What would be the conversion formula in order to tax e-cigarettes similar to cigarettes?
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Publication date: 2023-04-25
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement):A1
Calculating tax for tobacco products for half a century was straightforward, as cigarettes were practically the only relevant product in most European countries1. In the last five years, new tobacco and nicotine products challenged policymakers, who wished to line their tax with the primary type of cigarettes. The aim of the Ministry of Health in Israel was to equalize all tobacco/nicotine products taxation closely2. When the need for taxation of e-cigarettes arose, there was necessary to develop a conversion formula between e-cigarettes and cigarettes based on the Ministry of Health assumptions.

The Smoke-Free Israel team conducted a literature review of the different formulas developed and used worldwide for converting cigarettes for e-cigarettes and interviewed tax experts from the World Health Organization, Smoke-Free Partnership and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Following these actions and based on various assumptions concerning, i.a., the concentration of the liquid and the different product prices in the market, the team constructed the optimal conversion formula between e-cigarettes and packed cigarettes, which was accepted by decision-makers during the process of formulating the regulation both in the government and parliament.

According to the accepted formula, 1 ml. e-liquid will be considered one pack of cigarettes for tax purposes. Since each subtype of the e-cigarette is different in its capacity and concentration, there was a need to conduct adjustments for calculating the tax for different e-liquids, pods, and disposable e-cigarettes.

Using a conversion formula based on packed cigarettes as the basic unit and a benchmark for a liquid capacity of an e-cigarette is essential for tax adjustment of all subtypes of e-cigarettes to reach an optimal tax rate between all e-cigarette subtypes and beyond.

Spindle TR, Eissenberg T. Pod Mod Electronic Cigarettes - An Emerging Threat to Public Health. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(6):e183518. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3518
Kaliner U. Position Paper Regarding the Taxation of Electronic Cigarettes. In Hebrew. Israel Ministry of Health Public Health Service; 2019.
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