Rome

Electronic cigarette makers and sellers on hunger strike

Rome protest to proposed 58.5% tax in work decree

Electronic cigarette makers and sellers on hunger strike

Rome, July 23 - Six people who produce or retail electronic cigarettes continued a hunger strike on Tuesday in front of the Italian parliament building. The demonstrators are protesting a 58.5% tax that is part of a law decree on work and value added tax (VAT) reforms, a bill that has passed the cabinet and is now sitting in parliament. ''We are asking for a meeting with government institutions to save our right to work,'' explained one of the demonstrators, Massimiliano Federici. ''There are 5,000 stores that have opened at the cost of great sacrifice and it is absurd that now they ask us to turn back,'' Federici lamented. ''The protest will continue until we hear from (government institutions),'' Federici said, who added that the tax measure would be self-defeating. ''The decree will not bring in the revenue expected for the state, because many companies will move abroad and consumers will begin to buy products online at a lower cost,'' he explained. The National Association of Electronic Smoking (Anafe) said the hunger strike was adopted by members on the basis of personal decision as efforts to make institutional negotiations continue.

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