WHO recommends doubling alcohol taxes in Europe

Doubling taxes on alcohol in Europe would prevent some 5,000 people from dying of cancer each year, according to a study presented on Monday by the World Health Organization (WHO), which calls for a tax screwing up .

According to this modeling published in the scientific journal The Lancet, “It is estimated that 10,700 new cases of cancer and 4,850 deaths from alcohol-related cancers could be avoided each year in the European region of the WHO by doubling the current taxes on alcoholic beverages”, underlines in a press release the branch WHO Europe.

Low taxes, heavy consequences

This represents about 6% of new cases and deaths of cancers linked to alcohol consumption, notes the UN health organization. According to the latter, “increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages is one of the best measures” to reduce the number of cancer deaths, with “a high potential impact” and “positive results in all countries”.

For the WHO, current levels of alcohol taxation remain “low” in many European countries, including within the European Union, where their increase should have one of the strongest impacts. Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany are the countries that would save the most lives by taking this tax measure, with respectively 725, 680 and 525 deaths avoided, according to its modeling.

650,000 deaths per year in Europe

According to the WHO, of the 4.8 million new cases of cancer each year in Europe, 1.4 million, as well as 650,000 deaths, are “linked to” alcohol consumption. Of these, the organization estimates that 180,000 cases and 85,000 deaths are directly caused by alcohol.

The number of lives saved by a doubling of taxes would concern in particular breast cancer (1,000 deaths per year) and colorectal cancers (1,700). Alcohol is linked to seven different types of cancer: mouth, pharynx, esophagus, colorectal, liver, larynx and breast.

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