The stated objective of the Public Health (Sale of Tobacco Products and Non-Medicinal Nicotine Systems) Bill, in relation to vaping products, is to provide for the introduction of a licensing system for the sale of Non-Medicinal Nicotine Delivery Systems. Vape Business Ireland (VBI) does not support the introduction of a licensing system for the sale of vaping products because such a system goes beyond that required to track the sellers of vaping products and places an unnecessary continual administrative burden on the supply chain, while not being enforceable in an online context.
VBI would however support a once-off registration system such as the registration system for owners of food establishments.
A licensing system would not be appropriate because:
Vaping products are not cigarettes, do not contain tobacco and are not an excisable product. They are consumer electronic products for adults and as such there is no justification for the application of a tobacco-style licensing system to the product. To do so would be disproportionate.
Vaping products are 95% less harmful than cigarettes and offer a viable alternative to those looking for an alternative to smoking.It is critical that we continue to provide options for those looking to switch from smoking. By placingan ongoing financial and administrative burden on retailers selling vaping products through the introduction of a tobacco-type licensing system, there is little doubt that some retailers will cease to sell vaping products and e-liquids. This flies in the face of providing adult smokers with viable alternatives to smoking.
Should a license fee for the sale of vaping products be introduced, it is most likely that the price of the consumer electronic product would have to increase in order not to impact the retailers bottom line. This will have a negative impact on the 150,000 plus users of vaping products in Ireland.
Should a license system and fee be introduced, it must incorporate online sellers of vaping products. VBI estimate that around 40% of vaping products are sold online, much of which comes from outside the State. The Tax Strategy Group’s General Excise paper, when discussing whether an excise on vaping products is appropriate, stated that “the implementation and collection of such a tax would be difficult given the wide variety of ways in which these products are supplied to the consumer”. In order to ensure all sellers of vaping products, online and bricks and mortar shops, register and pay the license fee it would be necessary to prohibit the sale of vaping products within the State unless they have a physical presence or an appointed agent within the country who would be responsible for compliance and financial matters. In the context of the EU Single Market, this would be extremely difficult to implement.
Vaping products and e-liquids are already highly regulated and under TPDII, manufacturers and importers of vaping products and refill containers must notify the HSE of all new products placed on the market and mandatory registration for retailers engaged in cross-border distance sales of vaping products or refill containers in Member States.