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Friday 18.01.2019 | Name days: Antis, Antons
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Researcher: problems caused by alcohol cost Latvia 80 million annually

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia loses nearly 20 thousand years of life and EUR 80 million annually because of problems caused by alcohol: premature deaths, disabilities and all kinds of illnesses, says Marcis Tapencieris, researcher of the Philosophy and Sociology Institute of the University of Latvia.

The researcher believes it is immensely important to reduce availability of strong alcoholic drinks. It is also important to balance excise tax between strong alcohol and so-called strong beer.

Measures to reduce availability of strong alcoholic drinks especially apply to the demographic of young people in the country, because alcohol consumption has the largest negative impact on youngsters’ health. It is also the leading cause of death among young people. This includes alcohol overdose and drunk driving. Habitual consumption of alcohol also causes serious health problems, including cancer.

«The so-called strong beer can have a similar effect as vodka. However, while excise tax rate on vodka is EUR 5.35 per 1 litre, the excise tax rate on strong beer is only EUR 0.62 per 1 litre. This difference is too big. This is why excise tax solutions should focus on neutralizing this gap and making the price of popular strong beer brands higher,» – believes the researcher.

According to Trapenciers, a more rapid increase of excise tax on beer would at least somewhat resolve one of the most popular problems – availability of strong alcoholic drinks among youngsters.

«For example, one of the proposals for tax changes is to increase the price of beer bottles by five or six cents. It does not seem like much, but it may motivate at least some youngsters to buy beer less often,» – explains Trapencieris.

Lack of balance in excise tax policy only serves to create a tendency for excise tax rates to grow slower than actual wages.

This creates a paradox: society’s health improves, but problems caused by alcohol do not go away. Problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption apply to risk groups like the unemployed and people with low personal income. One of the government’s duties is to take care of people who have it rough in life, said the researcher.

Higher excise tax rate would mean higher revenue for the state budget. Estimates suggest a moderate increase of this tax would bring approximately EUR 10 million annually.

Ref: 102.109.109.3463


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