Government ministers floated an idea to add a 5% levy onto vaping products and eliquid in a bid to raise a meagre £44 million.
Vape Club’s Dan Marchant (https://www.vapeclub.co.uk/) was just one to vocalise his opposition and disbelief: “Vaping is a huge public health opportunity which has already helped three million smokers quit or reduce smoking and saved the NHS billions of pounds according to the Government’s own research. For the Treasury to impose yet another tax on vaping, not only wouldn’t make sense, but it would be detrimental to the NHS and public health in the UK.”
His feeling was mirrored across the vaping and harm reduction community. Surprisingly, it also gained traction in the national media and influenced ministers.
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, said: “Vaping is one of the best ways of people giving up smoking. The government must do more to research it and possibly give them out free on the NHS. It could save money on cancer treatment etc., so obviously I don’t think taxing is a good idea.”
The Science and Technology Committee report detailed how Dr Lion Shahab from University College London “believed that taxation could play an important part in encouraging smokers to switch from conventional smoking to less harmful alternatives including e-cigarettes.”
The report also stated “the level of taxation on smoking-related products should directly correspond to the health risks that they present,” and “the government should conduct a review of regulations on e-cigarettes currently applied under EU legislation, to identify scope for change post-Brexit.”
Today, the New Nicotine Alliance tweeted: “HM Treasury confirmed that they have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products and recognised the role that vaping products play in reducing the smoking rate in the UK."
This is in response to Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, writing to industry figures including the UK Vape Industry Association (UKVIA) guaranteeing: “we have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products.”
In addition, Jenrick stated that devices approved by the NHS could attract a lower than standard rate of VAT. He added: “I recognise the contribution the vaping industry makes to the economy in terms of jobs and revenue to the Exchequer and welcome the fact the UK has a world leading vaping industry."