With a majority vote, the House plenum on Friday passed a bill imposing a tax on electronic cigarettes.
The law introduces a new category called ‘liquid for electronic cigarette use’ with a consumption tax of €0.12 per ml of liquid.
Additionally, the bill provides for heat-not-burn tobacco products that are expected to soon be imported to Cyprus and be charged with a €150 consumption tax per kilo.
The bill was tabled by ruling Disy and passed by 26 MPs in favour and 17 against.
Akel MP Adamos Adamou did not stick with his party, who voted against the bill, saying that as an oncologist it was his duty to vote for it.
All smoking products contain carcinogens and even if the tax hike amounted to 1,000 per cent, he would still vote in favour, he said during Friday’s session.
Akel MP Aristos Damianou criticized the government for introducing yet more taxes saying it was only on Monday that the finance minister had said no new taxes would be imposed and yet a bill to do just that was before parliament.
Damianou added although there was a steady increase in the consumption of cigars, there was no increase in their consumption tax.
Rather, taxes were being imposed on electronic cigarettes that despite containing products that are bad for people’s health, could potentially help people quit smoking.
Green’s MP Giorgos Perdikis reiterated Damianou’s view, adding that it was only five years ago a tax hike had been introducing on smoking products and yet there was still favourable taxation on cigars.
Taxes reaped from this bill should go towards a special fund to campaign against smoking, he added.