The Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health, co-chaired by WHO Global Ambassador Mike Bloomberg and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, has released a new report on how countries can prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by implementing taxes on harmful products such as tobacco, alcohol and sugar sweetened beverages.
The Task Force brings together esteemed fiscal policy, development and health leaders from around the globe to address the enormous and growing health and economic burden of NCDs – including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – with fiscal policy tools that are currently underutilised by governments and their leaders.
They examine the evidence on excise tax policy for health, including barriers to implementation, and make recommendations on how countries can best leverage fiscal policies to yield improved health outcomes for their citizens with the added benefit of bringing in additional revenue.
“Countries can save millions of lives if they take action. Despite the clear and growing body of evidence, industry opposition to smart health policies will continue to mislead the public about the harmful effects of their products. That makes it all the more important for the international community to support countries in adopting effective, evidence-based health taxes that will save lives.” Mike Bloomberg
According to this report, over 50 million premature deaths could be prevented if countries implemented excise tax increases large enough to raise product prices of tobacco, alcohol and sugary beverages by 50 percent over the next 50 years.