The Dutch government has no plans to introduce a tax on e-cigarettes, or vapes, and will leave the issue up to the new administration after the November election, the Telegraaf reported on Monday.
The Netherlands is waiting for the green light from the EU to start taxing e-cigarettes and that is likely to take several years, the paper said.
In the meantime, other EU countries have introduced their own local taxes and the Netherlands has done the same for other unhealthy products, such as soft drinks, the paper points out.
Doctors have been warning about the rate at which Dutch youngsters are taking up the habit. One in five youngsters has used an e-cigarette over the past year and 70% of them also smoke real cigarettes.
The 18 age limit for using vapes is also widely flouted and internet sales have flourished, the paper said.
Vaping is much cheaper than smoking cigarettes, which now cost around €11 per pack. By contrast, an electronic cigarette with the equivalent of two packets of cigarettes in terms of nicotine costs around €6.
Junior health minister Maarten van Ooijen told the Telegraaf that he would encourage the next cabinet to bring in a “national tax on e-cigarettes”.
High prices have helped people to stop smoking, but that the outgoing cabinet has preferred to focus on banning flavoured liquids and online sales, he said. “We need to take action against vapes as soon as possible to protect our children, as other EU countries have done.”
The decision not to impose a unilateral “user tax” is down to the previous government which wanted to wait for an EU decision. Given this is still likely to take some time, Van Ooijen said it would be “in the interests of public health” if the next government looked at the national options for such a tax.
The EU does not expect to revise its tobacco tax laws until 2025
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