Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Fiji increases tax on tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages

Fiji increases tax on tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages

Dr K K Aggarwal
In June 2016, the Government of Fiji increased taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugar sweetened beverages1 as all lead to increased risk of developing NCDs2,3. Indian Medical Association commends the decision to control these cardiovascular risk factors through taxation. Evidence has shown that simple increases in tobacco prices through taxation are the most cost-effective way for governments to reduce tobacco use. According to the WHO a 10% increase in tobacco retail price (in middle income countries) results in a 5% decrease in consumption. It is a well-known fact that tobacco use is the leading preventable risk factor for NCDs, being the single risk factor common to all four main NCDs (CVD, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases)4. Over last decade childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in Fiji5. Introduction of a 5 cent per litre tax on sugary beverages will help prevent childhood obesity through reduction of soft drink consumption. Mexico started a similar tax in 2014. Mexico saw a 12% reduction in sugary drinks sales within a year of the tax being implemented6. The Pacific Islands have been described as the ‘per capita NCD epicentre of the world’7. Of the Pacific islands, Fiji has the highest percentage of deaths due to NCDs: 77%. A draft report by the World Bank and partners predicts that if no action is taken the economic burden in Fiji would reach 10.9% of GDP by 20408. The tobacco and alcohol taxes have been increased by 18.5% and a new levy on sugar sweetened drinks has been introduced.

1 comment:

  1. It can reduce the incidence of such life style disease and therefore the workload upon the health care system,so that they can pay more attention to non-life style related health problems.Some others will think,more patients,therefore more money.So why discourage people from such bad habits.