Lithuania: Government Approves Alcohol Tax Rise
The Lithuanian government has approved an alcohol tax rise.
The Lithuanian government has approved a bill to raise the country’s excise tax on ethyl alcohol by 10.5% starting in March 2020. This move is part of the cabinet’s policy of curbing alcohol consumption among the country’s population.
Alcohol burden in Lithuania
As the WHO reports, Lithuania suffers from a significant alcohol burden. The country is placed on the highest end for years of life lost due to alcohol. The total per capita alcohol consumption at 15 litres is above the average of the WHO European region. Binge alcohol use is staggeringly high among the 15 to 19 year old youth who consume alcohol, with 75.3% engaging in this dangerous behavior.
To tackle this burden, Lithuania has been strengthening their alcohol control regime. IOGT International members NTAKK have been leading advocates for groundbreaking, evidence-based alcohol prevention and control measures.
Against all odds and with a broad coalition were Lithuanian law makers able to adopt a comprehensive package of scientifically proven, cost-effective and impactful alcohol policy best buy measures.The alcohol industry fought tooth and nail.But the coalition of health professionals, wider civil society, young people, and major political parties and leaders managed to withstand Big Alcohol’s pressure. And the first results are highly promising: alcohol consumption and related harms are decreasing while government revenue is increasing.
Recently, first positive results have been reported. Lithuanian alcohol control has led to reduced road traffic injury and significantly improved road safety. Measures such as this new tax increase further strengthen alcohol control in the country, leading to further reduction of alcohol harm in the long-term.