Vapers will go to black market in case of tax increases, survey finds

Last month, WVA conducted a survey among its members about the perception of consumer interest representation among policymakers and regulatory changes in regards to vaping, including potential flavour ban and tax increases.

WVA surveyed its members who are currently vaping. A total of 415 vapers participated in the survey from 36 countries across the world. 

Survey results show that higher taxation would push almost a third of vapers to the black market. According to the survey, tax increases would split the consumption behaviour of vapers: 

  • 31% (126 responses) would keep vaping like they are currently and pay the higher price;
  • 30% (119 responses) say they would vape less to make up for the increased price;
  • 28% (113 responses) would try to get their products on the black market.

These results show that increased taxation won’t change the behaviour of those who can afford higher prices as they would just pay the additional price on the product. The worrying aspect is that for many vaping would become a luxury good and almost a third would be pushed to the black market, which risks providing worse quality or unregulated products. At the same time, almost another third would reduce vaping, which increases the chances of relapsing to smoking. 

The European Commission is currently in the process of revising the rules of the Tobacco Excise Tax Directive. In 2020, the Commission published an evaluation of the Directive, concluding that the current rules no longer work to reduce tobacco consumption. The proposal for the revised Tobacco Excise tax Directive is expected to be published in the fourth quarter of 2022.

If Europe is committed to reducing the harmful effects of smoking, it should be committed to keeping vaping products affordable to consumers. It has been proven that increasing prices on vaping products drives cigarette sales, as confirmed by the survey results. Therefore, if the EU chooses to increase the excise tax on e-cigarette products, it should be crafted carefully in order not to achieve the reverse effects of pushing ex-smokers back to cigarettes. 

WVA is currently running a public petition to the Members of the European Parliament calling on the European policymakers to embrace harm reduction approach and refrain from increasing taxation. Learn more at www.worldvapersalliance.com/back-vaping-beat-smoking.

You can find all survey results här.


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