We’ve never really thought of vaping as being sinful, have you? It simply isn’t on our list of anything that would approach being considered a bad thing. It’s true that sometimes a premium e-liquid will taste so good, that it feels sinful to indulge in it. But that’s the same as chocolate being sinful – we aren’t really being serious. So, the question remains. Does anyone seriously think vaping could or should be considered a sin?
Apparently, some in the British government think that it is. There are some in Whitehall who are indicating that vaping will be falling into the sin category. The reason? So they can tax vapers. So-called “sin taxes,” which include X Y AND Z, are an easy way for the government to raise funds for the budget. By going after consumption of products that are thought of as a negative behaviour or practice, it makes it simple to get the public behind the effort.
Up until now, vaping wasn’t considered a sinful indulgence that we were okay with taxing. That could all change with the government’s desire to raise an addition £40 million for the NHS, part of an overall commitment of £20 billion extra pledged. Sources have told The Sun that vapour products are directly in sight of. One of those sources was quoted saying, “Vapers are likely to be hit as they are not taxed at all”.
If these sources are accurate, that is about to change. While we may bristle at vaping being thrown in with alcohol and tobacco cigarettes, the very fact that there may be a tax should be seen in a broader context. After all, vapers have it good in the UK.
Vaping in the UK
In that same article in The Sun, praise was heaped on the UK’s vaping environment. “The UK’s liberal approach to vaping has become a model for the rest of the world,” explained Chris Snowden of the think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. While he worried that a vaping tax would harm the health of the UK as a whole, he pointed out that we are currently a leader in the arena of vaping. The government has shown great vigour in promoting vaping, even featuring it in the UK’s Tobacco Control Plan.
As a result, vapers in the UK have prospered. There are almost 3 million people in the UK who vape, and they reap massive benefits because of it. While typically spending under £300 per year on e-liquid, it is a pittance when compared to the average spent by smokers. The average pack-a-day smoker will spend upwards of £3,700 each year on tobacco cigarettes. That’s just an incredible gap in cost and one that has helped drive the rise of smokers making the switch to vaping.
Proponents of the alleged inclusion of vaping in the sin tax category will explain that it is a minimal expense. Adding a 5% tax would mean vapers would spend perhaps £15 or £20 more per year on their e-liquid – a minor change compared to the £40 million it would raise for the NHS. While nobody likes being taxed more than they are, it does seem like a small amount for the average vaper to incur.
Still, the problem is the very ethos of adding any tax to vaping, especially labelling it a sin tax. Vaping, as we know, helps millions of Britons make that lifestyle changing decision. There’s something strange in taxing a product that Whitehall so fully supports in policy and practice. Vaping deserves to have the competitive advantage over tobacco cigarettes, which are rightfully in the “sin tax” category. In the meantime, the European Commission is set to hold public talks in September on adding vaping in with the taxation of tobacco cigarettes. We’ll pay close attention to how this all turns out.
Without informed advertising from the government and our intended choice of health care, a lack of information for smokers only perpetuates myths such as the safety on vaping or whether the cost may exceed our current habitual spend on tobacco. The word from the health professionals is that e-cigarettes and vaping are by far an altogether better alternative to smoking cigarettes.
As for cost? Depending on your kit, you could be saving yourself a small fortune. Begin with a simple starter kit to get a flavour for what you might like and go from there. Much like finding your favourite brand of cigarette, finding your favourite device and choice of e-liquid will be down to you.