Rome, July 24 - The Italian Senate on Wednesday scrapped a measure which prevented the layoff of prison guards thanks to an estimated 35 million euros raised from a proposed tax on electronic cigarettes. The measure on prison layoffs was part of a bill aimed at promoting alternative detention measures to cut down the number of inmates in Italy's overcrowded prisons. The proposed tax on e-cigarettes has led to a wave of protests by producers and retailers. Six people who produce or retail e-cigarettes continued a hunger strike on Tuesday and staged a sit-in in front of the Lower House against the controversial taxation on e-cigarettes. The 58.5% tax is part of a law decree on work and value added tax (VAT) reforms, a bill that has passed the cabinet and is now going through parliament. Earlier this month proponents of e-cigarettes rallied in Rome saying as many as 5,000 people currently employed in the industry risked losing their jobs if the proposed tax makes business unprofitable.