etc.” Tomorrow, on October 23, you will be asked to mark up this bill. On behalf of the more than 1 million members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, I ask that you vote against this legislation.

The language for this legislation is not yet available on Congress.gov for the public to view and provide input. There has been no hearing to better understand or discuss its consequences or time to conduct research.

It is our understanding the bill would place a tax equal to the tax on small cigarettes of $50.33 per 1,810 per milligrams of nicotine. A March 15, 2018 The Hill article showed increased taxes on cigarettes have led to a “thriving black market,” especially in states like New York, “where nearly 56 percent of all cigarettes consumed are smuggled in or are otherwise of questionable legal provenance,” closely followed by “Arizona (44 percent), Washington state (43 percent), New Mexico (41 percent) and Minnesota (35 percent).”

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that H.R. 4742 would put the first federal tax on vaping products of $9.9 billion over 10 years and be extremely costly to millions of people who vape to stay off of combustible cigarettes, which are known to cause cancer and heart disease, among other chronic diseases. The tax would also destroy tens of thousands of jobs in the vaping industry.

This appears to be another knee-jerk reaction to the numerous cases of lung illnesses and even deaths that appear to have been caused by using illicit tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or marijuana in vaping devices. Meanwhile, states are rushing to legalize marijuana in violation of federal law.

According to Public Health England, use of vaping products, like e-cigarettes, are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes because the “the constituents of cigarette smoke that harm health – including carcinogens – are either absent in e-cigarette vapour or, if present, they are mostly at levels much below 5% of smoking doses (mostly below 1% and far below safety limits for occupational exposure)” and “the main chemicals present in e-cigarettes only have not been associated with any serious risk.”

Instead of taxing vaping products, the federal government and the states should be encouraging smokers to switch to electronic nicotine delivery systems as the U.K has done.

Again, I urge you to vote against H.R. 4742, not only because it will be harmful to millions of ex-smokers who depend on these products to help wean themselves off of deadly combustible cigarettes, but also because of the manner in which this legislation is being considered.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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