More

    Consumers warn ‘irresponsible’ tax on vape liquids will cost lives

    Photo: iStock

    A consumer body representing nicotine users said the tax on vaping liquids proposed in the budget by the chancellor on Wednesday is “ill-thought-out” and will cost thousands of lives.

    The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) also expressed its exasperation over the government’s systematic dismantling of a world-leading policy which was an example to the rest of the world on how to utilise innovative harm reduction approaches to rapidly reduce the toll of smoking-related disease.

    Following the “ill-judged” decision to ignore public health experts who warned of a ban on single use vapes deterring people who smoke from switching to products which could save their lives, NNA said the government has now undermined its own Swap to Stop campaign by vowing to increase the tax on the very products it is urging smokers to try.

    Furthermore, the design of the tax shows that government ministers have no understanding of how the devices help to reduce smoking prevalence. 

    “Putting a higher tax on stronger e-liquids completely misses the point that the more heavily dependent smokers will need stronger liquid to stay smoke-free,” Louise Ross, NNA chair and an expert on smoking cessation for nearly two decades, commented.

    “This will include people with poor mental health, people on benefits, people living in disadvantaged communities and those with challenging lives. Higher taxes will keep them smoking.

    “The Swap to Stop scheme relies on heavily dependent smokers being convinced of the value of switching to a rechargeable, refillable vaping product. Adding taxation to e-liquids risks all that. People in poverty who would have been easily persuaded to switch will simply go back to smoking, and the opportunity to get them off cigarettes will be lost.”

    Last week, a long-running Cancer Research UK funded study found that there were “substantial misperceptions about the harms of vaping compared with smoking” and emphasised “the need to clearly communicate the risks so that adults who smoke can make informed choices about the nicotine products they use.”

    The NNA noted that the proposed tax on vaping liquids will further erode the public’s understanding of the difference between vaping and smoking and will harm public health.

    “A tax on vapes is basically a tax on health. If they are serious about getting smoking down to five per cent by 2030, the last thing the government would be doing is making it more expensive and less appealing to switch from smoking to vaping, which the government knows poses only a small fraction of the risk,” Clive Bates, former director of Action on Smoking and Health and a voluntary public health adviser to the NNA, said.

    “The irony is that these measures won’t stop vaping, but they will mean more vapes are supplied through criminal networks, unscrupulous middlemen and dodgy retailers. If you want to do something about youth vaping, focus on licensing retailers and irresponsible marketing and packaging.” 

    The NNA called on the government to urgently consult with consumer and public health experts instead of issuing ‘kneejerk policies driven by moral panic’ about reduced risk alternatives to smoking.

    “It cannot claim to care for the UK’s public health if it continues to promote policies which can only lead to more smoking-related disease and death,” the organisation said.  

    Latest

    Biona condiments range heats up with two new mustards

    Organic food supplier Biona is introducing two new high-quality...

    Florette partners Jet2 Holidays and Megan McKenna in fresh promo

    Salad brand Florette is aiming for the skies this...

    Carbonated drinks brand, TRIP, launches functional mushroom and adaptogen range

    Soft drinks brand TRP has launched a new range,...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses...

    Don't miss

    Biona condiments range heats up with two new mustards

    Organic food supplier Biona is introducing two new high-quality...

    Florette partners Jet2 Holidays and Megan McKenna in fresh promo

    Salad brand Florette is aiming for the skies this...

    Carbonated drinks brand, TRIP, launches functional mushroom and adaptogen range

    Soft drinks brand TRP has launched a new range,...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses...

    Groundbreaking integration trial between Gander and Snappy Shopper yields remarkable results

    In a landmark trial, two leading tech firms joined...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses (57 per cent) expecting to never be entirely cashless despite the widespread adoption of electronic,...

    Groundbreaking integration trial between Gander and Snappy Shopper yields remarkable results

    In a landmark trial, two leading tech firms joined forces to revolutionise convenience shoppers' user experience, culminating in outstanding results that promise to reshape the food...

    Bread, cereal maker warns of possibility of higher prices

    UK’s leading bread and cereal maker has warned of potentially higher prices in the coming months citing “very small” grain harvests in the UK...