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Taxing Times for UK Vapers?

The UK Government is considering thrusting a new tax onto vape products, according to sources inside the House of Commons

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Despite the current cost of living crisis and the need to encourage smokers to switch to vaping, the UK Government is considering thrusting a new tax onto vape products, according to sources inside the House of Commons. The World Vapers’ Alliance believes that such a move risks pushing vapers back to smoking.

The 10-Minute Bill presented to Parliament recently looks to completely ban the sale of disposable vape products (see POTV article). This move is reported to not reflect the current Government’s position and it will not be adopting it as policy, but this doesn’t mean it couldn’t be successful given the support of two ex-Health Secretaries.

The Government is giving serious consideration to a vape tax, along with moves to increase regulation on the packaging of e-cig products, what constitutes permissible marketing, and the potential to prohibit certain flavours.

The World Vapers’ Alliance says: “The UK has been recognised as a smoking-cessation champion – smoking rates have fallen by more than 29% in the last decade since vaping became widely popular. Compared to the EU, smoking rates in the UK have fallen twice as fast. Just this month, the UK was crowned as one of the tobacco harm reduction champions.”

Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, continued: “The United Kingdom proves that lower smoking rates can be achieved with an open approach toward alternative nicotine products such as vaping. The high adoption of vaping due to broad political backing is why smoking rates decrease faster than in other countries. Vaping is not the problem. Knee-jerk reactions endanger all anti-smoking progress seen over the last years.”

The World Vapers’ Alliance believes that one of the stated reasons for the move to legislate against vaping is the uptick in UK teen use. The organisation points out that increased prices and a potential flavour ban are missing the target.

Landl continued: “It is important to do everything we can to keep nicotine products out of adolescents’ hands, but policies must go further to the root of the problem. Simple bans and tax increases will only create an illicit market without any age or quality checks.

“If politicians really want to protect young people, they should fight for better education, health care and economic conditions. Unfortunately, those goals are hard to achieve, and therefore, too many politicians revert to headline-grabbing but ineffective policies ignoring the actual outcome. If the UK gets this wrong, millions of consumers could be pushed back to smoking or the illicit market.”

Such a move, if only applied to disposable vape products, might see some levels of support in the vaping community and retailers who have been increasingly critical of the products, but a blanket rise in cost and restrictions to juice flavours would be nothing short of a retrograde step and lead to the unforeseen consequence of reducing adult demand.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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