Ministers will seek to ban the sale of e cigarettes to children under 18 this week and make it illegal for adults to buy e cigarettes for children.

They are acting in response to concerns that the battery powered devices, which simulate smoking by vaporising a liquid solution that is usually infused with some nicotine, encourage the uptake of smoking.

There are also worries, voiced by the British Medical Association and England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, at a lack of rigorous, peer reviewed studies to back the claim of manufacturers that the product is safe.

E cigarettes give the smoker a hit of nicotine a highly addictive drug. An estimated 1.3 million of the current 10 million smokers across Britain have now switched to e cigarettes.

Tobacco companies, including Altria Group, owner of the Philip Morris company, invested in e cigarettes in the face of pressure over the dangers of their products, which include , countries across the world, including ones as varied as , Colombia, Panama and Uruguay, have already banned their sale to children.

Davies said it was important for the British government to protect children given the potential risks. She said “We do not yet know the harm that e cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk free. E cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and the amount of nicotine and other chemical constituents and contaminants, including vaporised flavourings, varies between products meaning they could be extremely damaging to young people’s health.”

There is no legal restriction on under 18s buying products containing nicotine, which represents a legal loophole at a time when e cigarettes are becoming popular with under 18s. In an attempt to further restrict children’s access to cigarettes, a new offence will be created which will mean any adult who buys cigarettes or other tobacco products for someone who is under 18 could be given a 50 fixed penalty notice or fined up to 2,500.

Two in five children (41%) of 15 year olds who currently smoke say they usually buy their cigarettes from other people rather than buying them from a shop.

Nearly all (95%) of 11 to 15 year olds who smoke have managed to get someone else to buy cigarettes for them in a shop at least once in the past year.

As taxes on cigarettes go up, so does smuggling, study finds

Lucky strike cigarettes

More than half of the cigarettes for sale in New York are smuggled into the state illegally the highest percentage in the country, according to a recent report from the Tax Foundation.

According to the non partisan research group, increased excise taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking have, in fact, created lucrative incentives for black market trafficking between states.



According to the report, 56.9 percent of the cigarettes sold in the Empire State are brought in from other states. New York state has the highest cigarette taxes in the country a whopping $4.35 a pack. If you live in New York City, it s another $1.50 per pack, bringing taxes to $5.85 per pack, with the overall cost of a pack in the city in the $12 to $15 range.

Arizona is the country s second largest net importer of smuggled smokes with 51.5 percent of its cigarettes smuggled in illegally. New Mexico follows at 48.1 percent, Washington at 48 percent and Wisconsin at 34.6 percent, according to the survey.

Arizona s $2 cigarette tax is also among the highest in the Southwest and ranks twelfth highest in the country.

Across the country, cigarette taxes rose in 30 states and the District of Columbia between 2006 and 2012.

Public policies often have unintended consequences that outweigh their benefits, Joseph Henchman, one of the authors of the Tax Foundation study, wrote. One consequence of high state cigarette tax rates has been increased smuggling as criminals procure discounted packs from low tax states to sell in high tax states.

The Tax Foundation report also pulled data from peer reviewed studies, including Tobacco Control, which looked at packs of cigarettes found as litter in five northeast cities. Of those examined, 58.7 percent of them did not have proper local stamps.

The states which had the highest outbound smuggling rates were New Hampshire at 24.2 percent, Wyoming at 22.3 percent, Idaho at 21.3 percent, Virginia at 21.2 percent and Delaware at 20.9 percent.

Smuggling, according to the report, includes counterfeit state tax stamps, hijacked trucks, counterfeit versions of legitimate brands and officials turning a blind eye.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, even though authorities have taken steps to reduce cigarette smuggling, nearly $5 billion in revenue in 2010 was lost because of smuggling.


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