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More tobacco bluff and bluster from politicians
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Mark Benson Offline
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More tobacco bluff and bluster from politicians
There is no doubt politicians feel they have the right to tax any product and any service which they see fit. While electronic cigarettes are not currently the "victim" of additional taxation there is a growing suspicion that this will happen in due course. This week we saw yet another move by the UK political elite to introduce yet another tax on tobacco products in the shape of a "levy for tobacco sales". So what exactly is this and what does this mean for the electronic cigarette industry?

Levy on tobacco manufacturers and importers

Despite the fact that the vast majority of the cost of a tobacco cigarette is made up of taxation it seems that the government in the UK is set to increase the burden on smokers. While initially this will make electronic cigarettes seem even more attractive to those wanting to continue smoking and those looking to quit, what about the longer term. If we take a look at the details of this proposal it is certainly something which could be replicated in the electronic cigarette arena in years to come.

The idea of a levy on tobacco taxes (akin to the situation in the US) was first floated in the Chancellor's Autumn statement last year and has been picked up on by other political parties. The idea is that by charging tax based on tobacco sales data an additional £500 million could be raised each year to offset the estimated £13 billion cost of smoking to society. On the surface, does this seem fair?

Dig a little deeper

The cost to the UK NHS for treatment of smoking related illnesses amounts to around £2 billion a year. At this moment in time the additional taxation on tobacco cigarettes is significantly greater than the cost of additional NHS care. The £13 billion figure mentioned when putting forward this suggestion has not been broken down into any detail whatsoever. It is worth mentioning that while an additional £500 million per year would obviously be very useful in fighting tobacco related illnesses, is this not just another attempt at a sin tax?

It was also mentioning that one of the reasons for suggesting this levy on tobacco manufacturers and importers was the fact that "the number of people quitting through the NHS stop smoking services was down by 19% last year". Nowhere is there any mention of the fact that electronic cigarettes are recognised as the main reason for this falling NHS stop smoking service numbers, therefore you could argue, why not make electronic cigarettes more attractive from a cost perspective?

Is it all about the money, again?

Politicians have a habit of being very selective with the facts and with the truth. Even if we set aside the enormous additional taxation attracted by tobacco products, as well as the proposed £500 million a year levy, how can they quote a 19% reduction in NHS stop smoking service numbers without mentioning electronic cigarettes? The politician in question suggested that smokers need "more help" when in reality electronic cigarettes are proving to be the most potent product in the battle against tobacco addiction in living history.

Who should we place our trust in, the medical professionals suggesting that tobacco cigarettes use could be dwarfed by their electronic counterparts within a decade or politicians looking to introduce more sin taxes? The choice is yours……………………

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
24-03-2015 01:19 PM
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