Say No To Tampon Tax

I don’t mean to split hairs or even cotton fibres on this topic but I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will think of us when he sets the budget for the year ahead. I heard on the radio that he is indicating he will be kind to motorists and that’s very nice of him but he should do something bolder for women by abolishing the tampon tax.

Sanitary products have a 5% VAT charge on them which I feel is shocking considering it is a biological issue that affects half the population and sanitary products are not luxury purchases. If a zero rate of VAT can be charged on the majority of food products, books/magazines and children’s clothes why not sanitary products?

Abolishing the VAT charge would only save us about £4.00 per year but surely that’s not the point – we have to buy these products every single month for the vast majority of our lives.


9 Comments to “Say No To Tampon Tax”

  1. Same thing in Canada, Ontario… we get charged a 5% tax for feminine hygiene products… and some retailers still do it WRONG and charge the entire 13% for normal products. I can’t imagine how many people who purchase these products and get charged wrongly and don’t notice! The 5% is bad enough, let alone a combined 13% tax because it’s not like pads and tampons are CHEAP to begin with!

  2. Hi,

    That’s shocking that some retailers may be over charging. What annoys me about it is that it is a necessary purchase for the majority of women at least once a month whereas VAT is usually charged on non-essential items. If kids clothes are tax free why not sanitary items too?

    Going off on a slight tangent, did you know that the last time I was in India (2010) there was a Delhi-wide tampon shortage? They had all been removed by the supplier and it seems like there is only one available. I had brought mine for the UK but it was a bit stressful for my friends.


    • Guess we have very similar tax laws here as well… and indeed, they consider sanitary products luxury items.. I guess if you want to compare conventional pads/tampons to what our female ancestors used, then of course, they are considered ‘luxurious” in this era, but that’s just stupid. In fact, if they’re talking about essential and luxury, people CHOOSE to have kids, but women don’t choose to have their periods, so for sure it should be a tax-free item!

      I did not know specifically about Delhi tampon shortage, but there was a major shortage of O.B. tampons on the shelves in much of the world, because the Ultra version of the O.B. tampons were “rumoured” (at the time) that they would be discontinued.. finally the company came out and verified that it was true and although O.B. tampons are now restocked in most places, it’s missing the Ultra absorbency. Furthermore, this caused an alarming crisis for many women who practically stockpiled tampons and it was probably why Delhi had a shortage… unless it was due to a different reason. Depending on what tampon brands are offered in the country, some countries were not as impacted since they have their own local brands or alternate brands.

  3. There aren’t many tampon options in Delhi. I think it was the same OB brand you mentioned. I think there is a possibility that tampons are considered slightly sexual/ not hygenic and so are not a popular form of sanitary product as there are many brands of pads and panty liners available.

    Can you lose your virginity to a tampon, heaven forbid? I know when I was a teen starting my periods tampons weren’t an option for me as my mum was perhaps not comfotable explaining how to use them. In fact, when I first experimented with tampons out of my own curiosity I didn’t know where to put it as I can’t understand instructions in general. I just placed it down like a pad! Obviously that didn’t work…


    • Tampons being hygienic comes with washing their hands before using them, LOL! Well, I can see the whole sexualization of tampons though, I mean it “simulates” the action of putting a penis in your body… even if in reality, doing that and inserting a tampon is a very different feeling of excitement. Although there is much “anti-padness” … I still believe (without factual statistics) that many women in this world are still using pads or pad-like products. I also find that more “modernized” countries have higher usage and availability rates of tampons. If I compare say… the shelves I see in Hong Kong and then the shelves I see here in Canada, the ones in Canada I would say probably have a 50/50 split between both types of products… on the other hand, HK would have more of a 90/10 percent split favouring pads. Heck, even culturally when I go to Chinese supermarkets here in Canada, it shows a similar phenomenon.

      Placing a tampon down hoping it’ll work sounds like a pretty messy situation 😆 It honestly took me a while to learn the concept of a tampon… and although “unnecessary” for me to know compared to women, it probably confused me just as much with trying to work the applicator contraption as if it was some kind of mechanical device, HAH! Many girls who have never “explored” their own bodies find it a very embarrassing, shameful and hard thing to do. I think every woman should learn about their own bodies 😀

      • My Mum wouldn’t let me use a tampon. I guess for all the reasons you have discussed. I first used a tampon when I went to University and didn’t know what to do with it. The instructions made me cringe. It is a lot different to sex – but for my Mum, I don’t think she could see past me putting something inside.

        Regarding of women exploring there own bodies, I totally agree. When being pregnant and talking at an anti natal group about perineal massage, most people didn’t know what ths was or where the perinium muscle was.

  4. I remember when first started my period, my Mum gave me a a sanitary towel with a loop at each end which was held in place by a belt!!! Weird – thank god they have revolutionised the products since then.

    On the tax issue – I agree, the tax should be abolished. This product is an essential item. I wonder if this control on sanitary products is inadvertently another controlling issue over women.

  5. I was so scared of toxic shock when I was a kid that I daren’t try tampons until I calmed down. Now I’m tampons all the way but more magazine and all the others had stories about them all the time.

  6. The money adds up if you are a predominantly female household. It should be abolished indeed!

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