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Today the Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health has published “Health Taxes to Save Lives”, calling on countries to significantly raise tobacco, alcohol and sugary beverage taxes to save lives and address the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

The Task Force, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg and economist Larry Summers, former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and former Director of the National Economic Council, examined the use of excise tax policy for health and how countries can best leverage fiscal policies to yield improved health outcomes for their citizens with the added benefit of bringing in additional revenue.

The Union welcomes the Task Force’s recommendation to increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugary beverages to save lives and help economies, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The analysis within the report shows we could prevent 50 million premature deaths in the next 50 years if countries implemented taxes to raise prices of tobacco, alcohol and sugary beverages by 50 percent.

NCDs are the leading cause of death in the world, killing 40 million people each year and representing 70 percent of all annual deaths. Eighty percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, straining health care systems, contributing to poverty and posing a major barrier to development. Tobacco use, obesity and risky alcohol consumption are three leading risk factors for the development of NCDs.

As the report highlights, Ministers of Finance control a powerful tool to reduce the harmful use of these products: tax policy.

The Task Force brought together fiscal policy, development and health leaders from around the globe to address the enormous and growing health and economic burden of NCDs with fiscal policy tools that are currently underutilised by governments and their leaders.

The report can be found on the Task Force website here: https://www.bloomberg.org/program/public-health/task-force-fiscal-policy-health/#overview


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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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