WHO urges higher taxes on alcohol, sugary drinks to promote public health

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to raise taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages to promote healthier behaviors. The WHO noted that the global average tax rate on these “unhealthy products” is low and believes that higher taxes could lead to healthier populations. 

The recommendation includes applying excise tax to all sugar-sweetened beverages and alcoholic beverages. The WHO highlighted the health risks associated with alcohol and unhealthy diets, with 2.6 million people dying annually from alcohol consumption and over eight million from an unhealthy diet. 

The organization argues that implementing taxes on these products not only reduces their use but also incentivizes companies to produce healthier alternatives. The WHO released a manual on alcohol tax policy and administration for its member states, emphasizing the potential positive impact on public health and government revenue. 

The organization also addressed concerns about the affordability of alcoholic beverages and stressed the importance of well-designed tax and pricing policies to curb increasing affordability.

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