WHO says time to hike alcohol, sugary drinks tax

December 06, 2023

GENEVA: Countries need to increase their taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday, saying too few states were using tax to incentivise healthier behaviours.

After studying taxation rates, the WHO said the average global tax rate on such “unhealthy products” was low, and hiking taxes could result in healthier populations.

A sign of the World Health Organization.— AFP/File

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

Excise taxes target particular goods and services. The WHO said 2.6 million people a year die from drinking alcohol, while more than eight million die from having an unhealthy diet.

“Implementing tax on alcohol and SSBs will reduce these deaths,” it said. It would not only help cut down use of these products but also give companies an incentive to make healthier products, it added.