France: Flavored Wine Tax Approved by the Senate
A new flavored wine tax was approved in France by the senate aiming to promote public health.
French MPs have approved a higher tax for wines with extra flavouring. These include widely available Rosé Pamplemousse or White Pêche wines. Accordingly these wines can now be taxed at the higher level of €3 per decilter of alcohol, which will add around €1.50 to the cost of a 75cl bottle.
Initially, MP Audrey Dufeu-Schubert proposed setting the tax for every kind of alcopop (flavored alcoholic beverages) which are popular among youth. However, this was weakened to only include flavoured wine.
This is part of risky behaviours against which we need to act,” said MP Audrey Dufeu-Schubert, as per The Local.
Through the National Assembly the Senate adopted this new tax, approved by 245 votes against 71.
Alcohol harm in France
Total alcohol per capita consumption in France is 12.6 litres as reported by WHO. This is higher than the average of the WHO European region. Over half (54.2%) of the alcohol using youth between 15 to 19 years binge on the substance.
In France alcohol causes,
- 5700+ deaths from liver cirrhosis,
- 1200+ deaths by road traffic injury, and
- 10,900+ cancer deaths.
Harm for French men is grave with 11.1% suffering from alcohol use disorders.
The lobby arm of the French wine industry, Fédération française des vins d’apéritif (FFVA), has opposed the new tax, claiming flavoured wines have low alcohol content and are not used by many young people.
However, in France the majority of the consumers use wine, therefore, policies to help reduce overall wine consumption are essential in France to curb pervasive alcohol harm. This is specially important considering the health risks of wine. One study found that one bottle of wine increases women’s cancer risk equivalent to 10 cigarettes per week.
[*This article was amended on 20/11/2019 according to new information reported in Ouest France.]