The price of electronic cigarettes in Italy is set to rise. Photo: Planetc1/Flickr
A draft bill has been submitted to the Council of Ministers.
If approved, users of 'e-cigarettes' will have to pay between €52 and €133 for their kits, up from between €33 and €84, La Stampa said.
The move would have a severe impact on a sector which has created an estimated 5,000 jobs in Italy in the past few years. There are more than 2,000 e-cigarette shops across the country. Smokers have also been able to save thousands of euros as they opt for a healthier alternative to the traditional tobacco-filled cigarette.
Massimiliano Mancini, the president of the National Association of Electronic Smoking (Anafe), told Il Sole 24 Ore that the move is 'nonsense' and would lead to the closure of at least 60-70 percent of the shops, along with 3,000 job losses.
Meanwhile, Italian health minister Beatrice Lorenzin said today that an ordinance has been signed banned electronic cigarettes in schools.
Invented in China, the battery-powered, pen-sized devices contain liquid nicotine that turns into vapour when inhaled. They are designed to give the user a similar sensation to that of smoking a cigarette.
Their popularity has spiked in recent years although health experts have expressed concerns about chemicals contained within the liquid nicotine, which includes the compound propylene glycol.
The government said yesterday that an increase in VAT from 21 percent to 22 percent will pushed back to October 1st from July 1st.