The European Commission is considering hiking up tax on electronic cigarettes, even though an official government report shows that they are not a gateway to smoking and in fact help people quit tobacco.
A report by the Office of National Statistics showed that only 1 in 700 “vapers” were not previous tobacco smokers, but despite this the Financial Times reports it has seen documents which would drastically increase the price of e-cigarettes and further hinder their take up.
Brussels Bureaucrats have asked excise duty analysts from across the EU to consider the “best way to achieve fiscal equal treatment” between e-cigarettes and normal tobacco products.
Currently, because of the huge “sin taxes” imposed on tobacco products, and partly due to their addictiveness, there is a large price difference with e-cigarettes being much better value for money.
The EU demands all member states impose a minimum of 57 per cent excise duty on every packet of cigarettes purchased in the EU, compared to an average of 20 per cent, or the presiding level of VAT, on e-cigarettes.
Policy makers from across Europe met in Brussels yesterday to discuss whether these safer alternatives, used by many smokers to help quit tobacco altogether, should be covered by excise duty.
David Atherton, Chairman of Freedom2Choose, told Breitbart London: “If the health lobby are so keen to reduce the harm of smoking then electronic cigarettes which have a quit rate of 20 percent after one year as opposed to using the Pharmaceutical industry’s nicotine patches, gum and drugs at 5 percent, then ‘vaping’ must be encouraged as much as possible.”
“The government should never ban vaping indoors and private enterprise should also embrace electronic cigarettes too.”
He added that “‘second hand smoke’ is almost certainly harmless” and said “most view smoking electronic cigarettes as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee.”
New E-Cig convert, Paul Nuttall who is deputy leader of UKIP, reacted sharply to news that the European Commission is considering hiking up tax on healthier electronic cigarettes.
“I am a great fan of e-cigs and UKIP has been very supportive of the practice because it is healthier and a source of jobs for innovative British companies.
“The British government must stand up against these measures and UKIP undertakes to oppose any legislation from the EU to put tax on electronic cigarettes.
“I have never seen a private pleasure that the EU does not want to tax. Of course this move will hike up the cost of vaping e-cigarettes, and thus push more people back to ordinary and less healthy cigarettes.
“This move unmasks the EU’s real intent of its Tobacco Directive which was to tax all cigarettes more and help governments make more money. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, ‘The EU’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it.”
The World Health Organisation has called for tighter controls on e-cigarettes and from 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is expected to license e-cigarettes as a medicine in the UK.
It was hoped that following the ONS report that there would be moves to rethink legislation and liberalise laws surrounding vaping in the interests of public health. However, it would appear that despite statistical evidence, the European Commission is ignoring sound advice and putting the health of European Citizens at greater risk.