The process the EU Commission is engaging in is meant to give the illusion of democracy in action. The bottom line is that it wants to tax electronic cigarettes and everything connected with them and, although the outcome might well have been decided behind closed doors, if we can muster up weight of numbers there is the chance we can influence the outcome.
The consultation has been taking place for a number of months but the deadline falls on the 16th of February â€“ there isnâ€™t very long left to get involved. Jessica Harding, speaking for the New Nicotine Alliance, says: â€œIt would be excellent if consumers could respond. It only takes about 15 minutes to do.â€
The forms can appear a little confusing. For anybody struggling with working his or her way through the process, we recommend having a look at the brilliant guide residing on the ViP blog page.
The IG-ED e.V., a consumerâ€™s organisation of German speaking vapers, contends that the issue is coming about because of declining cigarette sales producing less tax revenue for member countries: â€œThe declining tobacco smoking quota is partially due to the electronic vape products which have been on the market for 12 years now. A tax on these products would stop this trend. It is also likely that a considerable number of newcomers would return to the tobacco cigarette.â€
â€œFor smokers, the motivation to switch would be significantly lower. This is not necessarily due to the tax, but the fact that a tax is being imposed at all, suggests to the consumer that electronic vape products are just as harmful as smoke tobacco products. Directive 2014/40/EU already leads consumers to be deceived about the actual minimal risks due to the same warning signs as on tobacco products.â€
Closer to home, The New Nicotine Alliance believes that â€œThere is no case on principled or practical grounds to apply excise duties to vaping products and other products that offer a much safer alternative to smoking. The value to health and wellbeing associated with switching from smoking to vaping will exceed any benefits arising from revenue collection.â€
â€œJust as it was with the Tobacco Products Directive, the inclusion of products which do not contain tobacco in the Tobacco Excise Directive is unhelpful and risks creating confusion in the minds of consumers.â€
The EU Commission consultation website – here.