UAE to tax sugary drinks, e-cigarettes from 2020

An excise tax of 50 per cent will be levied on sweetened drinks and a 100 per cent excise tax on electronic smoking devices



That sugar-loaded drink or electronic cigarette is going to cost more come January, as a new tax on certain unhealthy products will go into effect in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE Cabinet announced on Tuesday it would expand the list of products subject to excise tax to include sugary drinks and electronic smoking devices. The tax goes into effect from January 1, 2020.

The excise tax for sweetened drinks will be 50 per cent. At the same time, a 100 per cent excise tax will be applied to electronic smoking devices – regardless of whether they have nicotine or tobacco – and the liquids for electronic smoking devices.

A statement released by the Cabinet General Secretariat said, “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.”

According to a report carried by Emirates News Agency (WAM), the decision for the tax is to help reduce people’s consumption of unhealthy products that can have serious negative effects on the body and mind.

The WAM report added that the decision will also require manufacturers of sweetened drinks to clearly identify the sugar content so that consumers can make sensible, healthy choices.

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

Saudi Arabia has been debating a similar excise tax on harmful products. A 50 per cent excise tax on sweetened drinks and 100 per cent excise tax on electronic smoking devices was set to begin on July 1, but will now go into effect from December 1.

An excise tax in the UAE was applied to specific goods harmful to human health beginning in 2017.