More than 50 million premature deaths worldwide could be averted if all nations increased their alcohol, tobacco and sugary beverage taxes by 50% over the next 50 years, states a report from the Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health.
The report states that effective excise tax policies are an underutilized tool for reducing consumption of products with adverse health effects. “Indeed, few interventions have the power to save as many lives as raising tobacco, alcohol and sugary beverage taxes,” states the report's executive summary.
The report adds that claims from alcohol and tobacco producers that tax increases harm employment and low-income individuals “are either false or greatly exaggerated, and none justify inaction.”
Kelly Brownell, director of the World Food Policy Center at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, reacted to the report in a news release by saying in part, “There is also considerable opportunity for benefit by using the revenue for health and social programs, such as antismoking campaigns.”