UK to Tax on E-cigs, Local Gov'ts Pleading to Lower Rate

The proposal also includes further requirements on packaging, marketing, and flavors, but it is unlikely to fully ban disposable e-cigarettes.

While the UK government recognizes e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking, it is considering imposing new taxes on disposable e-cigarette products to address their popularity among underage users, reports Politico.


The proposal also includes further requirements on packaging, marketing, and flavors, but it is unlikely to fully ban disposable e-cigarettes.


In 2022, a report evaluating whether England could become a smoke-free region by 2030 sparked widespread attention in the UK. Some specific regulations in this proposal are aimed at addressing the issues identified in the report.


The UK has adopted several comprehensive methods to prevent underage vaping. A spokesperson for the UK Department of Health and Social Care said, "The law restricts sales to those under 18, limits nicotine content, cartridge size, labeling requirements, and advertising restrictions to protect children from the impact of e-cigarettes. Advertisements for e-cigarettes and their components are prohibited from featuring any element that may appeal to those under 18, such as popular characters or celebrities."


Just last week, England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty told a parliamentary committee that e-cigarette marketing targeting children "has unknown consequences for intellectual development" and called the targeting "shocking." He warned that the proportion of children using e-cigarettes had doubled in recent years. 


This has increased public attention on this issue to some extent, prompting the UK government to provide solutions in the short term.


On the other hand, there are also calls within the UK to lower the value-added tax on e-cigarette products. In 2022, the Local Government Association (LGA) urged the UK government to reduce the VAT on e-cigarettes from 20% (the UK includes e-cigarettes in traditional tobacco management) to 5%, bringing it in line with the tax rate for conventional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as gum and patches.


The LGA, representing the councils of England and Wales, said that the current 5% tax rate allowed by law applies only to "medicinal products intended to help people quit smoking." The association added that, given the existing scientific evidence, e-cigarettes can indeed help people quit smoking, so they should also be subject to the 5% tax rate.


It is reported that the UK government has announced its goal of making England a "smoke-free region" by 2030. Scotland aims to achieve this goal by 2034, while the dates for Northern Ireland and Wales have yet to be determined.



[1] The UK Considers a New Tax on Vaping Products

[2] The Khan review: making smoking obsolete

[3] UK mulls new tax on vaping

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