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UPDATE 

Further to our press release on this worrying issue, we were also pleased to be invited to add our signature to a letter which was sent to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock. Led by the UK Vaping Industry Association and also co-signed by prominent Westminster think tanks, the letter strongly criticised the concept of a tax on vaping and attracted significant media interest. You can read the letter in full here.

For immediate release

The New Nicotine Alliance strongly condemns reported proposals to tax vaping products in the UK as a “retrograde step”.

  • ‘Sin taxes’ are completely inappropriate for products which have helped over 1.5 million smokers switch to a safer alternative or quit completely
  • Smoking prevalence has plummeted since e-cigarettes went mainstream, it is unethical to tax consumers for quitting smoking which government claims to support
  • Public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled. A new tax on these products would send a terrible message to smokers as to the reduced risk of vaping and is a retrograde step for public health

LONDON, August 2nd, 2018: Media reports today quote Whitehall sources claiming that taxation of vaping products is being considered for the autumn Budget.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) strongly condemns the concept of ‘sin taxes’ being applied to nicotine products which have a proven track record of helping smokers who choose to quit or dramatically reduce their risk of smoking-related disease.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts 1.5 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. Applying a so-called ‘sin tax’ is completely inappropriate for products which have a successful track record of diverting smokers away from combustible tobacco. Switching from smoking to vaping is not ‘sinning’, it is the exact opposite.” said NNA Chair Sarah Jakes.
“The UK has spent decades trying to convince smokers to quit and devices that can deliver the nicotine they enjoy without the harm of combustible tobacco are a perfect solution for huge numbers of people. Vaping has been the catalyst for a dramatic decline in smoking prevalence in recent years. It is, therefore, highly unethical for government to then financially punish vapers, especially since public health campaigns like Stoptober actively encourage the use of e-cigarettes.

“Health groups in the UK rightly support tobacco harm reduction, as endorsed by the Behavioural Insights Team set up by government. Public Heath England also back vaping and the Royal College of Physicians urges wide promotion of e-cigarettes to reassure and encourage smokers to use them, as does the government’s own Tobacco Control Plan.

“The UK is regarded worldwide as a global leader in tobacco harm reduction and the results speak for themselves”, said Jakes, “however public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled. Applying a tax can only further degrade general misperceptions by implying that vaping is a ‘sin’ and therefore dangerous. A new tax on vaping products would be unethical, sends entirely the wrong message to smokers, is at odds with current government policy, and would be a retrograde step for public health. It is a daft idea and one which we urge the Treasury to abandon immediately.”

The NNA strongly condemns a ‘sin tax’ on vaping products, instead we urge government to be more positive about harm reduction and commit to join with supportive public health bodies in correcting misplaced doubt towards successful consumer-driven solutions to smoking.

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.

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