North West MEP Louise Bours has said that the EU’s proposed tax raise will only discourage from vaping and quitting, costing lives in the long run.

After a number of EU countries reportedly agreed on the matter, members can levy more tax on e-cigarette products.

Currently, e-cigarettes, carrying a VAT levy of 20%, aren’t taxed at the level of normal cigarettes.

“Only days ago we learned from a study by the University College London that 20,000 people a year give up smoking tobacco and use e-cigarettes instead.

“They also found that while just 5% of smokers trying to give up without help are actually successful in staying off tobacco, those who vape as an alternative have a 50% success rate of quitting smoking,” said Bours, UKIP health spokesman.”

“When you look at those figures and realise how many lives could be being saved, as well as the savings that would bring to the NHS, it makes the EU’s idea of raising taxes on potential life-saving devices look like an act of sheer folly.”

“If we want to encourage people to give up smoking, which we do, then surely we should give them every encouragement instead of raising taxes on the very devices that are helping them.”