VALD, a member organization of Movendi International, along with other stakeholders have called upon the government to urgently increase taxes on alcohol, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in order to increase revenue for the country and prevent and reduce negative health and development effects of these products on Ghanaians.
A survey in the Greater Accra Region has revealed that the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and SSBs are on the rise, largely because of their affordability, availability, and accessibility.
It is clear from the findings that prices of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages are among the cheapest products sold on the Ghanaian market today,” said Mr. Labram Musah the Programmes Director of VALD, as per My Joy Online.
For as little as 20 pesewas one can buy a cigarette, as little as 50 pesewas to 1 cedi one can buy alcohol in sachet and tot. These show how weak we are as a nation, where public health and safety is of no importance anymore.”Labram Musah, Programmes Director, VALD
Increasing taxes is a World Health Organization recommended solution to decrease affordability of health harmful products especially among youth and children who are often targeted by consumer industries as future customers.
VALD recently launched a tobacco industry interference report for Ghana, highlighting the industry interference in tobacco control policy in Ghana.
Mr. Musah of VALD highlighted that industries, such as Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, continue to interfere with public health policies making it difficult for the needed solutions to be adopted and enforced. He reiterated the call on the government to stand up against these interferences and increase taxes on health harmful products.
Many countries are adopting tax measures as the most cost-effective means to control and reduce the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and sugar sweetened beverages alongside other public health measures to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” added Mr. Musah, as per My Joy Online.Labram Musah, Programmes Director, VALD
VALD also called on the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to ensure the effective implementation of the tobacco control law, especially the section that protects minors from smoking and exposure to tobacco, alcohol, and SSBs.
Mr Divine D. Logo at the Research Division of the Ghana Health Service added that other targeted policy measures to reduce use of harmful products are needed to complement the tax increases. These include, banning sachet alcohol and tot and banning single stick cigarette sales. Mass-reach health communications campaigns must also be conducted by the government using multiple mechanisms to change attitudes of people.
The Ghanaian government has taken considerable measures to reduce tobacco use in the country. For alcohol policy making there is still a long way to go.
We must act now to prevent these needless deaths from unhealthy commodities such as tobacco products, alcohol, and sugary products in our country,” said Mr. Ad Adams, vice-chair of Ghana Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance, as per Modern Ghana.
The Ghana NCD Alliance aligns itself with the Vision of Alternative Development to battle this menace in the country.”Ad Adams, Vice-Chair, Ghana Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance
For further reading
Ghana: Communities Urge Alcohol Tax Increase to Protect Ghanaians’ Right to Health
Ghana News Agency: “Stakeholders express need for increases in tax on tobacco and alcohol“