In a study published on September 20, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends increasing alcohol taxes in Europe. The goal would be to better fight against cancer, of which 1.4 million cases are directly linked to alcohol.
Doubling alcohol taxes in Europe would prevent some 5,000 people from dying of cancer each year, according to a study presented on September 20 by the World Health Organization (WHO), which calls for a round of tax screw.
According to this modeling published in the scientific journal The Lancet, “It is estimated that 10,700 new cancer cases and 4,850 alcohol-related cancer deaths could be prevented each year in the WHO European region by doubling the current taxes on alcoholic beverages,” said in a statement the Europe branch of the WHO. 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”.
WHO points to low alcohol taxation in the European Union
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 would be the countries that would save the greatest number of lives by taking this tax measure, with respectively 725, 680 and 525 deaths avoided, according to its modeling.
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, esophagus, liver, larynx and breast.