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September 9, 2022
3 min to read

Alaska Governor Vetoes Vape Tax Bill

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Jim McDonald

Note

Sept. 9 update In a letter dated Sept. 8 to the president of the Alaskan Senate, Gov. Mike Dunleavy indicated he has vetoed Senate Bill 45, which would have added a 35 percent wholesale tax to vaping products and severely restricted shipping options for Alaskan vapers. The bill also harmonized the state minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping products with federal law.

Dunleavy said in his letter to the Senate that "a tax on the people of Alaska is not something I can support."

It isn't certain whether the state legislature will attempt to override the governor's veto.

Aug. 29, 2022

Earlier this year, both houses of Alaska’s state legislature passed a bill that would impose a statewide tax on vaping products, and prevent U.S. Mail delivery within the state. Now Governor Mike Dunleavy is considering whether to sign bill SB 45 into law or veto it.

The governor has until Sept. 16 to decide. If he does nothing, the bill will pass automatically, and take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. If Gov. Dunleavy signs the bill or allows it to become law, he will have broken a 2018 campaign promise to not pass any new taxes over 25 percent.

Alaska residents can call the governor’s office at 907-465-3500 to register opposition, or email the governor using CASAA’s call to action. CASAA has created a prewritten message asking the governor to veto the bill, which can be modified to explain your quitting story, or discarded altogether and replaced with a personal message.

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"Adding an additional 35 percent tax to the existing exorbitant local taxes could price vaping out of reach for Many Alaska residents."

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While the final version of SB 45 passed by the legislature did not include a flavor ban, the bill still contains plenty that would create roadblocks for Alaskan vapers. It would add a 35 percent wholesale tax to all vaping products (including devices) and would end Alaska’s exemption to the ban on U.S. Mail delivery of vapor products within the state. The bill also includes burdensome licensing and reporting requirements for small vaping businesses, including out-of-state retailers.

The bill being considered by Gov. Dunleavy will make obtaining vaping products in rural parts of the state (which means most of the state) much more difficult, and will add substantially to the cost for all Alaskan vapers.

Five of the state’s 19 organized boroughs (counties) already have high vape product taxes, including a 55 percent tax in Anchorage, where about 40 percent of the state’s population lives. Adding an additional 35 percent tax to the existing exorbitant local taxes could price vaping out of reach for Many Alaska residents.

Photo courtesy Gov. Dunleavy/Flickr

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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