Estonia Suspends E-Liquid Taxation

    Photo: Makalu from Pixabay

    Estonia’s parliament recently voted to suspend the nation’s excise tax on e-liquid between April 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022, to reduce cross-border and illicit trade. The Estonian excise duty on e-liquid has been €0.2 ($0.24) per mL since 2018.

    “Suspending the collection of excise duty will make it possible to lower the price of e-liquids and thus offer consumers controlled and safe products at a lower price,” said Tarmo Kruusimae, parliament member and chairman of the parliament’s Smoke Free Estonia Support Group.

    “It has the potential to become a success story if we manage to reduce both the illicit trade and cross-border trade and at the same time offer less harmful alternatives to cigarettes at a more competitive price.”

    The group estimates that about 62 percent to 80 percent of the Estonian e-liquid market comprises self-mixed, cross-border and smuggled e-liquids primarily from Latvia and Russia. The e-liquid black market strengthened in 2019 when Estonia implemented a tobacco and vapor product flavor ban.

    Tobacco harm reduction advocates welcomed Estonia’s decision. “Estonia’s example with over-taxation of e-liquids should definitely be an educational experience for other countries,” said Ingmar Kurg, CEO of NNA Smoke Free Estonia and a member of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, in a statement.

    “If laboratory-tested and legal products are made too expensive for consumers, they will look for solutions in the black market, self-mixing and cross-border trade. Some people give up e-cigarettes and return to smoking, which happened in Estonia.”