A proposal before Congress will create a financial disincentive for those who are looking to wean themselves off traditional cigarettes by imposing higher taxes on potentially less harmful alternatives (e.g. non-combustible products/e-cigarettes).
Researchers have found that by making less harmful alternatives more expensive, smokers would return to more harmful cigarettes or turn to the illegal market. Pushing consumers toward the illegal market potentially exposes them to even greater harm and results in the loss of tax revenue – not only for the federal government but for the state and units of local government as well. Illinois already has a thriving illicit market in traditional cigarettes due to significantly higher taxes. We do not need to see government action pushing growing the illicit market.
We would strongly encourage Congress to re-consider their proposal and focus on encouraging people to move toward reduced-risk, noncombustible products.
Illinois Retail Merchants Association