Home > Resource tool on alcohol taxation and pricing policies.

Sornpaisarn, Bundit and Shield, Kevin D and Osterberg, Esa and Rehm, Jürgen, eds. (2017) Resource tool on alcohol taxation and pricing policies. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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Harmful use of alcohol represents one of the most important risk factors for the global burden of disease and injuries. Alcohol consumption is a causal factor in over 200 health conditions, including mental and behavioural disorders and major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as well as road traffic crashes, violence and suicides. The harmful use of alcohol also has a significant impact on development and treatment outcomes of some major infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. We are also beginning to obtain a better understanding of the impact that harmful use of alcohol can have on people other than the drinker, and sometimes this impact is devastating.

To reduce this burden, governments need to develop and implement evidence-based and ethically sound strategies and interventions. WHO is committed to assisting countries in this task. In 2010, the World Health Assembly approved a resolution endorsing WHO’ s “Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol”. The resolution urges countries to strengthen national responses to public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol. WHO’s “Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020” includes harmful use of alcohol as one of the four key risk factors for NCDs and calls for at least 10% relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol. The inclusion of a target to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including harmful use of alcohol, under the health goal in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development further illustrates and acknowledges the importance of reducing the harmful use of alcohol for development of our societies.

In the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, pricing policies represent one of the key areas recommended for governments to use. WHO’s NCD action plan contains a menu of policy options and cost-effective interventions to assist Member States to implement actions for prevention and control of major NCDs. An updated list of the most effective and complementary policy options recommends increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages as one of the most cost-effective interventions governments can use.

This resource tool is developed under a Memorandum of Understanding between ThaiHealth and WHO as a part of a broader effort by WHO to develop technical tools and resource materials in support of implementation of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. We are grateful for the longstanding collaboration and dedication of ThaiHealth. I hope that this resource tool will contribute to enhancing knowledge and competence relating to taxation and pricing policies among public health professionals and alcohol-control policy advocates. This will enable them to more effectively ensure for the inclusion of key public health perspectives in the design and implementation of alcohol taxation and pricing policies.

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