The UAE has extended its excise or “Sin Tax,” on products that are considered as harmful for people’s health and the environment. The government announced last week that vape users will now have to pay 100 percent excise tax on all products related to vaping. If you are a frequent vaper in JEDDAH or enjoy an Abu Dhabi vape, your wallets might be emptier from January 2020 because this tax will put a burden on your habit.
Excise tax is not new to residents in the United Arab Emirates. It was previously introduced in 2017, where the prices of tobacco were raised 100 percent, and sugary drinks were taxed 50 percent as well. The government has reintroduced the sin tax to include the sale of e-cigarettes. Previously, it was illegal to sell these products, but people could still own and use them if they were bought from overseas. The United Arab Emirates has finally allowed selling e-cigarettes, and that is why they had to suddenly introduce the appropriate taxes to match other smoke-related products on the market.
The government is still concerned about the safety of e-cigarettes despite them being the much-needed alternative to cigarettes that are filled with dangerous chemicals such as tar. They are also worried that vapes being trendy can convince non-smokers and young people to take up smoking.
The excise tax is already at a maximum of a hundred percent, but this could increase further if the government deems it as harmful and decide to discourage more people from smoking. A Phillip Morris IQOS in supermarkets that once cost 250 AED, will now be priced at AED 500 from January 2020. The government will also monitor devices brought by passengers from overseas to ensure that they are only for personal use, and not for any selling purposes. All merchants will need to start paying this tax, and instead of absorbing it themselves, the charges will be passed onto consumers. If you are a frequent vaper, this is terrible news unless you have a generous budget to keep paying for the more expensive devices and liquids in JEDDAH. The government aims to reduce smoking and all harmful activities under its sin tax, and there is no telling how much more these taxes will gradually increase.
E-cigarettes were not the only products included in the new tax. The UAE government is also increasing prices of sugary drinks, so your favourite Red Bull energy drink could become fifty percent more expensive. This is a hundred percent increase in the price of sugary drinks since the first excise tax was implemented. Perhaps it is time to finally lose weight and live healthier by reducing our consumption and dependence on these products. Otherwise, we will need to increase our income somehow to continue enjoying this lifestyle.