On Wednesday, the Riigikogu passed a law amendment exempting e-cigarette liquids from excise duty until the end of 2022.
Tarmo Kruusimäe, chairman of the Riigikogu's smoke-free Estonia support group, said that this amendment will help save the health of the Estonian people.
"From June 1, 2018, an extremely high excise duty on e-cigarette liquids came into force in Estonia, as a result of which the black market and cross-border trade flourished. By suspending the collection of excise duties for two years, we are giving traders the opportunity to lower the prices of e-liquid products," Kruusimäe said.
According to him, a break in excise duty payment provides an opportunity to change the habits of consumers by redirecting them back to legal, laboratory-tested products.
Kruusimäe added that Estonia's tobacco policy so far has been only based on scolding, without the realization that it is not easy for people to overcome an addiction. "Estonia ranks third in Europe in tobacco deaths. Proven and less harmful alternative tobacco products are helping people quit cigarettes. By offering alternatives, we help maintain the health of the Estonian people," he added.
Kruusimäe said that the temporary suspension of excise duties will help to find the optimal solution for the future, which would represent the interests of consumers and traders.
Altogether 53 MPs on Wednesday voted in favor of the bill of amendment to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act initiated by Isamaa, the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and the Center Party.
The amendments will take effect on April 1, 2021. According to the amendments, excise duty on e-cigarette liquids will be suspended until the end of 2022. Also, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act will not apply to e-cigarette liquids during that time. During the period when e-liquids are not subject to excise duty, e-cigarette tax stamps do not give rise to an obligation to pay excise duty.
By suspending the collection of excise duty, entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to reduce the price of e-liquid and thus create an incentive for users to purchase products from Estonian sales outlets, not from border trade or the black market.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste