People living in the UK have been relatively lucky in terms of the country’s stance on vaping. While vapers in other countries have seen blanket bans placed on the smoking cessation tool, the UK has been largely supportive of vaping as a safer alternative to help people quit smoking.
However, things might be about to change. There are suggestions the government is considering imposing a tax on vaping products. While there is no firm confirmation this is true, ‘sources’ have stated the government is considering bringing in such a tax in the autumn Budget. It is thought such a tax could boost the Budget by £40 million. If true, the cash could be used to help fund the extra investment that has been promised for the NHS.
A new 5% tax could be levied on vaping product
The suggested duty that could be imposed on electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, and other related products has been mooted to be 5%. It sounds small. According to several sources, vapers spend around £275 every year stocking up on their preferred e-liquids. A 5% tax on this amount would require vapers to spend an extra £13.75 per year.
The millions that would be raised from this proposed tax may – somewhat ironically – go towards funding treatments for people who have become ill through smoking.
Is this approach the right one to take?
The additional £13.75 per year gleaned from such sales (amounting to just over 3.5p per day) is not the greatest concern. The problem many have is that vapers would be the ones paying for those who have become ill through smoking regular cigarettes. These are people who have very likely quit smoking or are trying to do so through using e-cigs.
An open letter has been sent to the government, calling this proposed tax a ‘sin tax’. The letter also states that ‘switching from smoking to vaping is not ‘sinning’, it is the exact opposite.’
Electronic cigarettes have helped thousands of people quit smoking when they have been otherwise unable to do so. It seems harsh, then, that the government should consider taxing people who have made a positive change to their lives. It remains to be seen whether the suggested tax does come into force, but it would be disappointing if it did go ahead.
What are your thoughts on the idea of a vaping tax? Would you be disappointed to see it brought in?