Despite the Under-secretary of State for Health claiming last week that the UK has no plans to increase tax on e cigarette products, it seems the EU (as always) have other plans.
EU diplomats unanimously agreed a call for the European commission to prepare a legislative proposal by 2017. A drafted document seen by the Guardian stated EU finance ministers will sign off at a meeting next Tuesday. Of course the EU need to do an exhaustive round of meetings, studies and consultations before they can do anything, but it looks as though they now have their sights firmly on raising tax on e cigarettes.
One official wants to see a minimum threshold of tax, which can then be raised even further by member states.
“There is an argument that it would be quite good to do something like minimum levels of excise duty for e-cigarettes. Member states could then decide whether to raise them higher or not. At present they don’t fall under excise duties like cigarettes, so maybe we would set a minimum threshold.”
We all know that tobacco cigarettes are taxed ridiculously high, with 77% of the price of a packet going towards tax. Whether they’re taxed this high with the aim of putting people off smoking has never been confirmed, but if they are then it clearly hasn’t worked. And like cigarettes, we expect further taxation on e cigarettes won’t deter people from vaping either. It’ll just pick their pockets a bit harsher than it currently does.
Either way the new announcement is sure to ruffle feathers in a vaping community that already feels under attack with the new TPD which comes into effect in May.
It’s baffling how the EU and the UK can be so far apart when it comes to electronic cigarettes. The UK are leading the world when it comes to promoting e cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, with e cigs even offered for free on the NHS. And yet the EU seem intent on demonizing and tying up vaping in endless reams of red tape. It all adds fuel to the fire of why the UK should leave the EU and stand alone as an independent country. All will be revealed by the time this tax increase comes into effect, and we’ll either be standing on the side-lines laughing at those poor Europeans and their expensive e cigs, or vapers will be rueing the day we voted to stay in the EU.
If we do leave the EU then we may just see a huge increase in tourists from the EU coming to the UK to stock up on their vaping products. Which is ironic considering people from the UK have been going to the continent for years to buy cheap cigarettes.
It looks as though 2016 is going to be a momentous year for vapers and it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out. We’d love to hear if you have any views on the EU and vaping, and whether it’ll sway you one way of another to stay or leave the EU,