WHO Urges Nations to Boost Taxes on Alcohol and Sugary Drinks for Public Health

WHO Urges Nations to Boost Taxes on Alcohol and Sugary Drinks for Public Health
WHO Logo

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sharing new data today, revealing a global lack of taxes on unhealthy products like alcohol and sugary beverages. Most countries aren’t using taxes to encourage healthier choices. WHO is also releasing a manual on alcohol tax policy to assist nations. Each year, 2.6 million people die from alcohol, and over 8 million from an unhealthy diet; taxing these items could reduce these deaths.

Half of the countries taxing sugary drinks also tax water, contrary to WHO recommendations. Globally, sugar-sweetened beverage taxes only make up 6.6% of the average soda price. While 148 countries tax alcoholic drinks nationally, wine is exempt in 22, mainly in Europe. Excise tax on beer and the most popular spirits averages 17.2% and 26.5%, respectively.

A 2017 study suggests a 50% alcohol price increase could prevent 21 million deaths over 50 years, generating $17 trillion in revenue, equal to eight major economies’ yearly government income. Dr. Rűdiger Krech of WHO emphasizes that taxing unhealthy products promotes healthier societies, reducing diseases and providing government revenue. Lithuania’s success in decreasing alcohol-related deaths by raising taxes in 2017 supports this idea.

Research indicates that taxing alcohol and sugary drinks reduces their use and encourages companies to produce healthier alternatives. Gallup Poll, in collaboration with WHO and Bloomberg Philanthropies, found majority support for increased taxes on these products globally. WHO recommends applying excise tax to all sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages. This new alcohol tax manual complements existing manuals on tobacco and sugary beverages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *