Home Business News The UK risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy 

The UK risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy 

by LLB Finance Reporter
28th Feb 24 9:57 am

In a recent controversial move, the UK government, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is reportedly planning to impose increased taxation on vaping products alongside traditional cigarettes.

This leaked plan has sparked significant concern among UK consumers, as it threatens to undermine the nation’s progress in harm reduction and smoking cessation efforts.

Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, expressed grave concerns regarding the government’s direction:

“It appears that in a bid to generate additional tax revenue, the UK government is willing to compromise the health of thousands of smokers. This is yet another step in the wrong direction.

By making less harmful alternatives to smoking more expensive, the government is effectively deterring smokers from making the switch. This measure will disproportionately affect the less affluent and exacerbate health inequalities, especially during a cost of living crisis.”

Statistical evidence supports the disproportionate impact of smoking on lower socio-economic groups. In 2021, the Office for National Statistics highlighted a stark disparity in smoking prevalence related to economic status in the UK.

Unemployed individuals reported a significantly higher smoking rate (25.7%) compared to those in paid employment (13.3%). Furthermore, in England, a pronounced smoking prevalence was observed in the most deprived neighbourhoods (23.8%) in contrast to the least deprived (6.8%).

Landl further criticised the government’s proposed bans on disposable vapes and generational restrictions on Heat-Not-Burn products, stating,

“Along with the proposed tax increases, these bans will only serve to transform the UK from a leader in tobacco harm reduction into a haven for black market activities.”

The World Vapers’ Alliance urges the UK government to reconsider these measures, advocating for a balanced approach that prioritises public health and supports smokers in transitioning to less harmful alternatives.

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