THE UK government is set to introduce a tax on heated tobacco for the first time.
In the 2018 Budget announced this week, “heat not burn” smoking alternatives, which include brands such as Philip Morris’s iQOS, will be taxed at the same rate as hand-rolling tobacco from April 2019.
Britain’s The Mirror newspaper discovered the “hidden” measure after painstakingly trawling through the Budget’s red book, after it was released by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday (October 30th).
Duty on rolling tobacco amounts to around £7 for the smallest (30g) packs, while under the new tobacco duty, prices of cigarettes will cost £10 for a packet of 20.
But experts say that the government’s tax hike on tobacco will do little to discourage smokers with a better way of helping people quit to help develop and promote e-cigarettes and vaping instead.
Giles Roca of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said: “Tobacco taxes have increased by 80% since 2010.
“Today’s announcement will simply encourage more smokers to avoid paying UK tax by purchasing their tobacco from abroad or via the black market.
“The Treasury lost £2.5 billion in tobacco tax in 2016/17, whilst the respected Office for Budget Responsibility said last year that increasing tax on cigarettes would no longer raise more money as the point of income maximization had been reached.
“The most effective way to get smokers to quit is not high tax but the development of new products such as e-cigarettes.”