Higher Taxes on Alcohol and Sugar-sweetened Beverages to Incentivize Healthy Behaviours

The healthier population promise holistic growth as it eases the burden on the healthcare system while contributing more towards socio-economic well-being. It is time to incentivize healthy behaviours among individuals as over 8 million deaths globally take place due to unhealthy dietary choices while 2.6 million deaths are accounted to alcohol consumption annually.

To keep a check on this, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested imposing higher taxes on unhealthy products such as Alcohol and Sugar-sweetened Beverages (SSB) based on the findings from a global study to limit their evil impacts on individual health. According to the study, most of the countries in the world levy low taxes on alcohol and SSBs leading to higher consumption and causing untimely deaths.

To overcome this, the WHO formulated a guiding tax policy and administration manual that will help various countries use higher tax regimes as a tool to promote healthy product options. Therefore, the execution of higher tax rates on alcohol and SSBs will result in limiting premature deaths globally and promote healthy behaviours.

 As per the 2017 study, the additional 50% tax on alcohol prices can prevent around 21 million deaths in the next 50 years while creating of additional income of around US$ 17 million. The higher taxes on unhealthy product lines develop healthy behaviour among people by witnessing reduced diseases and extra income utilized for their well-being. This can also help in providing additional services in the public domain by the government and minimizing road injuries, public violence, and the burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancers, diabetes, and heart-related diseases.

Research suggests that increased taxes on these products inspire the public to minimize their uses or quit them altogether. This in turn allows companies to produce healthier products for their consumer and discourages product manufacturing in unhealthy categories such as alcohol and SSBs.

Thus, to prevent the loss of life and sustain a healthier population the decision to impose a higher tax regime will prove to be a game-changer. The ripple effect generated by the implementation of such a tax regime will positively benefit individuals, society, as well as governments in terms of health benefits, fewer diseases, and higher revenue.