Alcohol and sugary beverages kill 10.6 million yearly ? WHO

Alcohol and sugary drinks kill 10.6 million annually – WHO

The World Health Organization, in a press release on Tuesday, December 5, said that globally 2.6 million people die from alcohol consumption every year and more than eight million because of an unhealthy diet.

The WHO has called for increased taxes on alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks (SSBs) to reduce deaths from alcohol consumption and unhealthy behaviors.

In new data released on Tuesday, the WHO revealed that, globally, taxes on unhealthy products such as alcohol and SSBs were low.

The findings highlighted that most countries did not use taxes to encourage healthier behaviors.

“Half of all countries that tax SSB also tax water, which is not recommended by the WHO. Although 108 countries are taxing some type of sugar-sweetened beverage globally, the average consumption tax, a tax designated for a specific consumer product, represents just 6.6 percent of the soda price.

“At least 148 countries have applied excise taxes to alcoholic beverages at national level. However, wine is exempt from excise taxes in at least 22 countries, most of which are in the European region.

“Globally, on average, the share of excise taxes in the price of the best-selling beer brand is 17.2 percent. For the best-selling brand of the best-selling type of spirit, it is 26.5%,” the WHO said.

A 2017 study showed that taxes that increased alcohol prices by 50% would help prevent more than 21 million deaths over 50 years and generate nearly $17 billion in additional revenue.

This is equivalent to the total government revenue of eight of the world's largest economies in one year.

“Taxing unhealthy products creates healthier populations. It has a positive ripple effect throughout society – less illness and debilitation and revenue for governments to provide public services. In the case of alcohol, taxes also help prevent violence and injuries caused by traffic,” said WHO Director of Health Promotion, Dr. Rűdiger Krech.


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