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WHO calls for higher taxes on alcohol, sweet beverages

WHO calls for higher taxes on alcohol, sweet beverages

Paris, December 05, 2023, The Europe Today: The World Health Organization (WHO) called on governments around the world to increase taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

After studying taxation rates, the WHO said Tuesday that it believes the average global tax rate on “unhealthy products” was too low, while items such as wine are completely exempt from tax in some European countries.

According to the WHO, 2.6 million people die from drinking alcohol and 8 million people die due to unhealthy diets every year.

The UN health agency said higher taxes would help reduce consumption of the products and incentivize companies to make healthier products.

“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 RĂ¼diger Krech, the WHO’s health promotion director. “In the case of alcohol, taxes also help prevent violence and road traffic injuries.”

The WHO added that while 108 of its 194 member states already impose some taxes on SSBs, they account for an average of just 6.6% of the price of soda.

Half of those countries, the WHO noted, also tax water, which is not recommended by the UN agency.