The New Year risks disappointing vapers in Italy. Beginning January 1st, purchasing e-liquids online is now illegal, whether or not these products contain nicotine. Not only will this cause black market sales to increase, but there will also be huge benefits for cigarette manufacturers.
While the Italian state already punishes vapers with a , it is also setting the excise duty for the price of (Philip Morris) at only 1.27 Euros per packet. What’s worse, the excise rate drops to 77 cents for cigarette packets related to the tobacco heating product Glo, made by British American Tobacco.
Philip Morris has a major role in the government’s new decree. Indeed, Reuters recently uploaded an internal document entitled “Reduced Risk Products Briefing” that confirms that the tobacco producer has been envisioning a marketing campaign since 2014. Philip Morris does not produce vaping products because vaping products are not profitable enough for the company.
Could the recent installation of two new Iqos factories in Italy have influenced Italy’s Prime Minister to publish the new decree?
A decision against public health
As a result of these developments, the price of e-liquids will skyrocket, while vaping stores will be greatly reduced. This does nothing to discourage smokers to reduce their tobacco consumption by switching over to e-cigarettes. Instead of providing a way out of tobacco addiction, the Italian state prefers to turn people away from vaping. For Italy’s Anti-Smoking League, this is a question of ignoring a major public health issue.
Although vaping products are highly taxed, this is not the case for tobacco heating devices. The multinational corporations Philip Morris, BAT and Imperial Tobacco have all agreed upon a price of 5 Euros per pack of tobacco-heated cigarettes, which in Italy is around the same price as a traditional pack of cigarettes. By aligning these prices, Big Tobacco’s strategy is clearly and purely commercial. Reducing taxes on a pack of tobacco-heated cigarettes by 400%, Big Tobacco is considerably increasing its profits in Italy.
While awaiting potential judicial decisions, the entire vaping community in Italy remains affected. E-cigarettes are proven to help quit smoking, which is why vape fans hope that the government will reconsider the exorbitant new tax rates.