AT THE MOMENT / UPCOMING
Action Alert #1 Scope: New York State
Action Alert #2 Scope: United States
Action Alert #3 Scope: United States
Action Alert #4 Scope: New York State
Action Alert #5 Scope: United States
TRACKING LOST BUSINESS
DUE TO SMOKING BANS
Attention all business owners suffering from a smoking ban.
out this form and submit it for a new web page to be announced soon
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter.
This site and collection of information is endorsed by NYC C.L.A.S.H.
ACTION ALERT # 1
HONOR INDIAN TREATIES
First the NYS Legislature made it illegal for NYers to receive their cigarettes via purchases made on the internet, by mail or by phone. It's likely they understood how hard that is to enforce and have, on top of that, added a provision in the state budget that calls for the tax to be paid by the Native American retailers PRIOR to receiving them for sale. That means that they would have no choice but to pass on that tax cost to their customers.
They're not taking it lying down. They have embarked on an ad campaign informing state residents that the NYS government is breaking a centuries old treaty. They're asking you to get involved and you should -- for ALL our of our sakes. Besides it just not being right you'll find yourself paying the taxes on your cigarettes no matter where you get them from in New York.
Please visit their website at http://www.honorindiantreaties.com/index.cfm
You can read more about
this and the resistance:
Indians contest new state levy
Reservations prepare to act against threat to smoke shops, gas stations
Senecas pursuing firm to avoid tobacco taxes
ACTION ALERT # 2
21st Century Boston Tea Party:
Holding the States' MSA Payments Hostage
NYC C.L.A.S.H. presents and supports the following message written by the advocate leading this charge:
We are attempting to get nationwide support to put every governor in every state on notice that smokers and many nonsmokers have had it with the states' taxing schemes. We want to broad side government. They cannot even conceive of smokers getting organized, let alone going on strike against the MSA and the states' excessive and punitive taxes on a perfectly legal product.
Smokers and private property/business owners now have the upper hand. The states are totally dependent on their MSA payments. We must hold those 2006 payments hostage by encouraging our customers to sign and send in the "I Quit" Declaration and to switch brands for a while. Many nonsmokers are signing these in support of smokers too.
Smokers must stop feeding the monster and force states to spend the windfall moneys on real problems they face today. Health and non profit groups have made the utopian promise of a smoke free America. That is never going to happen and they need to realize the truth. The states need to stop funding this nonsense. We finally have the leverage!
If you are a business owner please print off the "I Quit" declarations, buy a box or two of envelopes and a couple of rolls of stamps, have your patrons sign them and start mailing them in. Our web site has every govenors' mailing address. Have the customer hand address the envelope with their own home return address. The money you spend on doing this will be returned many times over and your customers will love that you are giving them a way to fight back at last.
I know, it all sounds crazy, but trust me. I am the only retailer in America who worked until our state lowered the tax on a tobacco product. One thing I am is determined to keep this tax revolt going until we win it.
For all further information
and material needs in support of this effort
go to http://www.smokerstaxrevolt.com/
ACTION ALERT # 3
PROPOSED FEDERAL BAN
ON INTERNET SALES OF CIGARETTES / CIGARS
(updated September 2004)
Senate bill S. 1177 passed in the U.S. Senate in January 2004 that will prevent you from purchasing the cigarette brand of your choice over the Internet or through the mail.
Cigar smokers and those who purchase loose tobacco to roll your own should be equally concerned about this because it did not pass until it was amended to include "any tobacco product."
This bill was written by a collusion of big tobacco, state governments and the powerful convenience store lobby.
The corresponding House bill, H.R. 2824 is now before the House Judiciary Committee that will seal the deal. At the moment it does not contain the same "any tobacco product" language but that can easily change.
This ban would affect all 50 states.
No other legal products sold over the Internet or through the mail would be subject to the same regulations as cigarettes and very possibly ALL tobacco products. This is your last chance to try and stop this. It is now more important than ever to act!
It is imperative that you phone, write, fax or e-mail your congressional representative and urge him or her to oppose the House Bill HR 2824.
You can easily find and automatically email your representative at http://www.house.gov/writerep/
We suggest http://www.congress.org
for all other forms of contact information.
