Vape tax for next generation confirmed in King's Speech, as Government plans to create 'smoke-free generation'

7 November 2023, 14:11 | Updated: 7 November 2023, 14:18

Man vaping - smoking an electronic cigarette / e-cigarette
Man vaping - smoking an electronic cigarette / e-cigarette. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Vaping is set to receive new taxes, the Government has announced as they pushed ahead with plans to outlaw smoking among younger generations.

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Doubling down on his plans to stamp out youth vaping, the proposed taxes will be aimed at increasing the price of vapes to make them less affordable for children.

The additional duty on capes would be an extra tax on top of VAT - which is already subject to a standard rate of 20 per cent.

Setting out the plans at the State Opening of Parliament today, King Charles said the Government would “introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged 14 or younger can never be sold cigarettes, and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.”

The proposal would follow restrictions already introduced in the US and Canada.

The Government is also considering proposals to ban flavourings and attractive packaging while introducing sale display restrictions.

The UK government has pointed towards inherited European Union laws that it says have allowed disposable vapes to be targeted at children.

Mr Sunak previously made his intentions clear about imposing higher vape taxes at the Conservative Party Conference.

Britain's King Charles III delivers his speech as Queen Camilla sits next to him during the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.
Britain's King Charles III delivers his speech as Queen Camilla sits next to him during the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Picture: Alamy

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It comes as the King confirmed the Government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill as he addressed Parliament today, outlining that children born after 2009 will never legally be able to purchase tobacco in England.

“My Government will introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged fourteen or younger can never be sold cigarettes, and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children,” the King said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the move would mean “a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette and that they and their generation can grow up smoke-free.”

This policy would mean that anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 would never be able to purchase tobacco in a bid to phase out the products for the next generation.

Mr Sunak stressed that smoking will not be criminalised under the ban.

It is hoped the Bill will see up to 1.7 million fewer people smoking by 2075, and potentially even wipe out smoking completely among young people by 2040.

The government laid out its Tobacco and Vapes Bill in today’s King’s Speech, stating: 'If we want to change the direction of our country and build a better future for our children, that means tackling the single biggest entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability and death: smoking.

"The Bill will implement the hard but necessary decisions to get the country on the right path for the future.

"There is no more addictive product that is legally sold in our shops than tobacco.

"And four fifths of smokers start before the age of 20 which is why stopping the start of addiction is vital."

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