Industry News

02.26.2024 Update: Virginia Vape Related Bills

We know its a lot of detail, but we wanted to make sure you have the latest details of the Virginia vape related bills going through the General Assembly. Additionally, we encourage you to support the Virginia Smoke Free Association (VSFA) at www.virginiasmokefree.org. The VSFA has been active since 2016 with very dedicated lobbyists working tirelessly day and night throughout the legislative process. They are well-established and deeply committed to protecting vaping rights and policies in Virginia.


The Good

VSFA’s bill, SB582, has now passed both the Senate (40-0) and the House (85-13). The companion bill, HB790, passed the House 87-12 and will come before the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee (“SFAC”) first thing tomorrow before moving to the Senate floor. When SB582 was before the SFAC a few weeks ago, it amended our bill to remove the provision where we sought to codify the tax on closed systems at $0.066/mL and create a new, different tax for open systems at 20% of wholesale price. We anticipate the SFAC will attempt to do the same to HB790 tomorrow. Because the bill first passed the House with those provisions, the bill will be forced into a committee of conference where the differences will be reconciled behind closed doors. The bills are likely to pass and have been assured by both our House and Senate patrons that we could put the new tax model back into the bill at that time.

The Bad

Altria’s registry bills are SB550 and HB1069. The Senate bill has already passed both chambers, but it is important to note that the House put a reenactment clause on the bill at VSFA’s request. (This was our only real way of getting in front of the bill, unfortunately). This reenactment clause language essentially states that the bill shall not become effective unless it is passed a second time by the General Assembly next year. The House bill had the same reenactment clause on it, but the Senate removed that language today. Consequently, these bills will go to conference as well, where we will lobby like hell to make sure the reenactment clause language stays attached to ameliorate the effect of the bill and give us another shot of killing it next year.

Additionally, we have heard that the Governor’s Administration no longer supports the bill and, after our conversations with them, have some concerns with the bill. On the other hand the Attorney General is still very much ta driving force behind the bill. (The AG is running for Governor soon and wants to be able to say he did something about illicit vapes and can go to Altria for some heavy contribution checks.)

We are trying to ensure these bills do not have funding in the budget; however, both patrons, Senator Deeds and Delegate Willett, are both likely to be budget conferees. Our next move will be to inundate the Governor’s policy with opposition to the bill(s). We’ll have more information to you in early March on these, but it will be absolutely critical that we have all hands on deck for this.

The Ugly

Despite there not being a single member-introduced budget amendment to this end, there is an amendment in the Senate budget that would more than double the tax imposed on liquid nicotine. See Budget Amendment 3-5.19 #1s, raising the tax imposed on liquid nicotine to $0.15/mL. We found it researching each chamber’s approved budget amendments at the end of last week and quickly became priority #1. There was no announcement; There was no budget amendment seeking to do this; It even caught Altria, Reynolds, and the c-stores by surprise. We have meetings later this week with the chief budget negotiators to ensure this language does not make it into the General Assembly’s final budget. VTA even hired a lobbyist last week to help fight this language and the registry bills. We’d encourage our members to email all members of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and, later, the budget conferees, to oppose Budget Amendment 3-5.19 #1s. If it makes it into the General Assembly budget, we’ll still have a chance to lobby the Governor’s Administration to take it out of the budget. We believe the Administration will be receptive. After all, they do not want to be known for doubling taxes on an entire industry.

More details to come on this fast-moving situation.

02.12.2024 Update: Virginia Vape Related Legislation

The vapor industry in Virginia needs your help to continue fighting against the Altria-sponsored HB1069 and SB550. Crossover (House bills go to Senate and Senate bills go the House to be heard and voted on) begins on Wednesday morning. This is our big push to target Committee members with emails and phone calls!!


