Vaping News

Sacrificing Health For 2p Cut

Tory Government alienates vaping voters with its mission to cut tax by an unaffordable 2p to attract voters by placing a tax on vape products in the forthcoming budget

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The government was saying ‘No’ to vape bans and stating that a vape tax wasn’t in the interest of the public’s health last February. As we approach the Chancellor’s next and probably final Budget, Jeremy Hunt is “considering a new vaping tax”. The action has been slated by harm reduction experts, academic researchers and economists. The Budget takes place this Wednesday, March 6th.

A year ago, the UK saw a 10-Minute Bill presented to Parliament looking to completely ban the sale of disposable vape products. Also, as confirmed to POTV News by three parliamentary sources, the Chancellor and his minions were working out the political and health ramifications of placing a tax on vape products.

Before the end of February, the Government stated that it would not implement a ban on disposables because it “did not reflect the Government’s position”.

Likewise, despite a major vape body deriding our original article, it was announced “No vaping crackdown in spring statement as Jeremy Hunt rules out e-cigarettes levy” – “Department of Health officials are keen, but it’s not going to happen”. Proof positive that POTV had been on the money with its scoop.

It was a testimony to the last thing the government was managing to do effectively, both in the Department of Health and the Treasury: evidence-based tobacco harm reduction policy making.

And yet here we are, twelve months on.

Disposable vapes have been thrown under the bus; rather than work with manufacturers to improve levels of sustainability, Rishi Sunak apparently sees votes in knee-jerk, evidence-free prohibition. Eliquid flavours are set to join disposables under the wheels of a hysterical bandwagon. Although the finer points are yet to be revealed, Tory Department of Health puritans are keen to see almost all popular flavours and juice brand names banned.

And what of the tax? Last February, Jeremy Hunt realised that increasing the cost of vaping would be bad for public health. Yet, this December and January, Planet of the Vapes warned that a sin tax was in the offing.

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,” we wrote.

Vaping has fallen under the spotlight as Jeremy Hunt seeks out possible revue streams to fund a rumoured 2p cut in tax, a policy decision described by the Institute for Fiscal Studies as “dubious” and lacking in credibility.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Conservative government’s “vaping products levy”.

Although Hunt is still to announce the tax hike percentage, he plans on raising tobacco products by a similar amount to ensure a differential is maintained between them and vapes. The final decision will be made on Friday March 1, when the Office for Budget Responsibility releases its updated economic forecast.

The Treasury claims a combined rise in vaping and tobacco products will raise £500million for the government. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says he needs to find another £34.5billion in order to fund his tax cut plans.

Harm reduction expert Clive Bates asked: “One question is whether tobacco control activists will write in to object to a pro-smoking, anti-health, regressive, and evidence-negative tax. Or will they take the apparently obligatory route of applauding whatever the UK government does, no matter how damaging and foolish?”

The IEA’s Christopher Snowdon told his followers that “Jeremy Hunt is planning the stupidest tax grab imaginable” and listed off a sample of evidence showing how a vape tax increases smoking, prevents quitting, and undercuts public health gains.

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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