The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) strongly opposes a proposed 2% levy for online shopping.
John Dunne, director at UKVIA, said: “Online sales constitute a major part of making vaping more accessible as a harm reduction alternative to smokers looking to quit. With smoking placing a £2.5bn burden on the NHS annually, now is not the time to be making vaping products less accessible and affordable.
“We are also concerned about the impact on adults in lower-income households who smoke and may be looking to quit using vaping. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that people in routine and manual occupations are around 2.5 times more likely to smoke than their professional or managerial counterparts. These smokers could be put off quitting as a result of any levy on vaping products purchased online.
“If we are going to realise the public health prize of vaping it is crucial that fiscal policy encourages smokers to quit for vaping. The price point of vape products and their accessibility will be critical factors in driving this behaviour. We have already written to the Chancellor calling for VAT parity between vaping and NRT, whether they are purchased online or in physical stores.
“Vaping is 95% less harmful that smoking according to Public Health England and twice as effective as NRT in helping smokers quit. We must ensure vaping remains accessible and affordable for those who need it.”