By Adam Hopkin
Despite meeting lobbyist resistance in Brussels the European Commission has unanimously voted to draft legislation ultimately ramping up the cost of electronic cigarettes to match that of its tobacco counterparts. Set to be completed by 2017 the proposals are set to change the amount of tax charged on the popular “cigalike” devices, almost doubling their price from around £23 to £54.
In spite of the demand for e-cigarettes sorrowing in recent years through their status as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, the European Commission would like to see the current 20% VAT match the 77% currently imposed on a normal pack of smokes. Its hard to not see this as little more as an extra ploy for revenue through tax as e-cigs are often marketed as a medium for smokers to quit that feels more natural than a nicotine patch or gum.
The Charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) argues that this will cause great damage to the public’s health after almost 900,000 Britons have successfully quit smoking using the e-cig. Additionally researchers from the University college London reported that the use of an electronic cigarette increases the chance of kicking the habit by as much as 50%.
“If the EU were to require states to ta electronic cigarettes like tobacco products it would be detrimental to public health” disputes ASH representative Deborah Arnott, “it would discourage smokers from switching.”
However the potential increase in price may come as great news to those who believe vaping is nothing more than an all to accessible gateway to smoking and that they should be available with behavioural support to ensure that the end result is more than a couple less drags each day.
Expressing she is “disappointed” with the EU deciding to concentrate on the smoking deterrent, Florence Berteletti of the Smoke Free Partnership, says that more should be done in order to “prevent young people from starting smoking.”
Featured image under Creative Commons licence: Source