HOUSE Legislators to Reach Out To:

Krizek (Chair), Sickles, McQuinn, Sewell, Askew, Knight, Austin, Wyatt, TorianBulova,

Carr, Hayes, Reid, Rasoul, Willett, Morefield, Bloxom, Marshall, Hodges, Coyner, Wyatt, Wiley, Campbell

HB1069 Talking Points (please summarize in your own words):

  • does not curb youth access to vapor products
  • does not regulate the retail sale of tobacco and nicotine vapor products
  • does not address the barriers of information transfer between the FDA and the Office of Attorney General (OAG).  State agencies cannot verify that a PMTA application is still pending or not due to commercial data and privacy concerns. Therefore, creating great confusion for consumers and business owners.
  • does serve Big Tobacco and will drive adults back to smoking cigarettes
  • does create a wasteful spend of taxpayer money by creating a confusion, duplicative registry system which has already been overturned in 3 states with similar law
  • Support HB790 that actually regulates the retail sale of vape and tobacco products and will help keep these products out of the hands of kids

SENATE Legislators to Reach Out To:

Lucas(Chair), Deeds, Locke, Marsden, McDougle, Obenshain, Stuart, Reeves, Favola,

Surovell, McPike, Boysko, Pillion, Hashmi

SB 550 Talking Points (please summarize in your own words)

  • does not curb youth access to vapor products
  • does not regulate the retail sale of tobacco and nicotine vapor products
  • does not address the barriers of information transfer between the FDA and the Office of Attorney General (OAG). State agencies cannot verify that a PMTA application is still pending or not due to commercial data and privacy concerns. Therefore, creating great confusion for consumers and business owners.
  • does serve Big Tobacco and will drive adults back to smoking cigarettes
  • does create a wasteful spend of taxpayer money by creating a confusion, duplicative registry system which has already been overturned in 3 states with similar law
  • Support SB582 that actually regulates the retail sale of vape and tobacco products and will help keep these products out of the hands of kids

What Can You Do To Help?

1. Reach out to the legislators above. Click on the names above to gain access to their contact information. Pick up the phones and send emails! PLEASE be courteous and professional! We want them to take us seriously and to understand we are not the problem!

2. Consider supporting the Virginia Smoke Free Association. They have an active lobby team fighting hard for our industry. You can join as a member or submit a one time donation. Every dollar helps us continue this fight! https://www.virginiasmokefree.org/become-a-member/

2.07.2024 Update: 2024 Virginia General Assembly Vape Related Bills

Now more than ever, we need to be be active and reach out to lawmakers! Yesterday, the bills continued to make their way through the lawmaking process, BUT we still have the opportunity to reach out to lawmakers to oppose the bills. They are not law yet, so we still having a fighting chance to try and kill these proposed bills before making it to the floor for a final vote.  As a reminder, when you reach out to lawmakers, please be professional and concise.

Bills We Oppose:

Of course, big tobacco (Altria, Reynolds) have two bills of their own: HB1069 and SB550. These bills require to Attorney General’s office to maintain a list of PMTA-approved or pending products, and would make it illegal to sell any product not pending or otherwise approved by the PMTA process, i.e., no flavors and no disposables.

  • SB550:  Senate: Reported from Finance and Appropriations with substitute

Bills We Support:

HB790 and SB582 are two bills VGI Distribution helped draft with the Virginia Smoke Free Association. These bills support a licensing program and they change the tax imposed on liquid nicotine which changes/reduces the tax imposed on liquid nicotine in open systems to 10% of the wholesale price. These bills also requires businesses to turnover tax compliance records as a condition of licensure, among other best practices.

  • HB790 – House: Referred to Committee on Appropriations
  • SB582 – Senate: Referred to Committee on Finance and Appropriations

Dead Bill(s) We Opposed:

HB1036 was a major concern for us as well, but we are happy to report we worked hard and killed this in committee. This bill would have allowed localities to impose their own tax on nicotine vapor products.

What Can You Do To Help?

1. Reach out to the committee members above. Click on the names above and it will give contact information. Pick up the phones and send emails! PLEASE be courteous and professional!  

2. Consider supporting the Virginia Smoke Free Association. They have an active lobby team fighting hard for our industry. You can join as a member or submit a one time donation. Every dollar helps us continue this fight!  https://www.virginiasmokefree.org/become-a-member/

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