South Africa flirts with e-cigarette tax which could set back the fight against smoking

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Public consultations recently closed on plans to impose an excise tax on e-cigarettes in South Africa, and the suggested policy proposals have already proven controversial.

In particular, the South African government intends to introduce a new excise tax on e-cigarettes, applying the duty to both non-nicotine and nicotine solutions used in these devices.

Thanks to piggybacking on existing policy guidelines related to other excisable products, users may expect to pay duties ranging from ZAR 33.60 to ZAR 346.00 per item, depending on the nicotine content and size of different products, an amount which could even be higher than the excise tax on a pack of cigarettes.

Harm reduction advocates have expressed their alarm over the proposed rules, which could see e-cigarette products regulated and taxed in a similar vein to combustible tobacco products. Indeed, for South African consumers looking to take advantage of less harmful alternatives to smoking, the planned vaping tax could mean the difference between life and death.

Smoking is a notoriously difficult habit to kick, despite the fact that the health risks associated with smoking have been exhaustively documented over decades of research. Smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung diseases, while individuals exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease.

Read full article here.

Editorial Board – Africa Times – 2022-03-17.

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