Future Regulation of E-Cigarettes
Smoking regularly will shorten your life and increase your chances of contracting cancer. Cigarette smokers are far more likely to die from lung and throat cancer. The tobacco industry has considerable political influence throughout the world.
Government Responsibility & Smoking
The government in the UK faces a costly dilemma, if they aid too many smokers to quit cigarettes, they will lose a large slice of the £12 billion in annual tobacco duty that the country needs. Along with tobacco, alcohol also raises billions annually in tax revenue and is also harmful for its users. The safety of electronic cigarettes has been questioned recently in several news stories.
Every year, 100,000 people die in the UK from smoking related illnesses, from which the government earns billions. At the same time, the government have introduced workplace health and safety laws to protect the 200 workers who die annually in work related accidents.
E-Cigarettes and Possible Regulation
As tax revenues fall as more and more smokers switch to electronic cigarettes, it will become necessary for the government to regulate and therefore be able to tax electronic cigarettes and e-liquid. The industrial giants that already dominate the smoking cessation industry will soon take over the vaporizer sector once regulation occurs.
Will any regulation of e-cigarettes be in the public interest or the interests of the exchequer? It is probable that health concerns will be used to regulate e-cigarettes which will allow the government to tax them and recover lost tobacco tax revenues.
Opponents to Electronic Cigarettes
The smoking cessation and the tobacco industries are both going to be affected financially by the continual increase in e-cigarette usage. While patches and gum deliver nicotine, they don’t give you the satisfying nicotine hit that you get from a vaporizer or electronic cigarette.
The tobacco companies are looking to protect their market share and don’t want e-cigarettes to become even more popular however, it’s not easy for them to argue against electronic devices on health grounds.
It is thought that some cigarette companies are quietly supporting the efforts of the smoking cessation industry to campaign against electronic cigarettes and their growing popularity.
Potential Regulation of E-Cigarettes
The government runs the risk of seeing its tobacco duty income fall if e-cigarettes continue to grow in popularity and one way or another they need to generate £12 billion a year from nicotine addicts.
Getting the level of duty right on e-liquid is going to be quite difficult for the government because if they try to charge too much, people will start to make their own, which is quite straightforward to do. Making your own “duty-free” e-liquid will no doubt be discouraged via scare stories in the press.
During the heyday of cigarette smuggling most cigarettes were duty free “real” cigarettes rather than faked copies. Calling them fake allowed horror stories to be spread. The faster the use of e-cigarettes grows, the more likely they are to be regulated. The important thing for the government is to find a way to effective tax e-liquid.
In spite of e-cigarettes being a healthier alternative to smoking, if they can’t be taxed then it is more likely that they will be banned instead. In the next few years we will see the extent of regulation for electronic smoking devices. It is unlikely that they will be allowed to continue unregulated and un-taxed. If enough smokers switch to electronic devices, the government will lose too much tobacco duty making legislation inevitable.
The only way the government can control the loss of tobacco revenue will be to regulate electronic smoking devices.