UK vapers could be hit with excise tax in this autumn’s budget, according to a story by Lynn Davidson for The Sun.
Davidson quoted Whitehall sources as saying that so-called ‘sin taxes’ would be increased in this autumn’s Budget.
And one was said to have told the Sun that vapers were likely to be hit because they were not taxed at all [outside of VAT].
Pro-vaping activists have rallied round to point out that vaping is not a sin, though this is unlikely to cut much ice because the Chancellor won’t dress it up that way and, anyway, nor is driving a car but fuel is the subject of excise.
What might deter the Chancellor is the fact that the Government is aware that vaping has saved the National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds and could save it more. As part of making its decision, his team will no doubt calculate whether the reduction in NHS savings caused by smokers being put off switching to vaping by the tax-induced increase in electronic-cigarette prices would be more than offset by the additional tax revenue. The former, of course, is merely a calculation, while the latter is cash in hand.
Still, the NHS savings figures seem impressive. The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) pointed out that, according to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) figures, of the nearly three million UK vapers, more than half had given up smoking, and 97 percent were either smokers or ex-smokers.
It said that the value of health gains associated with a single successful quit attempt was £74,000 according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and therefore, the ASH figures suggested that vaping had already saved the UK in the region of £111 billion.
And it could save more, though it had to be borne in mind that the principal reason for people switching to vaping from smoking was that vaping was substantially cheaper.