Reclassifying and Taxing Vaping

Posted 30th May 2018 by Mawsley
INNCO, the collective voice for nicotine-consumer organisations, has taken the step of warning about a European consultation exercise on tax reform. It advises that the news should be considered in conjunction with moves by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to reclassify electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) has advised the public that moves are afoot to examine the possibility of placing an excise tax on “novel tobacco products”

An INNCO social media account complains that multiple-choice questions about the level of taxation for vaping products are unjustifiable. It states that the survey is devoid of any reference to “proportional impact” and fails to incorporate considerations for the possible effects on harm reduction. “Science and public health ethics now DEAD,” it writes.

The organisation believes that an online multiple-choice survey is not the correct vehicle to inform the European Union on sensitive matters and tax reform. “The outcome of … will impact upon the lives and health of millions,” it continues, plus the viability of 1,000’s of SME’s (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises).”

INNCO states that this process trivialises tobacco-harm reduction to: “Are you an uninformed dolt who swallows media hype - we value your opinion”, that is “frankly obscene”.

Chris Snowdon has written about the possible reclassification of vaping products on his Velvet Glove blog. IN it, he writes: “on 16th May the World Customs Organisation published a document in which it discusses shifting e-cigarettes and vape fluid out of the chemicals category (Chapter 38) and into the tobacco category (Chapter 24). The document isn't freely available online yet”.

UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) responded to the possibility of vape products being taxed in the future: “We've been engaging with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on this point and its future ramifications for the vaping industry - they don't seem too interested at the moment.”

UKVIA posted an excerpt from a letter they have received from HMRC, which we have reproduced below: