In the UK, the Local Government Association (LGA) says that VAT on vaping devices should be reduced from 20% to 5% to bring them into line with nicotine gum and patches sales. The LGA, which represents councils in Wales & England, says current legislation allows a 5% rate to be applied to “pharmaceutical products designed to help people stop smoking tobacco”.
Reducing VAT on e-cigarettes and helping smokers admitted to hospitals to quit are being suggested as ways to reduce smoking rates.
The studies argue that growing evidence suggests that using vaping products can help people quit smoking. The LGA says making legal vaping products more affordable and treating them equally with other stop-smoking methods will allow more individuals to leave the habit.
Moreover, Councils are also calling on the Government to impose a Smokefree 2030 levy on tobacco manufacturers. Last year, approximately 13 per cent of the UK population smoked, with smoking-related health issues such as lung cancer still being one of the leading causes of preventable death in the UK.
David Fothergill, the chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “There is increasing evidence that electronic cigarettes, along with other dedicated support, act as an important gateway to help people to stop smoking, which reduces serious illness and death as well as other pressures on health and care services. Every pound invested by the Government in council-run services such as public health helps relieve pressure on other services like the NHS, criminal justice and welfare.”
Meanwhile, the British Thoracic Society (BTS) stated that more healthcare practitioners should be trained in how to help patients to quit smoking.
The BTS said that these short discussions have been proven to inspire smokers to quit.
BTS chair, Dr Paul Walker, said: “Tackling tobacco dependence is fundamental to respiratory medicine and all respiratory professionals need to make every contact count, using that opportunity to offer advice and help to ask smokers to quit. As we begin to recover services post-Covid we need to ensure that all hospitalised smokers are offered advice andtreatment, rather than the minority who currently receive this. “