E-Cigarettes and The Law
Smoking cigarettes is dangerous and all smokers are aware of the risks they take by smoking. Cigarette smokers are far more likely to die from lung and throat cancer. The large tobacco companies carry a lot of power and influence.
The Government, Politicians and Future Legislation
It would cost the UK government over £12 billion in lost tobacco duty annually if they succeed in getting all the smokers to quit. The government also raise billions annually from alcohol which is similarly harmful. There is a certain amount of negative press regarding e-cigarette devices.
The government protects workers with rigorous health and safety legislation, protecting less that 200 fatalities annually, while at the same time over 100,000 people die from smoking related illnesses but because of the massive amount of tobacco duty raised, cigarettes are not made illegal.
The UK government needs the income raised from smokers. We can conclude that if there is enough profit involved, the government won’t necessarily protect us.
E-Cigarettes and Possible Regulation
At some point, if enough smokers switch to vaporizer devices, the government will need to regulate them so that they can impose duty on e-liquid. If it becomes regulated then it’ll have to be made by GSK and sold in Boots alongside the patches and chewing gum that they already sell. Tax revenues need to be found from somewhere and regulating e-cigarettes will allow the government to recover lost tobacco duty. If electronic cigarettes are regulated it will be done to enable the taxation of their use, under the guise of health protection.
Competitors to electronic Cigarettes
Two powerful industries, the tobacco and the smoking cessation sectors are going to be worst hit by increased e-cigarette use. Nicotine replacement products like patches and gum don’t replace the satisfying inhalation hit that a vaporizer will give you.
While the tobacco industry want to prevent e-cigarettes from taking their customers, it is difficult for them to argue against them on health grounds. It makes you wonder if the tobacco companies are quietly supporting the smoking cessation’s anti e-cigarette stance? it would make sense.
Potential Regulation of E-Cigarettes
It is easy to see why the government needs to protect it’s current levels of duty that it receives from tobacco and taxing a “healthier” product to the same level would no doubt limit its use, thus protecting the established sector industries. Applying duty to e-liquid isn’t going to be easy because it is quite easy to make your own from readily available ingredients. In the same way that tobacco companies warned people to beware of counterfeit cigarettes, the “official” manufacturers of e-liquid will no doubt look to protect the public from making their own e-juice.
For all the scare stories about counterfeit cigarettes, most cheap cigarettes were smuggled rather than faked, meaning they were real but without UK duty paid. Depending on how quickly the use of e-cigarettes grows, it is likely that we will see regulation introduced. If the government can’t find a practical way to tax e-liquid then it will have to ban e-cigarettes to preserve its tobacco duty revenues.
If governments can’t successfully apply tax to e-liquid then in all probability they will choose to ban the devices regardless of the fact that they are less harmful that tobacco cigarettes. In the not too distant future electronic smoking devices will be regulated to one extent or another. Taxation of e-liquid would go some way towards mitigating the gradual erosion of tobacco duty revenue.
It is seeming inevitable that at some point in the near future electronic smoking devices will be regulated to give the treasury some control of lost tobacco duty.