Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, has proposed to change the excise tax on liquid nicotine to Sh70 ($0.60 cents) per milliliter in a bid to make it less accessible to users, including school children and the youth.
Vaping industry advocates reportedly warned that the new proposals to raise excise tax on nicotine products will push safer alternatives for smokers out of reach and help the black market thrive.
Campaign for Safer Alternatives (Casa), a lobby that aims for smoke-free environments in Africa, said the tax changes would result in higher prices of e-cigarettes and negatively impacting those who rely on them to help them stay off cigarettes.
“Doubling the tax on vapes and nicotine pouches is the opposite of a cash cow. If anything, it will drain more money from the Treasury by forcing vapers into the black market,” said Casa chairman Joseph Magero on the proposals contained in the Finance Bill.
“Already, Kenya’s sky-high vaping taxes have created a thriving black market for vape products, with many shops selling un-taxed vapes in broad daylight.”
He said the tax increase will also raise the healthcare costs for Kenya’s government by leaving vapers with no choice but to revert to smoking or using unregulated black market vapes.