Not for the first time, EU bureaucrats told NO to ecig tax.
The European Commission has published the responses to the public consultation questioning the possibility of an excise duty being applied to electronic cigarettes and refill containers and have ultimately been left licking their wounds once again. Will it make a difference this time or is an ecig tax inevitable?
An overwhelming 90% of the 7,686 surveyed categorically stated No to the question posed. Previous studies surrounding the implementation of the TRPR overlooked the huge role they have played in taking many thousands of people away from smoking and with it has come a whole raft of red tape discussed in back-room negotiations without discussing them with e-cig users or other MEP’s and this has the potential to only worsen the situation.
Adding an excise duty to an industry what’s devices could prove to be one of Public Health’s greatest assets in its fight against Cancer would be like putting a noose around the industries neck and all those who will suffer as a consequence. Excise duty or punitive tax was introduced to discourage a behaviour, why on earth would the EU want to discourage a behaviour that can account for helping tens of thousands of people within the UK alone quit smoking, in turn helping the NHS save over £96 billion.
The release of such statistics coincides with the with the latest Spring Budget delivered by The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, however this year saw the topic of conversation cover E-cigarettes for the first time! Mr Hammond was urged to include vaping in budgeting for public health, and exclude vaping products from any tax increments. Ironic don’t you think considering the EU published its responses just 2 days before. Poses the question as to whether those back-room negotiations have already taken place and that an excise duty on e-cigarettes is more a matter of when as opposed to if?
With this all said it cements how vulnerable a society we are when the powers to be can determine the future of those using the devices as a tool to quit and those investing their time and resources into silencing the sceptics. This all comes less than 12 months since Public Health England announced that vaping was around 95% less harmful than tobacco and less than 6 months since the University College London confirmed a positive link between the use of e-cigarettes and success in quitting tobacco cigarettes. A study published and supported by TheBMJ (formally The British Medical Journal) one of the worlds most renowned medical journals, in the same study it was suggested that there had been an estimated drop of about 18,000 smokers in England. Now although it was acknowledged that these numbers are by no means huge, it does suggest a step in the right direction.
With all this evidence continuing to stack up is it not time the EU used this to facilitate a decision and not just looked at what they want or nothing at all in some cases, this has the potential to become a commercially driven choice that would prove lucrative for them as opposed to concerning themselves with the health of the public who ultimately fund their all-expenses paid trips across Europe and their penthouse apartments.