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For health - higher taxes on soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco?


Five studies suggest taxation for unhealthy products

The specialist journal "The Lancet" recently published five articles that jointly argue that high taxes on unhealthy foods and beverages are a strong response to the rising rates of chronic diseases. In addition, taxes provide a solution to tackle numerous non-communicable diseases.

One of these five articles is the study by Professor Franco Sassi, Professor of International Health Policy and Economics at the Imperial College London in England. Sassi's study aims to show that raising the price of unhealthy products could change consumption across the board. The greatest health benefits are seen in people with low incomes. The group also suffered disproportionately from chronic diseases. The results of the study were published in the specialist journal "The Lancet".

Low-income people should shop healthier

Sassi's research has shown that an increase in spending is more burdensome for lower-income households than for wealthier households, as purchases account for a large portion of total spending. Since many unhealthy items are relatively cheap to buy, low-income people should not be motivated to buy them.

Every penny counts

"No amount of money, however small, is trivial for low-income households, especially in low-income countries," Sassi said in a press release from Imperial College London about the study results. He urges politicians to implement policies that benefit the health and well-being of low-income households.

Promote healthy products
In return for the tax increases on unhealthy products, tax revenues should be used for programs that offer healthy food as an alternative.

Fight massive soft drink consumption

"Low-income households are the main consumers of sugared drinks," explains the professor. This drink consumption is associated with a high risk of obesity (obesity), diabetes and other chronic diseases. The “sugar tax” would make a major contribution to making poorer people healthier and also alleviating the burden of chronic diseases.

Data from all over the world form the basis

Professor Sassi examined data from around the world on the effects of taxes on soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco. In Mexico, for example, a tax on soft drinks was introduced in 2014. This has led to a per capita reduction of more than four liters of soft drinks per year, with the greatest change in the poorest households.

Reduce cancer, heart disease and diabetes

According to the researchers, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are responsible for 38 million deaths each year, 16 million of which are under 70 years of age. With their collected studies, the scientists want to help reduce the number of deaths by a third by 2030.

Many diseases result from poverty

"Non-communicable diseases are a major cause and result of poverty worldwide," summarizes Dr. Rachel Nugent, chair of The Lancet Taskforce on NCDs and Economics, who are committed to fighting global non-communicable diseases. Addressing this challenge means huge investments to improve health systems worldwide.

Taxes on unhealthy to promote healthy

"Taxes on unhealthy products can bring huge health benefits," said Nugent. The evidence gathered would show that these taxes can be implemented fairly without disproportionately harming the poorest in society. (vb)

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