LOS ANGELES and SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The California chapters of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), the largest trade group representing the vapor industry, today announced their opposition to ABX2-6, a measure introduced by Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) that attempts to define vapor products as "tobacco" and make related changes to existing law.
"This is a clear sign that money and not public health is at the core of these measures," said Cynthia Cabrera, president of SFATA. "While we support sensible legislation to keep these products out of the hands of minors, lumping vapor with combustible cigarettes does not make sense because they are fundamentally different and opens the door for excessive taxation of vapor products that only will lead adults back to smoking cigarettes or force them to purchase products out of state or on the black market."
Research shows that vapor products are less harmful alternatives to smoking with the potential to help reduce the public harm caused by smoking, which accounts for California's 37,000 deaths and $18 billion in economic and health care costs each year.
"The sad truth is that California received $1.52 billion in excise taxes and settlements in 2014, but only used 4.3 percent on prevention and cessation programs," added Cabrera.
SFATA's opposition to ABX2-6 follows its pledge to oppose the "California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016," a proposed ballot initiative that also attempts to classify vapor products as tobacco products, while extending new cigarette "sin" taxes to this growing category. In a letter to California's Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Cabrera called the ballot measure "fundamentally flawed," citing its language as "misleading to voters" by falsely implying that the harmful health effects of tobacco are similar to those of vapor products.
"We miss a profound opportunity to reduce the public harm caused by smoking by equating vapor products with combustible tobacco," Cabrera continued. "We will continue to work with legislators and public policy advocates to ensure that the distinction between the two is gravely evident to the 4 million California adults still smoking combustible cigarettes."
Founded in 2012, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) is the largest trade association in the vapor products industry with more than 800 members and 19 chapters located across the country, representing online retailers, brick and mortar vendors, distributors, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers. For more information, visit SFATA.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @SFATA. Download a copy of SFATA's "Top 10 Vapor Facts: Demystifying Misconceptions about the Vapor Industry" by visiting http://bit.ly/toptenvaporfacts.
Listen to Cynthia Cabrera's interview with Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform on the impact of taxes on vapor products by downloading SFATA's podcast, "Clearing the Haze," or visiting http://bit.ly/stop-vapor-taxes.
SOURCE Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association