The Government should cut value added tax (VAT) on the sale of vaping products to help people to stop smoking, the LGA has said.
It has called for VAT on e-cigarette sales to be reduced from 20 to 5 per cent to bring it in line with sales of nicotine gum and patches.
Current legislation allows a 5 per cent rate to be applied to “pharmaceutical products designed to help people stop smoking tobacco”.
The LGA said there is growing evidence that using e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking, with a recent study suggesting that people who use vaping products, such as e-cigarettes, are twice as likely to stop smoking than those who use nicotine patches.
The LGA has also called for ministers to impose a Smokefree 2030 Levy on tobacco manufacturers. The revenue generated could be targeted at geographical areas, occupational groups and communities where cessation services are most needed.
Last year, around 13 per cent of the UK population smoked, with smoking-related illness – such as lung cancer – still being one of the leading causes of preventable death in the UK.
As well as impacting upon health, smoking places a significant burden on the public purse – to the tune of £12.6 billion each year – and on the local economy, through sick days and lost productivity.
An LGA spokesperson said: “Council public health teams work hard to help reduce smoking rates in their areas, alongside local charities and community groups, and it is testament to their efforts that smoking rates continue to fall.
“Cutting the VAT on the sale of e-cigarettes would be an important way to continue to encourage more people to quit smoking and would bring them in line with other cessation methods, such as patches and gum.”