Claims have circulated through British tabloids that the treasury is considering a tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. According to the Sun, vapers will be hit with what has been described as a “sin tax” to help raise funds for a hole in the NHS budget.
The idea has been blasted by some who consider taxing vape products as detrimental to the findings of certain health bodies that view vaping as a safer alternative for smokers. According to New Nicotine Alliance Chair Sarah Jakes;
E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts 1.5 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. Applying a so-called ‘sin tax’ is completely inappropriate for products which have a successful track record of diverting smokers away from combustible tobacco. Switching from smoking to vaping is not ‘sinning’, it is the exact opposite.
While the news has set alarm bells ringing for some, there has been no confirmation from the Government as of yet. It should also be worth noting that historically, debates in the House of Lords concerning e-cigarettes have leaned towards no taxes.
Lord Prior of Brampton stated in 2016;
My Lords, the benefits of e-cigarettes are well understood. The figure of 1 million people who have given up smoking by taking up e-cigarettes is a valid and true one. The tobacco regulation that the noble Viscount refers to does not have any proposals for an excise tax—it purely relates to ensuring that these products are used safely and are of a given quality.
This was backed up later the same year by Lord Ashton of Hyde;
As far as the Treasury is concerned, it does not impose duty on e-cigarettes because tobacco is not involved and it has no plans to do so.
While this is promising for the future of the UK, the EU is currently holding a public consultation on excise duties for tobacco and what they describe as “novel products”. This may well lead to increases in duty for those living under EU regulations. The deadline for submission is the 3rd of September and understandably vapers within the continent are equally upset over the possibility of a tax on e-liquids. A petition to stop any possible vaping taxes has been started by the Collective of EU Vapers Associations and has almost hit 35,000 signatures.