Week #27 Global Alcohol Policy Round-Up
WORLDWIDE WEEKLY ALCOHOL POLICY, SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Welcome to another week of carefully curated alcohol policy news, latest science updates, and more Big Alcohol revelations.
A brand new World Bank Group report highlights the importance of and evidence for the role of alcohol taxation to help achieve Universal Health Coverage.
For week 27, our Global Alcohol Policy Round-Up contains:
- Alcohol policy updates come from India (concerning news), the United States (bad news) and Sri Lanka (encouraging news) and a story involving the rapper Snoop Dog.
- Fresh science updates are from the United States (extent of alcohol’s harm to others) and from the UK (burden of alcohol on health services).
- Our Big Alcohol monitor exposes Coca Cola’s push into Big Alcohol, AB InBev’s tax avoidance in India and how trouble with its alcohol business compels Woolworths in Australia to get rid of the alcohol business.
India: 160 Million Alcohol Users
Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians followed by cannabis and opioids, according to new findings from the national household survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2018. In a population of more than one billion inhabitants, this is still a low number of alcohol use prevalence, but it is rising and per capita use among alcohol consumers is worryingly high.
The Healthy India Alliance, including several Indian member organizations of IOGT International, have issued an urgent call for multi-sectoral alcohol policy action in India to tackle the heavy burden of alcohol harm.
Currently, India does not have a national alcohol law and written national alcohol policy. The World Health Organization recommends action to protect the right of people to live free from alcohol and to maintain alcohol abstention rates as important measures to promote health and development for all.
USA: Supreme Court Ruling Weakens State Alcohol Control
The U.S. supreme court has decided 7-2 to strike down a two-year residency requirement for anyone seeking an initial license to operate a liquor store in Tennessee. This ruling is further eroding the foundations for the three-tier alcohol control system in the United States and will make alcohol more available across the country, despite already rising alcohol harm.
Sri Lanka: Finance Ministry to Index Alcohol Tax to Inflation Rate
State Minister for Finance Eran Wickramaratne stated Sri Lanka is planning to index alcohol taxes to inflation.
The Finance Ministry had previously reduced a successful beer tax increase, a move that received much criticism from the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) as well as civil society organizations like the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre, ADIC Sri Lanka. High levels of alcohol taxation coupled with inflation-adjustment are recommended by the World Health Organization as a best buy alcohol policy solution.
Tax indexation is a positive measure by the government, says Pubudu Sumanasekara, Executive Director, ADIC.
However this indexation must be transparent and should adjust alcohol taxes to both inflation and purchasing power. The aim of indexing must be to reduce alcohol consumption and decrease alcohol harm to the society. If the indexation follows such a method and end goal it would yield positive result for the country in reducing alcohol harm.”
Criticism: Snoop Dog Stigmatizes People with Alcohol Problems
The charity Alcohol Change UK and others are calling out Snoop Dog for stigmatizing people with alcohol problems.
The prevalence of wholly attributable alcohol conditions in the United Kingdom hospital system: a systematic review, meta‐analysis and meta‐regression
Alcohol’s Secondhand Harms in the United States: New Data on Prevalence and Risk Factors
Big Alcohol: Coca Cola Pursuing Wine Business
Indian Tax Authorities Accuse AB InBev of Tax Avoidance
Australia: Woolworths Ditches Alcohol Business
Special Feature: World Bank Report
A new World Bank Group report entitled “High-Performance Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage – Driving Sustainable, Inclusive Growth in the 21st Century” clearly highlights the important role of alcohol (and other health promotion) taxation for achieving universal health coverage (UHC).