U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has rejected calls from health officials to introduce a new levy on single use vapes in the government budget due to be presented on March 15, reports the news outlet I.
The Department of Health and Social Care has been pushing for the new tax to crack down on underage vaping. The proposals are expected to be included in the government’s response to the Khan Review on smoking, but treasury sources told I that the new levy will not be included in the March 15 budget.
“Department of Health officials are keen, but it’s not going to happen,” a source told I.
Anti-smoking activists too have been urging the government to start taxing disposable vapes. “Increasing the tax on single use disposable vapes in the March budget would be easy to do and by making them less affordable could reduce both child vaping and the vast quantities of single use vapes being thrown into landfill,” Action of Smoking and Health CEO Deborah Arnott was quoted as saying.
“Adult smokers find vaping useful in helping them quit, and that’s something we support. However, in the light of the recent increase in child vaping, government action is urgently needed to tighten regulation and increase enforcement,” Arnott added.
U.K. ministers are reportedly contemplating a range of measures to discourage underage vaping. Among the plans under consideration are a ban on candy-flavored vaping liquids and a crackdown on colorful marketing that could appeal to youth.
Britain bans sales of vapes to anyone below the age of 18, but national surveys have shown an increasing trend of 11-17 year olds using the devices, with health leaders blaming the rise on the marketing and flavors associated with them.