A suggested letter would read:
I am writing you to urge you to vote against a bill currently pending in the House Of Representatives, HR 2824.
This bill, once again, singles out smokers like me and imposes what are clearly unconstitutional restrictions on my freedom as a consumer to purchase legal products in the same way I can purchase any other legal product.
For too long we smokers have allowed the government to impose clearly unfair legal burdens on us. I, for one, am tired of it, and intend to watch how you vote, so I can vote accordingly.
(Your name here)
ACTION ALERT # 4
New York Indian Tribes Rally to Support Native Businesses
N.Y., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Native American Business Alliance of
Long Island today caravanned from the Unkechaug Powwow Grounds (Mastic,
N.Y.) to the Shinnecock territory (Southampton, N.Y.) to support its new
grassroots effort to protect Indian Nations' right to sell tax-free tobacco
"The faces you see here today are the faces of those who depend on Native American Businesses," Unkechaug tribal chief Harry Wallace said. "Without our treaty-mandated right to sell tax-free tobacco, these businesses -- these people -- will suffer. That is why we are here today -- to defend our rights and to defend our economic independence."
Members of Tuscarora, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Mohawk, Pequot, Narragansett and other Nations, along with friends, neighbors and business colleagues of the Tribes, rallied against the politicians and wealthy special interest groups that have passed legislation and filed lawsuits that threaten to terminate centuries-old treaties protecting the right of New York Tribes to sell tax-free tobacco and other goods on their own territories. With over 5,000 supporters thus far, the Alliance is demanding that new legislation be enacted to rescind this unjust act. The Alliance is also urging New York citizens to call upon the convenience stores and big
chain supermarkets, asking them to drop their lawsuits against these small Indian smoke shops.
Following the rally, supporters toured a Shinnecock-owned small business, "Raindrop's Quick Stop" on Montauk Highway.
"The politicians in Albany need to visit native businesses like these so they can see that executing this legislation will cripple the economy of New York Tribes," said Rebecca Genia, of the Shinnecock Nation. "Taking away the rights laid out in these long-standing treaties would take away many people's livelihood."
Income from Indian smoke shops helps Tribes pay their own way, using some of the profits to fix schools, churches, playgrounds and housing on reservations. They also employ hundreds of tribal members with full healthcare and retirement benefits and generate economic activity for local, non-Indian businesses that supply their stores.
New Yorkers can join the Alliance by going to http://www.supportnativebusiness.com, where they can sign a petition, write directly to state officials, and get additional information.
The Native American Business Alliance of Long Island represents the Nations and the Indian-owned stores of the Unkechaug and Shinnecock Nations. We have formed this coalition because without help from our friends, neighbors and business colleagues, these stores will be shut down -- ending a vital source of economic activity.
ACTION ALERT # 5
$2 FEDERAL CIGARETTE TAX HIKE SOUGHT
Though the article below [$2 Federal Cigarette Tax Hike Sought] includes the ray of sunshine that President Bush supports tax cuts, not tax hikes, it is still a good idea to let our leaders know that enough is enough.
State taxes on cigarettes are intended to be used to cover health care costs related to smoking and prevention. They're not. The settlement between the tobacco industry and the 46 states, at $246 billion, was intended to cover the same. It's not. So they want to raise the federal tax by $2 to cover what was already supposed to be covered?
Most abhorrent is the sanctimonious belief that they hold some right to force adults to stop using a legal product via financial persecution. If special interest groups and all around busybodies can get away with using this method to control one particular behavior deemed a "health risk" what is to stop the next group from trying to control other "risky" behavior using the same methods?
This article reports: "Anti-tobacco activists said the report is a powerful tool for pressuring the Bush administration and Congress."
Time to add our own
pressure against such social engineering. Write your U.S. Senators,
House Representatives and President Bush. Go to Congress.org
for all the contact information you'll need at your fingertips.
SIGN OUR PETITIONS
$2 Federal Cigarette Tax
Increase Could Cut Use And Save Lives, Health Commission Tells Bush
By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 13, 2003; Page A29
A federal health commission
on smoking is recommending that the Bush administration raise the federal
tax on cigarettes from
39 cents to $2.39 a pack, arguing that the huge increase could prevent 3 million premature deaths and help 5 million Americans
quit smoking within a year.
