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UAE to expand 'sin tax' to cover e-cigarettes, vapes and non-fizzy sugary drinks
Published: 28.08.2019 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
E-cigarettes, vaping devices and tobacco refills are to be hit with a 100 per cent tax from January, the UAE Cabinet has said.
The expansion of the 2017 excise tax on tobacco follows the legalisation of the sale of battery-powered smoking devices in mid-April.
Juices and drinks containing added sugar and sweeteners will also be subject to a 50 per cent tax.
In a series of tweets, the UAE Government Communication Office said the move was intended to “reduce consumption of harmful goods, prevent chronic illnesses linked to sugar and tobacco and help consumers make sensible healthy choices”.
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The UAE became the latest country to allow the legal sale of e-cigarettes this year. Until then, selling the products to consumers was illegal but owning and smoking them was not and they were widely used in public.

Abdulla Al Maeeni, head of the product standards agency, Esma, at the time said there was concern about the spread of unregulated devices bought online and a “lack of knowledge of the ingredients used”.

Doctors remain divided on the move. Some argue they give problem smokers a much-needed alternative to traditional cigarettes, which are filled with tar and other dangerous chemicals.
Critics say they are an attractive way for young people to start smoking.

Since then, tobacco giants have put e-cigarettes on sale.

Philip Morris introduced iQOS in supermarkets across the UAE in July.
The battery-powered nicotine delivery devices heat tobacco sticks, rather than burning like cigarettes, to create less harmful toxins when inhaled, it is claimed. They are currently priced from Dh250, but unless the manufacturer absorbs some of the cost, this will increase to about Dh500 when the 100 per cent excise is applied from January.

Replacement tobacco sticks, called Heets, are already taxed under existing excise regulations.

The new levy on sugary drinks will also hit brands that escaped the 50 per cent tax on fizzy drinks that caused the price of Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Pepsi to rise. The government is expected to release a list of taxable products within days.

Source: The National Back to News