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What is the VAT liability for the supply of vaping products?

Q: Client is a retailer selling vaping products on the high street. What is the VAT liability of their supply?

A: The sale of vaping products would only be reduced-rated (currently 5%) if the products were deemed to be smoking cessation products under Item 1, Group 11 of Schedule 7A of the VAT Act 1994 being the supplies of "pharmaceutical products designed to help people to stop smoking tobacco". This is elaborated on in HMRC Notice 701/57 para 3.4: "The reduced rate applies to all other supplies of pharmaceutical smoking cessation products, including supplies made over the internet. This includes all non-prescribed sales of patches, gums, inhalators and other pharmaceutical products held out for sale for the primary purpose of helping people to quit smoking." The client's sales will therefore be standard-rated unless the client can show they are held out for sale for the primary purpose of helping people to stop smoking.