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WHO roots for increased taxes on alcohol and sugary sweetened beverages

The World Health Organization has called on countries to increase taxes on alcohol and sugary sweetened beverages saying new data reveal a low global rate of taxes being applied to unhealthy products.

According to WHO, 2.6 million people die from drinking alcohol every year and over 8 million from an unhealthy diet across the globe arguing that implementing tax on alcohol and sugary sweetened beverages will reduce these deaths.

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According to the report, although 108 countries are taxing some sort of sugar-sweetened beverage, globally, on average excise tax, a tax designated for a specified consumer product, represents just 6.6% of the price of soda.

“At least 148 countries have applied excise taxes to alcoholic beverages at the national level. However, wine is exempted from excise taxes in at least 22 countries, most of which are in the European Region. Globally, on average, the excise tax share in the price of the most sold brand of beer is 17.2%. For the most sold brand of the most sold spirits type, it is 26.5%.” Says WHO.

World Health Organization Director for Health Promotion Dr Rűdiger Krech says taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations and has a positive ripple effect across society.

“Research shows that taxing alcohol and SSBs helps cut down use of these products and gives companies a reason to make healthier products. While at the same time tax on these products help prevent injuries and no communicable diseases such as cancers, diabetes and heart diseases.” Says Dr Rűdiger.

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