UAE to tax e-smoking products, sweetened drinks starting 2020

Sweetened drinks

DUBAI — The UAE Cabinet announced on Tuesday that from Jan. 1, 2020 the list of excise taxable products would be expanded to include sweetened beverages, sugary drinks and electronic smoking devices.

The decision was taken in order to curb consumption of unhealthy goods and modify consumers’ behavior, state news agency WAM reported.

“The decision comes to support the UAE government's efforts to enhance public health and prevent chronic diseases directly linked to sugar and tobacco consumption,” the Cabinet General Secretariat said in the statement.

A beverage with added sugar or sweeteners of any kind will now be subject to a 50 percent tax. Manufactures will also need to identify the sugar content of their product in order for consumers to make healthy choices.

Electronic smoking devices will be subject to a 100 percent tax, regardless if the device or liquids contain nicotine or tobacco.

“The decision aims at reducing the consumption of harmful products that put the health of people and environment at risk,” the statement said.

This tax follows the 2017 introduction of an excise tax on other goods that were concluded to be harmful to human health or the environment. The tax came into effect Oct. 1, 2017 with a 50 percent levy imposed on soft drinks and 100 percent on tobacco products and energy drinks. — Al Arabiya English