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2017 began much as 2016 ended, with the issue of taxation dominating the agenda.

Just before the Christmas break, the European Commission launched a consultation on proposals for an EU-wide excise regime and suggests tax rates of 20% and 50%!  I urge all those with a genuine interest in vaping to respond to this consultation.  It is a tick box form so will take little time.

On the 17th of January, along with the Chairman of the IBVTA Vendors Committee, I was in Brussels to present our arguments against an EU-wide vape tax to members of the Fiscalis Project Group (Tobacco).  This group is made up of the 20 Member States with an active interest in this subject.  Also present were the European Commission and an Italian based economic consultancy that is producing some work for the Commission as to the viability of subjecting vape products to this additional taxation.

Presenting alongside IBVTA were two of the world’s largest tobacco companies that also have interest in vaping.  It was disappointing to see one of those tobacco giants making the case for and setting how the Commission should tax vape products.  In our presentation, we made the following five points:

1.     Vape products are not tobacco products and therefore should not be subjected to a tobacco style taxation regime.

2.     It would be bad for public health, sending some vapers back to smoking and discouraging smokers from switching to vaping.

3.     It would have a negative impact on the compliant, legitimate vape industry as some vape businesses are forced to close and as vapers go to the informal economy to buy their vape products.

4.     The arguments put forward in defence of this proposal do not stand up to scrutiny and the proposal goes against core EU principles.

5.     Critically, we know from experience that it would be costly and difficult to administer, and would generate very little income compared to the wider costs associated with this proposed tax. 

IBVTA will continue to make the case against these proposals

On a more positive note, January has seen the launch of IBVTA Business Support, a new suite of membership HR, legal, and employment advice benefits to help IBVTA members in the day-to-day running of their businesses.

All IBVTA members now have unlimited access to the following:

·         HR advice line and website with over 550 related documents.

·         Legal advice line and online library of template legal documents.

·         Health & safety advice line and online library of related documents.

·         Tax and VAT advice line.

·         £1 million of excess free legal expense insurance.  

To find out more about this, and the other benefits we offer please visit: www.ibvta.org.uk/join-us/member-benefits.

Finally, 2017 is a critical year for the vape industry with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations coming into full effect in May.  In addition to this, new guidance will be published on advertising, decisions will be taken in Brussels regarding taxation of vape products, and the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union will begin.

These are challenging times, but they are also exciting times.

On the 27th April IBVTA will be holding their annual conference at the MacDonald Hotel in Manchester.  At this conference, you will hear from leading figures at the heart of all of these issues, whether they are politicians, industry insiders, or civil servants.  At the end of the day you will leave this conference ready to face the challenges and better placed to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead for your business.

This conference will be your opportunity to meet with and question the people making the decisions that impact your business.  It will also be a chance to meet with industry colleagues and to hear from experts in the fields of business, advertising, and insurance, to name but a few.

Whether you are a vendor, distributor, importer or manufacturer, this conference is a must attend event for all involved in the independent vape industry.  To find out more and to book tickets, please visit: www.ibvta.org.uk/event-directory-2/ibvta-conference-2017

Richard Hyslop

Richard Hyslop

Chief Executive

Independent British Vape Trade Association