Charities Hit Back At Vape Tax Plan
CANCER charities along with the UK vaping industry have hit back at a government plan to tax e-cigarettes.
They say imposing a “sin tax” on vaping would be counterintuitive to its mission to cut the number of smokers and lessen the burden on the National Health Service.
They also claim it would have huge repercussions for the public's health.
A government insider last week was reported as saying e-cigarettes are to be taxed in this Fall’s budget in a bid to raise an extra £40million for the country’s ailing NHS.
The punitive measure is set to hit the UK’s 2.9million vapers, half of which claim they took up the recreational activity to help quit their deadly habit.
The news comes despite the NHS itself encouraging e-cigarettes as a way of giving up smoking with vaping allowed in many of its hospitals.
One Whitehall insider told Britain’s The Sun newspaper: “Vapers are likely to be hit as they are not taxed at all.”
Now a number of charities and pro-vaping organizations have hit back.
Cancer Research UK said in a statement: “Taxing e-cigarettes creates a barrier to smokers assessing them, especially poorer smokers, for whom smoking prevalence is much higher than the rest of the EU population. This would make it harder for them to assess e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
“The goal of tobacco taxation is to reduce the prevalence of smoking and the wide range of serious diseases caused by combustible tobacco – since evidence indicates e-cigarettes are contributing to a reduction in smoking prevalence, they should not in our view be subject to addition taxation.”
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) meanwhile has written to the Treasury in response to the reports.
A spokesperson for the UKVIA explained: “Imposing a ‘sin tax’ on vaping is counterintuitive to the government’s mission to reduce smokers in the UK and lessen the burden for the NHS.
“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.”
The European Commission, meanwhile, is currently holding a public consultation into the taxation of tobacco and vaping products which ends in September.
According to the IEA, Britain’s nine million smokers pay £9.5billion a year in duty on tobacco products — and by dying younger they save the state £9.8billion in pension, healthcare and other benefit payments.
According to the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, the tax, both excise duty and VAT, raised through the sale of tobacco products continues to be a major source of revenue for the Government, contributing around £12billion annually.
On a typical pack of 20 cigarettes the total tax burden of £6.28 accounts for 82 percent of the recommended retail price (RRP) of £8.50.
And on some of the least expensive brands the total tax burden accounts for up to 90 percent of the RRP.
The Institute of Economic Affairs added: “It beggars belief that the government is considering a tax on e-cigarettes as a means of increasing funding to the NHS. Anyone truly interested in harm reduction or public health should encourage - not penalise – vaping.”
The Treasury has yet to comment on the reports.