While the UK government currently endorses e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, it is considering a new tax on vaping products to address the prevalence of disposable e-cigarettes among British minors, politico reported recently. The proposal also includes further requirements for packaging, marketing and taste, but is unlikely to ban single-use e-cigarettes altogether.
In 2022, a report assessing whether England could become smoke-free by 2030 caused widespread concern in the UK. It is understood that some of the specific regulations in the proposal are designed to address the problems pointed out in the report.
A number of comprehensive measures have been taken to prevent underage smoking in the UK. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care. “The law protects children from e-cigarettes by restricting their sale to people under 18, limiting nicotine content, bomb size, labeling requirements, and advertising restrictions. Advertisements for e-cigarettes and their components are prohibited from showing any elements that might appeal to people under 18, such as well-known characters or celebrities.”
Just last week, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, told a House of Commons committee that e-cigarette marketing to children had “unknown consequences for intellectual development” and called the target-setting “appalling”. He warned that e-cigarette use among children has doubled in the past few years. To some extent, this increased public opinion on the issue, which forced the British government to provide a solution in the short term.
But there are also calls in the UK to reduce VAT on vape products. In 2022, the LGA (Local Government Association) urged the UK government to cut VAT on e-cigarettes from 20 per cent (which is regulated by traditional tobacco in the UK) to 5 per cent, bringing them into line with the rate on conventional NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) such as nicotine gum and patches.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, said the current 5% rate allowed by law only applied to “medicinal products designed to help people stop smoking.” The association added that given the available scientific evidence that e-cigarettes do help people quit smoking, the 5% rate should also apply.
The UK government has vowed to make England smoke-free by 2030. Scotland has until 2034. Northern Ireland and Wales, which are both part of the UK, have yet to set a date.
Two admirals will follow up and interview relevant personnel to report, stay tuned.