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Vaping Under Threat

The government looks set to launch an all-out attack on vaping in an effort to reduce teen vaping as it gears up for a general election later this year

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The government looks set to launch an all-out attack on vaping in an effort to reduce teen vaping as it gears up for a general election later this year. Conservative Party right-wingers are set to oppose measures such as the generational ban on cigarette sales, but a new tax on vape products look troublingly real. In addition, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs plans to crack down on the collection and treatment of disposables.

The government announced its intention to focus on smoking and vaping in the King’s Speech at the opening of Parliament.

In summary, the Bill proposes to:

  • create the first smokefree generation so children born on or after 1 January 2009 (turning 14 this year or younger) will never be able to be legally sold cigarettes.
  • further crack down on youth vaping. The Government is looking at new regulations to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children – while ensuring that vapes remain available for adult smokers to quit.
  • strengthen enforcement activity with new powers to fine, on the spot, rogue retailers who sell tobacco products or vapes to people underage. [The Government] will simultaneously crackdown on illegal online sales by enhancing online age verification to stop the sale of tobacco products and vapes to underage people online.

Right-wing MPs including Liz Truss and Boris Johnson have stated that they will oppose any measure to raise the legal age of buying tobacco. The government wants to ensure that 14-year-olds will never be able to purchase tobacco.

Liz Truss said her party needs to “stop banning things”.

Boris Johnson is quoted as saying: "Let's stop telling people what to do".

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has unveiled proposals to drive the greater recycling of waste vape products. It estimates the cost of treating dumped single-use devices at £200 million. It aims the force disposable ecig manufacturers and suppliers to pay for the cost of collection and processing – a cost that will surely be added to the retail price.

While vapers may understand the need for that price rise, the return of the tax threat will be far less welcome.

Parliamentary sources have confirmed that the March budget is likely to see a levy imposed on e-liquid that will result in a price rise in the order of 25%. Rather than building on their success with evidence-based tobacco harm reduction policy, Jeremy Hunt intends to copy Italy and Germany’s tax and be damned position despite a current historically high tax burden.

Vape advocate Martin Cullip told Filter Magazine: “Applying taxation on vapes will undoubtedly accelerate misconceptions amongst the public, who will assume it is because they are proven to be harmful to health. The result can only be a decline in informed decision-making amongst not only adults who vape or smoke, but youth as well.”

Expert Clive Bates also told the magazine: “On top of the negative health effects, a vape tax will have the effect of protecting the cigarette trade while piling tax bureaucracy burdens onto legitimate small businesses.

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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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