Sugar, Tobacco, And Alcohol Taxes To Achieve The SDGs
The Lancet Comment including Kristina Sperkova, IOGT International
More than a decade after the adoption of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, there is compelling evidence that raising tobacco prices substantially through taxation is the single most effective way to reduce tobacco use and save lives.
Similarly, alcohol taxation is a cost-effective way to reduce alcohol consumption and harm.
When Finland reduced taxes on alcohol in 2003, alcohol-related mortality increased by 16% among men and by 31% among women.
Despite their potential, taxes on sugar, tobacco, and alcohol are underused by policy makers.
… the tobacco industry undermines taxation efforts by lobbying policy makers and exaggerating their industry’s economic value and the risk of illicit trade. The alcohol and food industries are now deploying similar tactics—one example is successful efforts to erase language on alcohol and sugar taxes in the Montevideo Roadmap on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Despite industry efforts, taxation is gaining more attention from policy makers as a win–win–win policy measure for public health, domestic resource mobilisation, and equity.
Tobacco and alcohol taxes are recognised by WHO as “Best Buys” to prevent and control NCDs;
STAX not only contribute to improving health and saving lives,but they can also raise resources. For example, Thailand’s Health Promotion Act of 2001 established a tax on tobacco and alcohol, which now contributes about US$120 million annually for domestic health promotion efforts. In 2012,the Philippines raised taxes on tobacco and alcohol and are using the revenues to supplement efforts towards universal health coverage (UHC).
STAX are not a magic bullet but instead are indispensable policy tools to improve public health, save millions of lives, and generate resources to invest in health, nutrition, and other development priorities…”
Members of the Sugar, Tobacco, and Alcohol Taxes (STAX) Group
Robert Marten (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Sowmya Kadandale (UNICEF), John Butler (NCD Child), Victor M Aguayo (UNICEF), Svetlana Axelrod (WHO), Nicholas Banatvala (WHO), Douglas Bettcher (WHO), Luisa Brumana (UNICEF), Kent Buse (UNAIDS), Sally Casswell (Massey University), Katie Dain (NCD Alliance), Amanda Glassman (Center for Global Development), David L Heymann (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Ilona Kickbusch (Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute), Patricio V Marquez (World Bank), Anders Nordström (Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Jeremias Paul Jr (WHO), Stefan Peterson (UNICEF), Johanna Ralston (World Obesity Federation), Kumanan Rasanathan (WHO), Srinath Reddy (Public Health Foundation India), Richard D Smith (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Agnès Soucat (WHO), Kristina Sperkova (IOGT International), Francis Thompson (Framework Convention Alliance), and Douglas Webb (UNDP).