The Conservative government has pledged to find an additional £20 Billion for the NHS, for which sadly somewhat unsurprisingly it seems their initial instinct is to find new ways to tax people for their pleasures.
As a part of the so-called “sin tax”, the current proposals suggest a tax which would see the estimated 2.9 million people who currently vape in Britain taxed.
Needless to say, the reaction has been mixed.
How successful could it be?
Currently, the average vape user is estimated to spend around £275 a year on vape fluid. A 5% tax on that would cost each individual roughly £13.75 a year.
It doesn’t sound like much, but across all of the vapers throughout Britain it could net upwards of £20 million of tax revenue.
These numbers are minuscule however to the regular tobacco industry where it’s estimated the average smoker will spend around £3,700 a year on cigarettes.
The tax from this collected by the Government in terms of both excise duty and VAT have been estimated at around £12 billion by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.
This figure is somewhat unsurprising when you consider the fact that from an average RRP of roughly £8.50 for a pack of cigarettes, about 82% is made up of tax. So for every £8.50 a smoker spends buying a pack of cigarettes, they pay the equivalent of £6.28 in tax.
This figure makes the £40 million from vaping seem rather small in comparison.
Needless to say, the proposal has elicited some mixed reactions, and it’s understandable to see why.
Smoking is universally considered a terrible thing to do for your health and the health of those around you, so a tax on it is generally quite widely supported, and it seems the more severe the taxation the more support it garners.
The issue becomes more complicated with vaping however because it’s nowhere near as toxic and dangerous to vapers or those around them compared to traditional smoking.
It is widely considered a powerful aid for people who are looking to give up smoking, roughly half of people asked say their vaping habit had helped them to give up traditional cigarettes.
Multiple public health bodies, such as Cancer Research UK and Public Health England, helped to boost the positive image of vaping in 2015 when they released a statement saying overall vaping was estimated to be 95% less harmful to health than smoking.
With that in mind, many people see a tax on vaping as unnecessary and intrusive, especially when the positives of vaping are considered when it comes to overall health and helping people give up smoking.
Compared to the taxes on tobacco though, the proposals seem relatively mild.