ATR Opposes Connecticut’s Proposed Vape Flavor Ban

This week, Americans for Tax Reform filed written testimony and testified live before the Connecticut Assembly’s Joint Public Health Committee against HB 6488, a law that would ban flavored vaping products in the state. ATR’s statement highlighted the negative public health consequences of taste bans and the economic devastation that banning an entire portion of a state’s economy can bring.

“Vaping has been shown to be 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes, and flavored vapes are crucial for adults trying to quit vaping.” said Tim Andrews, director of consumer affairs at ATR and author of the testimony. “This flavor ban would prevent Connecticut adults from quitting smoking with lower-risk alternatives to tobacco. Flavors are important to adults and HB 6488 would deprive them of these life-saving tools. The Connecticut General Assembly needs to focus on facts, evidence, and science, not just anecdotes and emotional pleas.”

“Studies have repeatedly shown that flavors that HB 6488 would ban are critical in helping adult smokers transition to vaping. Adults who use flavored vape products are 43% more likely to quit smoking than adults who use unflavored products. HB 6488 directly contradicts all currently available data on these reduced-risk tobacco alternatives.

“Flavor bans have been shown to lead to increased smoking among young people. A study by Dr. Yale University’s Abigail Friedman found that after the city of San Francisco imposed a flavor ban in 2018, the chances of the city’s youth smoking cigarettes increased more as doubled. There is no evidence that flavorings influence adolescents’ perception of vaping, as children are shown to have an equal willingness to try basic and flavored vaping products.

“HB 6488 also aims to ban flavored cigars, a policy with no evidence of having any impact on reducing smoking rates. However, real-world evidence from Massachusetts, which enacted a 2020 ban on all flavored tobacco products, shows that such bans are counterproductive and come with significant costs. Because of tobacco smuggling and cross-border shopping, these policy failures cost Massachusetts more than $10 million each Month Excise tax receipts, while smoking rates have actually increased.

“It really comes down to an important fundamental question,” Andrews said while testifying orally before committee members. “Does Connecticut support the ban or does Connecticut support harm reduction? damage mitigation works. Don’t ban.”

ATR’s full written statement can be read here.

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