The Free Market Foundation has raised concerns about the government’s plans to regulate e-cigarette and vaping products, which it says could push more people towards traditional cigarettes and the illicit market.
The regulations will primarily be introduced through the draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill and new taxes, the think tank said.
“The South African government argues that e-cigarette and vaping products are harmful and warrant regulation. However, e-cigarettes and vaping innovations are tobacco harm-reduction products, aimed at mitigating the adverse health impacts associated with combustible tobacco products,” it said.
It warned that heavy regulation will lead to exorbitant costs, and consequently disincentivises the uptake of alternatives, leading to the opposite of the intended effect.
“The total excise duty to be levied on nicotine and a non-nicotine solution, e-cigarettes and vaping, will range from R33.30 to R346. Therefore, poorer communities, suffering disproportionately from tobacco-related diseases, would be more incentivised to continue smoking cigarettes than pick healthier alternatives,” it said.
Staff Writer – Business Tech – 2022-03-22.