The European Commission will propose a minimum vape tax for the entire EU

All member states of the European Union will be subject to a minimum excise duty on vaping products, according to the European Commission. The new tax would be a part of the updated Tobacco Excise Directive (TED), which would also include the first charge on heated tobacco products as well as a doubling of the minimum tax on cigarettes.

According to a draught report from the European Commission (EC), the Financial Times broke the news first. According to the newspaper, the minimum EU tax on cigarettes would increase from €1.80 to €3.60 a pack if the proposed tax plan were to pass, and the EU would levy a minimum wholesale duty of 55% on heated tobacco products.

The proposed vape tax was not given many specifics. According to the document, vaping items will be taxed based on the amount of nicotine they contain, with “lower-strength vapes” being subject to a 20 percent wholesale charge and “stronger” products being subject to a 40 percent wholesale duty. Since the EU restricts nicotine strength in vapes to 2% (20 mg/mL), the proposal is especially unclear because it did not define what “stronger” meant.

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The final specifics of the EC proposal will be made public in December. The levy needs to be accepted by all EU member states before it can be implemented. The TED is not passed by a majority of the European Parliament, unlike the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which establishes uniform criteria for tobacco and e-cigarette products supplied in the EU. Instead, it can only be enacted with the unanimous consent of the EU Council, a body made up of a minister from each member state.

The level of any vape tax would be a floor, not a ceiling. To put it another way, individual EU members would be free to impose a greater tax, but not a lower one.

Currently, there is some type of vape tax in place in more than half of the 27 EU member countries. Germany, the biggest and wealthiest EU member, approved a tax on vaping items most recently. In July 2022, a levy of €0.16 per millilitre (which gradually rises to €0.32 in 2026) went into force.

The pasteurised oral tobacco known as Swedish snus is credited for virtually eradicating regular smoking among Swedish males, according to the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, and the European Commission has also proposed a minimal tariff on it. The news sparked a momentary uproar in Sweden before the EC denied it intended to have Sweden impose taxes on snus, which is illegal in all EU nations except Sweden.