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The EU Commission’s vape tax proposals

The EU Commission an unelected body of law makers in Brussells have been tasked with establishing whether a taxation regime should apply to vaping and to what extent in order to equalise vaping with tobacco regimes, so said officials last week.

Currently over 57% of the purchase price of tobacco in the UK consists of tobacco duty. This along with the 20% VAT serves to make cigarettes very expensive and ultimately encourages people to quit the habit. Its the price difference that helps pull people from smoking to vaping and then ultimately quitting for good. This level of taxation is based on the impact to health and the need to discourage smoking. No one is in any doubt that there is a need for this.

The TPD regulations legislated by the EU which come into force this May 2016, puts vaping under the same legal regime as smoking tobacco. This was initially discussed as a way to protect children from becoming smokers through vaping, through stricter retailing controls and quality checks. Certainly the industry welcomes sensible regulation developed by those who understand the marketplace, but the theory that vaping leads to smoking particularly in children has no foundations in fact or logic – after all, by that notion, there should have been no smokers before vaping. It has often been discussed by the industry that there was a far darker motive behind classing electronic cigarettes as tobacco products; this being the ability to tax them. This was denied as being the basis for the inclusion of vaping into TPD but the market eyed this with suspicion.

Fast forward to March 2016 and now it has been reported that foreign national ambassadors those who appoint their own representative commissioners have requested that the EU commission look into applying taxation on vaping citing:

“long-term budgetary implications for member states – due to the reduced rates of smoking.”

What this shows now is that TPD was a way of protecting blood money tobacco revenues to EU treasuries and further ring-fencing pharmaceutical company’s investments in smoking cessation products which will not be affected by new taxation.

When you consider a recent statement from the UK news journal ‘The Week’ – it underlines the current legislation machine in the EU being so open to nepotism, back-handers and corruption:

“A previous legal change that comes into force in May was branded “the most lobbied dossier in the history of the EU”, with pharmaceutical companies that produce other anti-smoking aids on one side and the tobacco giants on the other.”

(The Week, March 2 2016; accessed online:

The EU commission is the only body in European Parliament that can draw up legislation. This group of individuals are appointed by ambassadors to the EU; ambassadors who’s other role is to support trade partners and promote industry. Given the wealth available to large multi-national corporations, it is disheartening to see how easy it would be to apply pressure or influence the law makers in the EU. Not being elected, means the system is entirely unaccountable to the masses. 

Tobacco companies make the lion share of their earnings from developing markets and tobacco as opposed to electronic cigarettes, therefore an attempt to tax vaping would only serve to strengthen their primary source of income. A tax on vaping helps pharmaceutical companies in that it undermines the attraction of quitting smoking through ecigs. The losers here are the consumers, as money is levied on their attempt to quit smoking through the use of vaping; a technology, Professor Nutt of Public Health England cites as having the potential to save millions of lives.

At this stage we don’t know the outcome of the taxation study on vaping or the amount in percentage terms that is likely to be charged as well as on which products. Understandable worry exists that it may be on parity with cigarettes.

Whether the impending EU In/Out referendum will have any bearing on this remains to be seen – but it is likely that resistance to the EU is firming from large parts of the vaping world.

If you want to take advantage of this closing window on vaping at affordable prices and without bureaucracy, come and visit our Vape and Juice shops in Clacton, Colchester, Basildon, Southend, Southchurch, Essex; and Enfield, Winchmore Hill, Highgate, Archway, North London. You can also find us in Canterbury town centre, Kent.

Quitting smoking with ecigs is our central mission, looking for an ecig or vape shop in Essex, Kent or London – then come and see the team at Vape and Juice for the chance to try out our products and eliquids for free and find out if its for you.

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