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Delaware Must Not Take A Step Back in the Fight to Curb Smoking


 
Towards the end of the 2021 legislative session, Senate Bill 131 was introduced in the Delaware General Assembly. Senate Bill 131 as written attempts to decrease the tax on premium cigars from the current rate of 30% of wholesale price to 15% of wholesale price. The American Lung Association is concerned as decreasing the current tax rate could make premium cigars more accessible. Furthermore, it undermines the strong work and commitment the legislature has taken over the years to prevent people from smoking including the passage of House Bill 242 in 2017 which increased the cigarette tax, added an e-cigarette tax and increased the tax on other tobacco products to 30% in a first step towards an equalized tax rate among tobacco products.

Senate Bill 131 also creates a new definition for premium cigars in Delaware code which could lead to requests for exemptions of these types of products in future policy. The American Lung Association supports policies that are comprehensive and include all products as an effective strategy to decrease smoking rates. We believe all tobacco products should be considered similar and tied to the tax rates on cigarettes including premium cigars as they carry the same health risks associated with their usage including cancer and lung disease. In fact, the amount of tobacco in a large premium cigar in many cases equals the same amount of tobacco in an entire pack of cigarettes. By lowering the tax rate on certain products, it could encourage smokers to turn to these lower-priced alternatives rather than focus on quitting.

 

Delaware has made such strides on tobacco control and prevention, now is not the time to take a step back. Tell your State Representative not to waiver on their commitment to the health of Delawareans and vote NO on Senate Bill 131.

Recipients

  • Your State Representative or Representatives

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Message

Vote NO on Senate Bill 131 Decreasing the Tax Rate on Premium Cigars

Dear [Decision Maker],

Please vote NO on Senate Bill 131 when it comes before you. Senate Bill 131 as written attempts to decrease the tax on premium cigars from the current rate of 30% of wholesale price to 15% of wholesale price. The American Lung Association is concerned as decreasing the current tax rate could make premium cigars more accessible. Furthermore, it undermines the strong work and commitment the legislature has taken over the years to prevent people from smoking including the passage of House Bill 242 in 2017 which increased the cigarette tax, added an e-cigarette tax and increased the tax on other tobacco products to 30% in a first step towards an equalized tax rate among tobacco products.

Senate Bill 131 also creates a new definition for premium cigars in Delaware code which could lead to requests for exemptions of these types of products in future policy. The American Lung Association supports policies that are comprehensive and include all products as an effective strategy to decrease smoking rates. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing as estimated 480,000 American each year according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Lung Association believes all tobacco products should be considered similar and tied to the tax rates on cigarettes including premium cigars as they carry the same health risks associated with their usage including cancer and lung disease. In fact, the amount of tobacco in a large premium cigar in many cases equals the same amount of tobacco in an entire pack of cigarettes. By lowering the tax rate on certain products, it could encourage smokers to turn to these lower-priced alternatives rather than focus on quitting.

Tobacco prevention and control requires a multifaceted approach and policy measures must be comprehensive and address all products to be effective. Delaware has made such progress on tobacco control and prevention, now is not the time to take a step back. Please do not waiver on your commitment to the health of Delawareans and vote NO on Senate Bill 131.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]