Hike Tax On Alcohol & Sugary Beverages, WHO Tells Countries; Know Why

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked countries to increase taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages, saying that too few governments are using tax to incentivise healthier behaviour.

The United Nations’ health body found after a study that said the average global tax rate on such “unhealthy products” was low, and hiking taxes could result in healthier populations.

“WHO recommends that excise tax should apply to all sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and alcoholic beverages,” the global health agency said in a statement.

According to WHO, 2.6 million people die from drinking alcohol, and over 8 million pass away due tom unhealthy diet every year.

“Implementing tax on alcohol and SSBs will reduce these deaths,” WHO said.

Higher taxes will not only cut down use of these products but also give companies an incentive to make healthier products, the agency added.

Though 108 countries impose some taxation on SSBs, on average excise taxes represent just 6.6 per cent of the price of a soda.

WHO went on to note that half of those countries also tax water, which is not recommended by the UN agency.

“Taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations. It has a positive ripple effect across society — less disease and debilitation and revenue for governments to provide public services,” said WHO’s health promotion director Rudiger Krech.

“In the case of alcohol, taxes also help prevent violence and road traffic injuries.”

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