Will A Vape Tax Become A Reality In The EU?
According to news sources, E-cigarettes and vaping products may soon be taxed under the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED) in the EU.
Vapers in the EU reportedly had until February 16th, 2017, to submit their comments to the EU Commission about the issue before the opportunity to speak up would come to a close. Now, it’s time for the EU to decide whether or not vaping products will be included as part of the TED. This would mean that vaping products would be taxed similarly to tobacco products… an idea that has a lot of vapers up in arms, and for a good reason.
There are a lot of reasons for why vapers don’t believe that vaping products should be taxed the same as tobacco products. For one, vaping products don’t contain tobacco at all. Secondly, taxing them would increase their cost – which would make them more difficult to buy for people who are trying to use them as a substitute for analog cigarettes and other tobacco products. Third, they’ve been declared as up to 95% less harmful by Public Health England – putting them into a much different risk category than cigarettes, to begin with.
And fourth, because they are simply not cigarettes or tobacco products.
There was a pretty big movement online to get people to send in an official comment protesting the tax – but thus far, it’s impossible to say whether or not the effort will actually have any effect on the decision.
What do we think of the EU vaping tax?
We can all appreciate the merits of taxation. Yes, that might sound like a strange thing to say. After all – who really likes to pay taxes, right? But taxes help to fund infrastructure and programs that the people desperately need to live a modern, productive, efficient, and healthy life – so sending a bit of money toward the government to improve the quality of life for everyone certainly doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for in the grand scheme of things.
So why is a tax on vaping any different?
One of the biggest glaring reasons, of course, is the fact that E-cigs create enough value through the health and well-being associated with smoking cessation to exceed any benefits that might possibly come from taxing them. Taxing vaping products would significantly increase their cost, which could cause more people to just continue to buy cigarettes instead of switching over, as getting started with e-cig products is already more expensive than buying a pack of cigs.
Over time, electronic cigarettes are actually much less expensive than analog cigarettes – but this larger initial startup cost, plus new taxes, could be enough to deter new vapers.
The European Commission, member state authorities, and the European Council, have been asked to maintain a balance between raising revenue, maintaining public health, and securing administrative costs by conducting a thorough impact assessment on how E-cigs are currently helping, and also on how many more people they could help if they were just allowed to flourish.
Many vaping supporters got online and hit the streets before the deadline to get as many people as possible to fill out consultation sheets. These sheets needed to be completed online and turned in no later than February 16th – so it will be interesting to see exactly what effect (if any) the consultations had.
Hopefully, the EU will take all of the applicable information into consideration, and will stop at the TPD – which has already been pretty much enforced. This made the selling and manufacturing of E-cigs a bit more complicated already, and a tax would just add to this complication.
Obviously, we support vaping and hope that people will realize how beneficial it can actually be. Millions of people have used vaping as a means to either cut down or quit their smoking habit altogether – and therein lies the real, pertinent value of the habit. Obviously, breathing in vaporized e-liquid isn’t as clean as breathing in pure oxygen – but breathing in vaporized E-liquid is most certainly safer than breathing in tobacco smoke.