TAXING vapers makes “no sense” experts said yesterday – after it emerged Treasury beancounters were drawing up plans to slap a tax on e-cigs to pay for the NHS’s £20billion birthday bounty.
Whitehall sources are looking at so called “sin taxes” to raise cash for the health service’s spending bonanza.
Alamy The Treasury is planning on drawing up plans to tax e-cigs
And e-cigarettes are not currently taxed – because of their benefits in helping people quit fags.
But Chris Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tanks compared it to “taxing bicycles to pay for the costs of obesity”.
Users typically go through one 10ml bottle a week costing around £5 which amounts to an annual bill of £275.
Slapping a tax of around 5 per cent to this would cost vapers an extra £13.75 a year.
Alamy E-cigs are not taxed because they help people to quit smoking cigarettes
There are estimated to be 2.9million vapers in Britain so a five per cent hike would bring almost £40million more into Treasury coffers.
But Dan Marchant, a board member of the UK Vaping Industry Association hit out at the plan branding it “hypocritical”.
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He said vaping has been proven to be at least as effective for smokers looking to quit as nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum or inhalers – all funded by the NHS and which all receive a tax break unlike vaping products which are subject to VAT at the full rate.
He added: “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”.