Government to introduce vaping tax

Jeremy Hunt announced the tax in his spring budget

A new excise duty on vaping products will be introduced from 2026, chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced in his spring budget.

The move is to discourage non-smokers from taking up vaping, he said, with a 12-week consultation on the duty’s design launched today. The rates will be linked to the level of nicotine in the product, with a £1.00 per 10ml rate for nicotine-free e-cigarette liquids, £2.00 per 10ml for liquids containing up to 10.9 mg nicotine per ml, and £3.00 per 10ml for liquids containing 11mg or more.

‘Because vapes can also play a positive role in helping people quit smoking, we will introduce a one-off increase in tobacco duty at the same time to maintain the financial incentive to choose vaping over smoking,’ he added.

Deborah Arnott: Burden of new tax will affect those trying to quit

ASH said the excise duty would give additional powers to the Border Force to stop the import of illegal vapes that are ‘flooding the market and need to be brought under control’. The additional increase in tobacco taxes was also welcome as keeping vaping cheaper than smoking was ‘vital to encourage smokers trying to quit to switch to vapes, which are the most effective stop smoking aid available over the counter’, said chief executive Deborah Arnott. ‘However, it’s smokers and those trying to quit and stay quit who will be paying these extra taxes. It takes the average smoker thirty attempts before they successfully quit, and specialist support and anti-smoking campaigns can increase the likelihood of success many times over. These new taxes should be used to plug the cuts in prevention measures and help the government achieve its smokefree 2030 ambition.’

Christopher Snowdon: The government’s plans are ‘scientifically and economically illiterate’

Free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs called the plans ‘scientifically and economically illiterate’, however. ‘Vapers did what the government wanted and gave up smoking,’ said its head of lifestyle economics, Christopher Snowdon. ‘They are now being punished for it. Combined with the ban on disposable vapes, it seems the government is intent on keeping people smoking. Not only will the tax close the price gap between vapes and cigarettes, it will send a message to the public that the health risks are similar. Since most people in Britain already wrongly believe that vaping is at least as dangerous as smoking, the government’s reckless greed will cost lives.’

The chancellor’s decision to extend the duty freeze on alcohol until next year, meanwhile –  having previously frozen it in last year’s autumn statement ( – amounted to a real-terms cut, the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) stated. ‘Alcohol duty freezes over the past decade have led to alcohol becoming much more affordable, with it now being at its most affordable level since before Rishi Sunak was born,’ said IAS chief executive Dr Katherine Severi. ‘This is a political choice that has directly led to increases in alcohol consumption and subsequent deaths. Let’s be clear, this is a tax break for the multinational alcohol industry, meaning the government has chosen big business over the taxpayer. It also harms pubs, as freezing duty allows supermarkets to maintain much lower prices on alcohol compared to pubs, encouraging people to drink more at home.’

Vaping consultation at

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