The World Health Organisation has requested that the taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages should be increased to curb the rising death rate resulting from the consumption of alcohol and practice of unhealthy living.

In a press statement released on Tuesday by the WHO, about 2.6 million people die from the intake of alcohol every year and over eight million from an unhealthy diet globally. It however confirmed the need to increase the tax rate on sugary beverages and alcohol.

A new data released on Tuesday by WHO showed that globally taxes rate on unhealthy items such as alcohol and SSBs were very low.

The findings also connoted that many countries were not utilizing taxes in promoting healthier habits and behaviours.

A 2017 study showed that taxes that increase alcohol prices by 50 per cent would help avert over 21 million deaths over 50 years and generate nearly $17tn in additional revenues.WHO stated that “Half of all countries taxing SSBs are also taxing water, which is not recommended by WHO.

Although 108 countries are taxing some sort of sugar-sweetened beverage, globally, on the average excise tax, a tax designated for a specified consumer product, represents just 6.6 per cent of the price of soda.“At least 148 countries have applied excise taxes to alcoholic beverages at the national level. However, wine is exempted from excise taxes in at least 22 countries, most of which are in the European region.“

Globally, on average, the excise tax share in the price of the most sold brand of beer is 17.2 per cent. For the most sold brand of the most sold spirits type, it is 26.5 per cent.

Although, WHO Director of Health Promotion, Dr Rudiger Krech stated that “Taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations. It has a positive ripple effect across society – less disease and debilitation and revenue for governments to provide public services. In the case of alcohol, taxes also help prevent violence and road traffic injuries,”.

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