Tobacco Industry Plays Dirty Tricks As State Faces Budget Crisis


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UPDATE! – Sunday, June 12, 2016 2:54 PM 

SB-1012, the tobacco tax bill, was reported on the floor of the House of Delegates and read a 1st time. An amendment has been filed by Delegates Eric Nelson and Brent Boggs to remove the preemptive language discussed in post below. Members will vote on this amendment on Monday, June 13th.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR HOUSE MEMBERS IMMEDIATELY AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT THE NELSON/BOGGS AMENDMENT TO SB-1012.

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On Saturday the West Virginia Senate passed and the House of Delegates began to consider SB-1012, the tobacco tax bill, which is a key part of Governor Tomblin’s budget compromise legislation. This bill calls for increasing the tax on cigarettes by 65 cents per pack, increasing the tax on other tobacco products from 7% to 12% and placing a new tax on e-cigarettes.

The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia and our partners, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association of West Virginia have consistently said the amount or increase in this tax bill was insufficient and needed to be at least $1 per pack to have a significant public health impact.

Now this bad bill has just gotten worse thanks to the dirty tricks of the tobacco industry.

Language in the legislation would preempt local governmental entities and not allow them to “regulate or prohibit tobacco product promotions and sales within retail stores, or regulate or prohibit activities covered by state code in §16-9a or §6-9e.”

According to the Governor’s spokesperson, Joseph Garcia, today before the House Finance Committee this language was added to the legislation at the request of the tobacco industry.

If passed, this language would make certain no local ordinances or regulations are passed and implemented by cities or counties regarding sale of tobacco to youth, tobacco company marketing, internet and mail sales of tobacco products and could be as far reaching as to trigger  legal challenges to local clean indoor air regulations and protection from second hand smoke.

Big Tobacco, once again, is prepared to take advantage of any situation to push their deadly product in West Virginia at any cost – even if OUR YOUNG PEOPLE PAY THE DEADLY PRICE.

Action in the House is expected to happen today or tomorrow on this legislation with the July 1st budget deadline looming.

Please contact your House of Delegate members RIGHT NOW and tell them to oppose SB-1012 and STOP BIG TOBACCO from preempting local tobacco regulations and passing a tax which will do little to advance public health in West Virginia.

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