Raid Linked To Government Monopoly On The Selling Of Vaping Products
Cops raided the Svapor Expo in Italy over the weekend seizing all the vaping products and in effect shutting down the country’s vaping major vaping trade show.
Full details are sketchy at the moment but the raid was carried out by the country’s financial police the Guardia di Finanza who arrived mob handed to carry out what has been called a ‘pre-opening inspection’.
Within moments of the police raid ALL e-liquids being exhibited were seized and some reports claim exhibitors were ‘followed’ to double check they were not in possession of ‘contraband’!
I’m relying on Google translate to get the full facts from websites and social media – which is hardly the best – but the fact remains the attack by the Italian government on a vaping expo is a disgrace.
From what I can gather it appears to be linked to the Italian Government’s monopoly of the selling of all things vape related.
Last year the Government imposed a so called ‘super tax’ on e-liquids of a staggering $6 on every single 10ml bottle of e-liquid with or without nicotine.
It also banned online and bricks and mortar vape shops from selling vaping gear unless they held a ‘tobacco license’.
The Government bill justified the outrageous tax as a way to tackle the illegal market adding:
Sales will be done through authorized channels, and can therefore be traced and controlled, which will lead to a reasonable reduction of the illegal market and higher budget revenues from the consumption tax
In effect this has made vaping more expensive than smoking in the country!
Italian Vapers Describe Raid As Something Out Of A “Police State!”
Social media has been filled with furious Italian vapers condemning the move and suggesting the current 200million Euro shortfall in ‘vape tax’ is the reason behind the raid.
According to SkyVape the show went ahead opening up 2 hours later than planned as a protest at the raid:
Tomorrow the Fair resumes in line with the event without liquids only with [flavors] and hardware…
They tell us that not even the lawyers have been able to do much because the preventive seizure has already been implemented.
Words fail me if I’m honest.
Given Italy is within the EU and therefore within the TPD legislation it was expected the country was going to take the ‘minimal approach’ to implementing the vape laws.
However the huge tax and tobacco license loophole they’ve built into the legislation put hundreds of smaller vape shops out of business literally overnight.
It would appear this heavy handed raid was a bid by the cash strapped Government to claw back what they see as lost tax revenue from the current monopoly known as the Emendamento Vicari.
There are around 1.5 million regular vapers in Italy and the country has been classed as the third biggest user of e-cigs in the EU.
If we get any more info we’ll let you know – but if you think about it this Government monopoly is more like a Mafia style protection racket.
Here’s a link [with translation] to the Sigmagazine with more info.