Vapes could be taxed to make young people quit under plans unveiled in the King’s Speech
- Ministers are considering a range of measures to make vapes less attractive
- Ideas include fines to retailers, a new duty, and sale restrictions on e-cigarettes
- Move comes as government moves to ban tobacco for those born after 2009
Vapes could be taxed to drive up prices and make them less attractive to youngsters under plans unveiled in the King’s Speech.
Ministers are considering restricting the sale of disposable vapes and ‘exploring a new duty’ on e-cigarettes. It follows repeated warnings from health campaigners that offering e-cigarettes for ‘pocket money prices’ encourages children to take up vaping.
Other proposals include restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes, putting vapes out of the sight of children and regulating vape packaging and how products are presented.
Retailers could also be issued with on-the-spot fines if they sell vapes to underage children.
The number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years with one in five having vaped despite it being illegal for under-18s.
The number of children using vapes has tripled in the past three years with one in five having vaped despite it being illegal for under-18s (File Photo)
The move comes after Rishi Sunak announced his plans to stamp out smoking for good at the Tory conference last month
The proposals came as the Government confirmed that it would introduce a new law banning tobacco sales to anybody born on or after January 1, 2009.
It means a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette in England under the Prime Minister’s bid to create a ‘smokefree generation’.
The Government vowed to create a ‘significant differential’ between duty on vapes and tobacco, if such a tax is introduced.
Last night the proposals were welcomed by campaigners.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH, told the Mail: ‘ASH supports putting a new duty on disposable vapes, to stop children getting hold of them at pocket money prices.
‘However, as the Government says, it’s vital to ensure that vapes are still cheaper than cigarettes to help encourage smokers to switch, particularly the refillable, rechargeable vapes mainly used by adult smokers.
‘Making vapes subject to duty will also help prevent illegal vapes, particularly cheap disposables, flooding into the country. Illegal vapes don’t meet UK standards and we know that children find them easy to get hold of as people who sell illegal vapes are unlikely to have any worries about selling to children.’
Conservative MP Steve Brine, chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said: ‘I welcome the introduction of legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco, and to safeguard children from the harmful effects of vaping by restrictions on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes.’
Rishi Sunak announced his plans to stamp out smoking for good at the Tory conference last month.
He said last night: ‘I want to build a brighter future for our children, which means taking the necessary decisions for the long-term interests of our country.
‘Smoking is a deadly habit, so we are making the biggest single public health intervention in a generation to stop our kids from ever being able to buy a cigarette.
‘This will protect their health both now and in future – saving tens of thousands of lives and saving the NHS billions of pounds.’
According to Government documents, smoking costs the UK around £17 billion a year, including £10 billion every year through lost productivity alone.
This cost dwarfs the £10bn raised through taxes on tobacco products, official figures show.
By creating a smokefree generation, smoking rates among those aged 14 to 30 could be near zero by 2040, calculations predict.
Downing Street said it expects that the plans will mean up to 1.7 million fewer people smoking by 2075 – potentially saving thousands of lives.
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