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Vape levy “stupid, short-sighted and potentially counter-productive”

Smokers’ rights campaigners have criticised the Chancellor after it was announced that the government will introduce excise duty on vaping products from October 2026, with a concurrent “one-off” increase in tobacco duty that could add 40p to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, described the imposition of a vape levy as “stupid, short-sighted and potentially counter-productive”.

“If the government is serious about advocating vaping as a substantially less harmful alternative to smoking, a levy on vaping products sends completely the wrong message to consumers.

“Vaping products are already subject to VAT. Imposing excise duty as well is a stupid, short-sighted and potentially counter-productive measure that could deter many existing smokers from switching to a reduced risk product that has helped millions of smokers to quit.”

Commenting on the Chancellor’s proposed increase in tobacco duty, Clark added:

“Above inflation increases in the cost of tobacco disproportionately punish those on lower incomes.

“Further tax hikes will drive even more smokers to the black market, taking money from legitimate retailers and putting it into the hands of criminal gangs.”

Simon Clark

Mission & Vision



Forest’s mission is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco.


Our key aims and objectives are to:

  • counteract the “denormalisation” of smoking, and smokers
  • prevent further restrictions on the purchase and consumption of tobacco
  • establish closer links with other tobacco-friendly groups at home and abroad
  • build support among consumers of tobacco and other similarly threatened groups
  • highlight the increasingly intrusive nature of Big Government in the lives of private individuals