Alcohol Use Disorders (133) SAFER Initiative (2)

8 March, 2024

Dear Joseph,

In a previous message you said: "governments are misguided in neglecting the fact that what they gain through taxation of alcohol, they lose by what it takes the health system to manage the poorer health of the population from alcohol misuse, accidents including road traffic accident and so on" [ ]

This may be so, but the level of taxation is clearly important here. If governments have a policy of *high* taxation on alcohol, this will serve both to reduce per capita alcohol consumption while maintaining or even raising income for public services.

This is reflected in the "R" of SAFER:

'RAISE prices on alcohol through excise taxes and other pricing policies'

As an example, I sent a message about alcohol consumption in Uganda earlier today, which noted: 'The easy access to alcohol challenge can be handled by policy makers through establishing an effective system for domestic taxation on alcohol that raises the final price of alcohol to reduce consumption, prevent initiation, and generate much-needed resources for the government.' The implication is that Uganda should be charging more alcohol tax, with benefits to both public health and the public purse.

It would be interesting to know if there is a comparative analysis, country by country, of taxation policy versus per capita consumption.

How can public health professionals and policymakers be better empowered to deliver this and other measures of the SAFER initiative?

Best wishes, Neil

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: