The single use vape market appears to be worth some £750 million a year. At a fiver a piece that’s 150 million units. Oh, and when we run the numbers back the other way each vape contains half a penny’s worth of lithium. At today’s very high valuation that is.
Ten tonnes of lithium – despite the fact that this is becoming one of those little factoids that is doing the rounds – is trivia.
It’s also true that there is that Pigou Tax idea to think about. That there are externalities, not properly contained in market prices and a tax should be used to correct that. But that idea does insist that the tax should – must – be equal to the size of the problem. It’s not in fact true that this is an externality, that ha’penny of lithium is already included in the market price. But imagine it isn’t, the tax should be that half penny. £4 is overdoing it by only 800 times.
People are losing their minds here. This is like trying to judge the overall health of British sport by concentrating on the question of Sheffield Wednesday’s B Team left fullback. Something of interest to perhaps five people – the manager, the two potential fullbacks and their Mums.