Yesterday, The Financial Times published an article claiming they have seen documents from inside The European Commission showing that they are considering a legislative measure to place the same taxation laws that exist on traditional cigarettes on electronic cigarettes.
Should this decision be furthered it would be a huge blow to the burgeoning electronic cigarette industry, and could lead to many converts switching back to tobacco cigarettes as e-cigarettes may significantly increase in cost.
Currently, electronic cigarettes are only subject to value added tax at around 20 per cent in most EU countries against the 57% tobacco cigarettes are taxed at. This large disparity alongside the multitude of other benefits of switching to electronic cigarette's had led to a dramatic increase in the popularity of e-cigarettes over the past few years, with some sources predicting that use will overtake traditional cigarettes within the next 10 years.
Although e-cigarettes have many advantages over tobacco, the financial cost of smoking is often the initial spark that leads to a tobacco smoker switching to electronic cigarettes. Nielsen have recently presented research confirming that “over a third of e-cigarette users surveyed said that the lower cost was one of the main benefits of the products.”
However, it is worth noting, as Tom Pruen, chief scientific officer of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association argues, that there is no good reason for a “sin tax” on e-cigarettes as there is no clear demonstrable harm from the products.
UKIP have become the first political party to speak out over these potential tax changes, with deputy leader Paul Nuttall, who recently converted to electronic cigarettes, strong in his response:
“I am a great fan of e-cigs and UKIP has been very supportive of the practice because it is healthier and a source of jobs for innovative British companies.
The British government must stand up against these measures and UKIP undertakes to oppose any legislation from the EU to put tax on electronic cigarettes.
“I have never seen a private pleasure that the EU does not want to tax. Of course this move will hike up the cost of vaping e-cigarettes, and thus push more people back to ordinary and less healthy cigarettes.”
Let us know what you think about this proposal, would it lead you to turn back to tobacco or are you happier with electronic cigarettes for their many other benefits aside from the saving in your pocket.