The Government should cut Value Added Tax (VAT) on the sale of vaping products to help people to stop smoking, local authority leaders say.
To mark No Smoking Day, the Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for VAT on e-cigarette sales to be reduced from 20% to 5% to bring it in line with sales on nicotine gum and patches.
Current legislation allows a 5% rate to be applied to ‘pharmaceutical products designed to help people stop smoking tobacco’.
Citing a recent study, the LGA argues that people who use vaping products such as e-cigarettes are twice as likely to stop smoking than those who use nicotine patches.
‘Council public health teams work hard to help reduce smoking rates in their areas, alongside local charities and community groups, and it is testament to their efforts that smoking rates continue to fall,’ said Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board.
‘Cutting the VAT on the sale of e-cigarettes would be an important way to continue to encourage more people to quit smoking and would bring e-cigarettes in line with other cessation methods such as patches and gum.’
As well as reducing VAT on e-cigarettes, councils are calling on the Government to impose a Smokefree 2030 Levy on tobacco manufacturers. The revenue generated from this could be targeted in geographical areas, occupational groups and communities where the need for cessation services are most needed.
‘There is increasing evidence that e-cigarettes, along with other dedicated support, act as an important gateway to help people to stop smoking, which reduces serious illness and death as well as other pressures on health and care services,’ Cllr Fothergill continued.
‘Every pound invested by government in council-run services such as public health helps to relieve pressure on other services like the NHS, criminal justice and welfare.
‘Councils can help the Government to achieve its ambition of eliminating smoking in England by 2030, through their tobacco control and other public health and support services, but need certainty over their long-term funding.’