At least half of the $28
billion expected to be generated by the tax increase would be invested
in anti-tobacco efforts such as a
national quit line, a major advertising campaign and insurance coverage for federal workers seeking treatment.
The proposals, which the
28-member panel endorsed unanimously Tuesday evening, reflect a dramatic
shift in political winds
as the tobacco industry's clout wanes and tobacco-related illnesses climb, several health experts said.
"Two years ago I would have
said this is not feasible, but look at what happened in the last year --
20 states increased their
excise taxes on tobacco products," said Linda Bailey, director of the Center for Tobacco Cessation, a group funded jointly by
the American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Reflecting back on the state experiences of the past
year, it's not as unfeasible as many might think."
White House spokesman Scott McLellan said that, in general, President Bush "believes in cutting taxes, not increasing taxes."
The average price of a pack
of cigarettes in the United States today, including federal and state taxes,
is $3.85. Smokers in
New York City pay the most -- about $7.50 per pack -- while North Carolinians pay about $3.15. Congress last approved a
tobacco tax increase in 1999, when it raised the federal rate 14 cents over a two-year period.
"There is a lot of science
on the impact of cigarette prices on consumption," said Ron Davis, a trustee
of the American Medical
Association and a member of the panel that wrote the report. "A 10 percent increase in price will lead to a 4 percent decrease
Industry representatives said raising taxes would not necessarily reduce smoking or improve Americans' health.
"The government pockets over
$80 million a day from smokers," said David Howard, a spokesman for R.J.
Co. "The government certainly has all the money it needs if it is interested in addressing smoker issues."
Philip Morris USA spokeswoman
Jamie Drogin said state and federal tobacco taxes and payments negotiated
in the 1998
national tobacco settlement will generate more than $20 billion in government revenue this year. In many instances, she said, the
money is being spent on projects unrelated to tobacco and health.
"Balancing a [state] budget based on a declining source of revenue is unsound fiscal policy," she said.
In its 40-page report, the
Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health documents the toll of tobacco-related
society. Of the 50 million smokers today, researchers project between 15 million and 25 million will die prematurely; about
100,000 people die of lung cancer each year.
"The excess health care costs
of tobacco use are estimated at $75 billion per year" and indirect costs
such as lost productivity
and fires push the figure to $150 billion annually, according to the report.
"There is nothing in our
society putting as many Americans at risk," said Michael Fiore, chairman
of the subcommittee that
wrote the recommendations. "We are certain this set of proposals will profoundly reduce tobacco use in America."
Developed at the request
of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, the 10-point
research activities, training for health professionals to help patients stop using tobacco and partnerships with such community
groups as churches and schools.
"The recommendations are
bold, evidence-based and life-saving," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.),
a Democratic leader
on health care issues. "Now it will be up to Secretary Thompson. This will be a test of his commitment to helping Americans
addicted to tobacco products."
Surgeon General Richard Carmona,
the chairman of the commission that approved the recommendations, said
"overwhelmed with how bold the report was." But he said he is withholding judgment on the recommendations.
"In principle, I recognize the amount of work that went into this," he said. "I haven't studied all the ramifications."
Davis, the former chief of
the tobacco division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
said the U.S. tax on
cigarettes as a percentage of retail price is far less than it is in other industrialized nations.
"Clearly, raising taxes on
tobacco is a good thing from a health standpoint," he said, pointing to
high disease rates in America.
"The fact that we undertax cigarettes means we have more smoking and more death and disease associated with smoking."
Waxman and others voiced
skepticism that Republicans would pursue the proposed tax increase because
of GOP links to the
For years, the tobacco industry
has been a reliable source of campaign contributions for the Republican
Party. In the recent
congressional elections, the industry gave $8.2 million, and 79 percent of those contributions went to Republicans, according to
records analyzed by the Center
for Responsive Politics. In the 2000 campaign, Bush received $92,000 from
and the Republican Party received $7 million, much of it in the form of now-illegal soft money.
Anti-tobacco activists said the report is a powerful tool for pressuring the Bush administration and Congress.
"We applaud Secretary Thompson's
interest in and request for this report," said William Corr, executive
vice president of the
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "The facts are this administration has provided no legislative plan for addressing the number
one cause of preventable death in the United States."
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