Quitting tobacco by vaping saves smokers who switch up to €3,400 a year
Increased taxes or a flavours ban will drive up sales of unregulated products
Introducing taxes on vaping does not save vapers’ health or their savings according to the new Respect Vapers report, Cutting cost, reducing harm: The economic benefits of quitting smoking with vaping.
The report found that, by using vaping to quit, the average smoker saves up to €3,416 every year. That represents roughly 4 monthly social welfare payments.
It currently costs €5,110 a year to smoke 20 cigarettes a day. The number of smokers using vaping is substantially higher amongst the low-income groups and the unemployed.
If the Government bans flavours or increase taxes on the products, vapers have indicated they will seek to purchase their products online, unregulated sources or return to tobacco.
Respect Vapers, which represents over 200,000 people in Ireland who used vaping to quit smoking, have warned the Government to refrain from introducing taxes on vaping products.
They believe such action will have a serious impact on reducing tobacco addiction in Ireland and hamper the savings those on low-incomes and their households can achieve.
Whilst smoking is commonly considered a public health concern, the purchase of tobacco products consumes a considerable percentage of smokers ‘disposable income.
Experts, including the HSE, recognise that tobacco use “perpetuates poverty” and “reduces social mobility.” Independent research shows that 40% of unemployed are smokers.
Mr Joe Dunne, Respect Vapers has asked the Government to avoid killing off vaping with excise taxes, as vaping it is a major contributor to tobacco harm reduction.
“It will reduce the savings seen in this report, thereby directly undermining the potential to utilise vaping as a poverty alleviation measure. As international research shows. it will drive those wishing to continue to vape switch to online purchases of unregulated products*.
“In a survey of our members, one in five vapers said they’d go to smoking if the Government increases taxes on vapes. A vaping tax would do more harm than good for the health of this country.
“Rather than taxing vaping out of the reach of low-income smokers we urge the Government to actively promote vaping as an alternative to smoking, particularly amongst low-income areas. “It must empower individuals to remove themselves, and potentially their households, from poverty and deprivation,” he said.
The full report is available HERE.