LAKEVILLE, Minn. —The 2022 state legislative year is rapidly ending and only a few state legislatures have passed bills to raise cigarette/tobacco/vape taxes or ban flavored tobacco products.
At this time, most state legislatures have adjourned for the year. These include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. There are a few states that are still in session including Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. All special sessions have ended.
During this past legislative cycle, many states looked into bills to increase cigarette/other tobacco product (OTP) taxes. A total of 25 states introduced legislation in 2022. Those states included Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Through the lengthy legislative process including committee meetings and public testimony, only one state, Indiana, passed a new tobacco tax. There is a bill still in process in Michigan’s ongoing session. Time will tell if it will come out of committee.
Why the Slowdown?
With fewer states considering tax increases in 2022 and not enacting higher taxes, the question becomes why? There are a couple of explanations. First, many states had budget surpluses this year, negating a need to raise taxes. Second, as a part of a stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, all 50 states received direct one-time stimulus fund payments in the aggregate totaling $195 billion dollars. Without these one-time stimulus payments, more states may consider raising taxes during the 2023 legislative cycles.
There were only three states, Alaska, Iowa, and Tennessee, that introduced bills to tax vapor products. None were successful. Of note though, Alaska’s bill made it through both chambers and in the end was vetoed by the governor.
In reviewing 2022’s proposed flavor ban bills across all 50 states, there were several different types of flavor bans proposed. These bans included banning menthol cigarettes, flavored smokeless tobacco, flavored cigars, flavored electronic cigarettes, flavored hookah tobacco and electronic cigarette/vapor flavor bans. Twelve states introduced bills to ban all flavored tobacco products. These states included California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
There were seven states that introduced bills that looked to ban all flavored vapor products. The states that introduced bills included Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Washington.
As the 2022 legislative session wraps up and we look to the upcoming 2023 cycle, there is no doubt that legislation pertaining to tobacco and vapor products will continue for years to come.
Thomas A. Briant is the executive director of NATO, a tobacco retailing association based in Lakeville, Minn. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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