Retailers have criticised a rumoured government ‘sin tax’ on vaping products, fearing it will affect sales in a growth market. 

The alleged proposal was revealed via a journalist tip-off from a source at Whitehall two weeks ago. Details of when a ‘sin tax’ would be introduced, or how much it would be, were not provided. 

In response, a letter signed by seven co-signatories, including John Dunne, director at the UK Vaping Industry Association, was sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care condemning the move.

The letter stated: “It is consumers who will pay the price if taxation policies target vaping. 

“If the government does decide to increase taxes on vaping, retailers and manufacturers will be forced to raise prices and pass on the costs to consumers.”

Harj Gill, of The Windmill in Birmingham, said the tax would mainly affect those who buy premium vaping products. “We were looking into offering tanks, some of which are priced at £50, so if the tax does come into force, it is something we will need to reconsider.”

However, Will Hill, head of legal and external affairs at British American Tobacco, said: “We have been told by the Treasury that there are no plans to introduce any form of vaping tax. Any move that increases the price of electronic cigarettes would be an unwelcome U-turn
in policy.”

A Philip Morris International spokesperson concluded: “Taxing e-cigarettes would be a backwards step in achieving a smoke-free country. Anything that deters smokers from switching to less harmful alternatives would be contrary to the government’s tobacco control plan.” 

Read similar: Retailers react: “We need training on vaping legislation”

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