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On May 15, 2013, the Joint Committee on Taxation gave a Do Not Pass Recommendation to HP 950. The bill is no longer a substantial threat, but action from Maine vapers is still important to ensure it is not brought back.
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Maine is the subject of a CASAA Call To Action as of April 23rd 2013. n

If enacted, this bill would n

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  1. Tax electronic cigarettes by redefining “tobacco products ” under Maine tax law to include “products containing, made or derived from tobacco that are intended for human consumption by any means, or any components, parts or accessories of tobacco products. ” n
  2. Impose a wholesale tax on all smoke free products (including e cigarettes) that will be equivalent to the tax on a pack of cigarettes (currently $2.00). The Maine State Tax Assessor will be given the power to decide how this tax would be applied to e cigarette disposables, liquid, mods, cartomizers, atomizers, batteries, etc. n
  3. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine citizen to import more than one pound of e cigarette products (see Title 36, 4404 A) n
  4. Require e cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license to sell e cigarettes (see Title 36, 4402) n
  5. Make it a crime punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a Maine e cigarette vendor to sell products to any retailer who does not hold a Maine retail tobacco license. (see Title 36, 4404 B) n
  6. Give law enforcement authorities the authority to seize e cigarette products from citizens if they believe it to be contraband (i.e., it was obtained without paying the Maine tax). (see Title 36, 4404 B) n n

    HB 950 has been referred to the Committee on Taxation, which is comprised of members of both the Maine Senate and House. No hearing has been scheduled. If you can attend the hearing or are in Maine and would like to offer your assistance in stopping this bill, please e mail board
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    This bill will cause all tobacco products to be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes n

    Item 7B (as it stands on April 3rd, 2013) which defines smokeless tobacco products will almost certainly include electronic cigarettes in this legislation. n

    See also this ECF thread for a discussion of the issue. n

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    Counterfeit cigarettes contain disturbing toxic substances

    Information for travellers arriving in ireland from member states of the european union
    Counterfeit cigarettes contain disturbing toxic substances Details Sunday, 19 August 2007 23 00

    The ICC Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB) has previously reported that counterfeit cigarettes have been known to contain a mixture of lethal substance well in excess of the toxins found in ordinary cigarettes. Now a new report issued by a special division of Canada’s national police force has identified even more disturbing items found inside counterfeit cigarettes

    Studies have shown that when compared to legal cigarettes, fake smokes can contain five times the level of cadmium, six times as much lead, 160 percent more tar and 133 percent more carbon monoxide. Cigarettes recently intercepted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Border Integrity Unit were found to contain human feces, dead flies, mould, and insect eggs.

    Canadian officials commenting on the case warned of the dangerous contents of counterfeit cigarettes. Corporal Norm Massie of the RCMP noted “You never know what you’re smoking. People think cigarettes are cigarettes are cigarettes. That’s not true.”

    Vancouver’s chief medical officer, Dr John Blatherwick warned of the health risks that attempting to save a few dollars might bring, stating “People think it’s a great deal, the truth is they’re not getting a great deal. They’re getting a lousy deal. You could be taking all sorts of things into your lungs. You’re opening your body up to a whole bunch of things you have no control over.”

    Peter Lowe, CIB Assistant Director stated “The common belief about cheap cigarettes is that they are the genuine product smuggled into the country. In London, however, 85 percent of smuggled cigarettes are counterfeit. If people buying cheap cigarettes knew what they might contain, they may think twice about buying them.”

    As taxes increase on genuine cigarettes, the illegal market continues to grow. RCMP statistics indicate that for Canada’s Pacific Region seizures of fake cigarettes totaled more than 177 million cartons between 2003 and 2006. In the UK, counterfeit cigarette seizures average more than a million a day.

    Other than the obvious health risks involved, there are also negative economic issues. The loss of sales of genuine product and the absence of tax collected hurts the economy twice over. In Canada, illegal cigarettes are responsible for $1.5 Billion in lost tax revenues each year. These are dollars not going towards the Canadian Healthcare system or educating minors about the dangers associated with lung cancer.

    Mr Lowe added, “While the detrimental effects of smoking genuine cigarettes are well publicised, less well known are the risks associated with using counterfeit products. More effort is required to educate smokers about the serious health risks attributable to smoking counterfeit tobacco products.”

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