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Congressman Krishnamoorthi and Senate Majority Whip Durbin Hail Ways & Means Committee Passage of Tobacco Tax Equity Act Provisions

September 15, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) hailed the House Ways and Means Committee’s passage of its portion of the Build Back Better Act, which included provisions from the Tobacco Tax Equity Act and Congressman Tom Suozzi’s (D-NY) Protecting American Lungs Act to close loopholes in the tax code, raise cigarette taxes for the first time in over a decade, and apply federal taxes on e-cigarettes -- such as JUUL products -- for the first time. Congressman Krishnamoorthi introduced the Tobacco Tax Equity Act alongside Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in April 2021. The tobacco tax provisions included in the House Ways and Means Committee bill are estimated to generate $96 billion over ten years to fund critical public health and social programs established by the Build Back Better Act.

“Given the rise in e-cigarette popularity, especially with 20% of high school students reportedly using them in 2020, it is time these dangerous products were taxed in order to protect the health of our youth ,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. “During my tenure in Congress, I have remained committed to ending the youth vaping epidemic. Our children are not for sale, and by creating a new tax on e-cigarettes, we can make it more difficult for these tobacco companies to take advantage of our kids and teens and set them on a path toward addiction. It’s also time that these tobacco companies paid their fair share of taxes. I am looking forward to the final passage of the Build Back Better Act and the benefits that these tobacco tax provisions will have on our public health and federal revenue.”

“Big Tobacco and Vaping companies target our children in order to pad their corporate profits. The most effective strategy to prevent children from starting a deadly tobacco habit is to make these addictive products unaffordable for them.  By including our Tobacco Tax Equity bill in the reconciliation package, we can reduce tobacco use in America and prevent a generation of kids from getting hooked on smoking and vaping. I’m pleased that the House included our legislation to help fund the Build Back Better agenda, and the Senate should follow suit with this public health tool,” said Senator Durbin. 

“More than 57 years after the first Surgeon General report linking tobacco to cancer, its use remains the most preventable cause of death among Americans,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “And, the youth vaping epidemic is creating a new generation of tobacco addiction and threatening millions of children’s lives. That is unconscionable, and I am proud that the Ways and Means Committee is taking this critical step to tax e-cigarettes for the first time and double existing tobacco taxes. I thank Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi for his partnership and leadership on this issue. The health of our nation’s families and children depends upon it.”

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports the tobacco tax provisions approved today by the Ways and Means Committee in its portion of the Build Back Better Act. Increasing federal tobacco taxes will greatly improve public health and save lives by preventing kids from starting to use tobacco products and encouraging current tobacco users to quit. At the same time, it will raise revenue to help fund important initiatives in the bill, including by closing existing tax loopholes that have created incentives for tax avoidance,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.